Cautiously Excited and Other Musings….

There was a point when I never thought I’d say this…. but I am really looking forward to starting a fresh cycle of IVF. I had built up so much fear about taking stimulating drugs that I almost cannot believe I have made such a complete u-turn on my feelings about going through it again. I’m actually trying to curb my excitement a little because there was a cyst on my ovary at the last scan and if it’s still there I may not be able to start next month.

A few days ago I got my updated AMH test results. I missed the phone call from the doctor so didn’t have a chance to discuss what it means with him but as there is a ton of information on the internet I was able to work it out. So I am now 36 years old & my AMH score is 11.8. This puts me at the top of the ‘satisfactory’ group. (N.B. when trying to interpret my results I found this blog post which I found to be useful. It has the AMH levels & bands against age (there’s also a UK-US conversion because we seem to use different units)). Previously I had my AMH tested when I was 31 years old and it was 25 (in the ‘good’ range) so it is sloping off a bit but that’s to be expected. I just feel really lucky that I have something to work with. I know there are others struggling with low egg reserve (or no eggs) so I am hugely grateful to not have this issue.

As I am getting a whole load of other blood tests done, I went back and re-listened to the Beat Infertility episode about hormone levels. One thing I found particularly interesting was that the Dr on the show said that AMH levels can indicate quantity of eggs and quality. A lot of websites say that AMH only gives an indication of quantity so I was interested that the Dr had a different point of view. I don’t know who is right but I guess it’s just another example of how you get a test to answer questions and it just opens up a whole bunch of new questions!

So going off on a complete tangent, the doctor also mentioned that AMH is the hormone which determines whether an embryo develops male or female sexual organs (in my simplistic understanding anyway, I’m sure there is much more to it than that) and this reminded me of something my auntie once said. I remember that she once referred to going through the menopause as the time “she turned into a man”. I know it is a crude thing to say but I got the impression that it was said with bravado to cover the sadness she felt at no longer being fertile. Maybe I’m reading tons into it but I think she had trouble conceiving my cousin. It’s never been said outright but you know how you hear things over the years and you pick stuff up. I think my auntie wanted more children but couldn’t have them for reasons unknown. This was in the early 1970’s so really she didn’t have any options to get any help other than to try naturally and hope (and as a tangent to the tangent it must have been galling for her to watch my mother pop out lots of children that she then didn’t really look after very well.)

Anyway, I was talking to my cousin the other day and she said something which made me wonder whether she is trying & struggling to conceive. Perhaps I should have said something at the time but she said it almost as a throwaway comment whilst we were chatting about something else and well the moment passed. I wonder whether I should bring it up? She has no idea about my current struggles but I wonder what she would say if I approached her about (I assume) her’s. Would she be upset at a woman with seemingly good fertility (i.e. one who has a child & who has never mentioned any issues trying to conceive) asking about something so personal, or would she be glad that someone has noticed and cares enough to ask? I don’t know. I veer back and forth – I want to be supportive but I don’t want to pry.

So that’s kind of it really – a mixed bag of random – excited that I might soon be starting IVF and wondering whether I should speak to my cousin.

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13 thoughts on “Cautiously Excited and Other Musings….

  1. Glad you are excited! That’s the best place to be in going into a cycle. My AMH went down pretty significantly in just a year. It’s still pretty good, so I’m not complaining, but it’s slightly unnerving. I guess that’s what happens when one turns 38. I still cannot believe I’m even 38, though haha. I think your cousin would appreciate it if you said something, should the subject come up again.

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    1. I know what you mean. I cannot believe I’m 36! It’s crazy, I don’t feel it at all. I’m sure I should feel more grown up and have more answers to things 😉
      I was worried my AMH would go down much more – partly due to over stimulating before, and partly due to the ‘fertility cliff’ the press likes to scare us with. So very lucky to have a good count.
      Thanks for the advice re: my cousin. I think you’re right.

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      1. I don’t think stims change your AMH??? Doesnt IVF just stimulate all potential follicles for that cycle. Once the cycle passes, natural all otherwise, those follicles are no longer available. That’s my understanding. Pls correct me if I’m wrong.

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        1. I think you are right stims don’t change how many eggs you have to start with although I think too much stims can force eggs to grow faster than they should so quality gets compromised. I think that’s why when I over stimulated all my eggs were so rubbish because they were forced.

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  2. I am drooling at you AMH. Mine is .6 and I am 34. It’s amazing that I have a miracle IVF toddler and am still making embryos ( although very few). Having a large egg reserve puts you in a great spot. Whenever I think someone may be struggling with IF I always mention my own struggle. It gives them a chance to share or not. But I think at least they won’t feel alone. Best of luck on this upcoming cycle!!

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    1. Wow I’m really sorry to hear your count but so great you are still able to make embryos. When I went to my clinic open day, they said that often women with low AMH are pushed down the donor route without being given the chance of trying for themselves if they want to, so it’s great that your clinic is supporting to use your own eggs.
      Thank you for the advice re: my cousin. Yes perhaps I should open up about what I’m doing and then that gives her the chance to say something if she wants to… I hate the idea that she might be trying and feeling like it won’t happen.

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      1. I know! I honestly am yet to get a clinic (been to three) that has tried to get me to use donor eggs. I feel like there has to be one more good egg in there, right???. Good for you for having that attitude with your cousin. Let us know how it goes!

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  3. I totally know that feeling. I was excited to cycle this time too although I didn’t start for obvious reasons. As for your cousin, in my opinion if she is throwing comments out there that means she is open to discussing it even a little. Oh and what is this about AMH referring to quality as well as qty? Mine was 30 about 15 mths ago and I always had good egg collections as a result. But the endo was screwing with the quality and all I was getting was rubbish. Hey I hope that cyst doesn’t slow you down. Xxx

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  4. Hey Emily I just emailed you to say hi & check in on you 🙂
    The thing about AMH and quality I hadn’t heard before and lots of other places say it just relates to quantity, so I’m not sure. I know that endo can be a nightmare for egg quality so that must have been really frustrating for you when going through IVF. I’m really interested in the whole quality thing because none of my embryos have been great from the bog standard monitoring that labs do, so I’m hoping that by using lower dose drugs & fewer drugs it might help. Definitely trying to be all zen about it – if the cyst persists and I can’t cycle in October I don’t want to let it get me down so I’m just thinking through all the possibilities so I minimise any disappointment from delays which may occur.
    Yes I think my cousin is open to talking about it – she has mentioned it twice now but always changes the subject (or mentions it within another subject) so it’s difficult to ‘have that chat’ without it seeming forced on my part.
    Hope you are feeling ok? xx

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  5. Excited and positive is the way to be!! Talk to your cousin it sounds like she is putting it out there and it would be amazing to have someone close to you to share the journey with. Crossing fingers for an awesome round for you xx

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  6. It’s great that you’re excited to start, that always helps with an IVF cycle!
    I would maybe say something to your cousin if the subject comes up. It’s always hard to know whether to ever say things, I think IF-dar is a real thing, mine is always picking up on people!

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