IVF: DOR? Over 40? Donor Eggs? Highly Individualized Egg Retrieval (HIER)

Let’s talk about this…(especially if you have Diminished Ovarian Reserve, are over 40 or looking into donor eggs).

Now, I’m one to believe that every, single IVF cycle needs to be individualized. We are all different so how can one or even two protocols work for everyone?? I know that many clinics(especially very busy ones) have set protocols that they literally use on EVERYONE. Whether you are 25, 35 or 45, they will put you on the same protocol. Wha…what?? It’s like throwing a dart at a board and hoping it sticks. For me, and my money and health and SANITY…that is not enough. Sure, it may work…but why not give it your best shot on the FIRST try? Not start after you’ve had 3 failed IVF cycles.

So…here we go. I’m going to start a series of posts that does just that…this being the first one: HIER-Highly Individualized Egg Retrievals. This is for my friends who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve(DOR) or Premature Ovarian Failure(POF)…( Low AMH, High FSH, low antral follicle count) or if you are over 40.

HIER is a Highly Individualized Egg Retrieval. Currently, many Reproductive Endocrinologists(RE’s) wait until the lead follicle grows to 18-22mm to trigger the eggs to finish developing accordingly. In a lot of patients, this works. BUT, in certain patients(DOR/POF or over 40), waiting that long is too long. This is what happens in those patients. Premature luteinization of follicles. In practical terms this means that, as women get older, the biological processes within follicles speed up. As a consequence, if the timing of egg retrieval in older women(or those with DOR/POF) is maintained like in younger women, the eggs one obtains are “hard-boiled” rather than “soft-boiled,” or in medical lingo atretic rather than mature and, therefore, unusable.

Make sense?

Basically, what this study found. Early retrieval(triggering when the lead follicle is between 16-18mm(instead of standard retrieval waiting until 18-22mm). If you don’t want to read through the entire study, women over age 43(wow), using a standard retrieval had a 6.7% pregnancy rate, whereas women over 43, using the early retrieval(16-18mm) had a 16.7% pregnancy rate. Almost tripled. And those that were not over 43, but had DOR/POF, had even better pregnancy rates with early retrieval vs standard retrieval. Early retrieval pregnancy rate was 41.7% vs. 7.7% with standard retrieval……wow. Just wow.

A simple tweak in protocol. Triggering just a little bit early. What if triggering early works? What if you didn’t have to use donor eggs after all? Just something to think about…….

Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions….ask your RE…talk about it…research it…

Be an advocate for yourself…..now….

I’m always here for you…..if you have ANY questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email or message through IG!

Are You Happy Enough?

Someone actually asked me this recently….and it got me thinking….

I believe this is something we all ask ourselves at times (especially in the infertility world)….

First..it’s simple…. “Am I happy?”

Then if you say “Yes!” immediately…..good for you!

But if you have to think about it…….you defer to “Am I happy enough?”

Enough….what is enough?

I remember thinking to myself, “Once I have a child, I will be happy. There is nothing more that I want than that..”

And then it happened…I had a child through gestational surrogacy. Not the way I planned but my baby was finally here and I could truly breathe again. And I was happy.

I remember so many times, not being able to breathe because I was crying so hard through all of the disappointments…so many low points during those years. I saw in black and white most of the time.

And now, I see in color.

But this is not what I imagined my life to be…at least children-wise. I always thought I would have a large family..at least 3-4 kids. And for some reason, I can’t get that out of my head. (Also, others asking when we are having more children doesn’t help either.)

So sometimes I ask that question to myself…”Am I happy enough?”

I mean…..I think so?? I am happy most of the time but sadness does creep in when I think about not having any more children. And, it’s like my hands are tied.

It’s not a simple decision like most people: have sex during ovulation. Then bam….pregnant.(I still don’t know how it happens… so easy for most…right?? Like blows my mind!)

For me(or, you too, if you are climbing this mountain)…I can’t even list everything..if you’ve gone through numerous losses, IVF’s, FET’s, and gestational surrogacy…then you know.

Not easy at all.

And it bothers me at times. I really try not to let it….but it does…and social media does not help at all….

So, it’s exhausting and I’m losing my days of happiness by focusing on if it’s “enough”…….

If “He” is enough……and when I put it like that…

I stop…………….

dead in my tracks……

Yes, “He” is certainly enough….He is more than enough…a miracle..my blessing that I prayed years for every day…

And then I think of you all still waiting…and it breaks my heart that I could even write if I’m “happy enough”…I know how you all are feeling. I remember. I won’t ever forget. And I can only pray that you all will be able to “see in color” once again.

I know it’s hard. I know most don’t understand infertility. But whatever you are going through will pass. Some how, some way…it will. Whether through having a child, fostering a child, adopting a child or accepting a child-free life…

Happiness will happen.

And if you’re asking yourself if you’re “happy enough”, like I did…think back to 5, 10, 15 years ago…where were you? Did you know your significant other? Were you praying to find him or her? Were you struggling in another way that you are not now?

I can honestly say that when I think back over 10 years ago…I was financially unstable, single(dating morons), no pets, no home…just surviving. My life now…is a dream(even with the struggle).

The struggle is part of my life. It made me who I am. It continues to make me who I am.

I would not have my miracle without the struggle.

So, am I happy enough? Yes…it’s enough. I may have to talk myself through it at times…but I get there.

You will get there. If you’re struggling right now…I’m talking to you. I understand.

But your struggle is part of your story. Your struggle is the way to your happiness.

It might not seem like it now…but in the end…you will survive this struggle..and be thankful for the strength it took to get you there 🙂




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