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.