Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

So I popped into the clinic this week and, after getting over the shock & confusion of the Dr's poor choice of words,  the rest of the 'appointment' was fairly productive.

Good news: I won't need to have the mock transfer/uterus measuring test because of already having 3 IUIs. It seems that they got the data needed during those procedures. I literally raised my arms and cheered in an 'over the line' celebratory gesture when Dr told me this!  I know the test is just one part of the whole IVF process and not that big a deal, but it was just a relief to know it's one less thing to have shoved where the sun don't shine (oh, I'm such a lady...)

Good news: Dr seemed quite understanding and flexible about me wanting to schedule IVF around my holiday at the end of the month. I can pretty much call the shots on when I want to start, which I know is not the case everywhere.

Good news: Dr said it was a good idea for me to have a holiday and 'rest my organs'. I've been resting my ovaries for a couple of months, now it seems my other organs want a break!

Bad news: It's official.. I'm not young :(

Just before this appointment, I had lunch with 2 fertility challenged friends (look out for future post about this) who've both had IVF here. I was picking their brains and asking about their protocols. Although neither of them were that familiar with the different options (Really?! Isn't everyone as anal as me about reading all available info before drilling the clinic with questions?!), it became clear that they'd both had short protocols. We got to talking about long vs. short and how the clinic picks one or the other. I was pretty sure it was related to your FSH level and the number of antral follicles, but my friend said those results were fine for her and it was more to do with her age. Now my friends are 33 (my age) and 35. Young, right? Apparently not. I asked my Dr about my protocol and  he seemed to automatically assume that I'd be on a short protocol, even though my FSH is 'good' and apparently my antral follicle numbers are OK too (would welcome more info on this, if anyone has any). I asked why and he said my age.

Me: So I'm considered old?

Dr: Well, you're not young.

I know some of you will be shaking your heads at my stupidity/naivety here.. 'How can she think she's young at 33?!' But it really came as a bit of a shock.. not really that 33 (nearly 34) is not young as far as IVF and childbearing goes, but more a shock that I am actually nearly 34! I couldn't sleep the other night and I suddenly had this moment of panic... I'm nearly 34! What happened to my 30's?!

I was happy to reach 30... I'd just got married, I was enjoying life, I was looking forward to starting a family and I felt like a grown-up. So where did those 4 years go? Although I have achieved quite a bit professionally in that time (and I am proud of and happy about that), we have achieved so little in terms of moving forward in our family goals.

So, this confirmation from the Dr that I am fast approaching that scary 'Advanced Maternal Age' was a bit of a kick in the teeth.  Anyway, I know that it's not the end of the world and I still feel very young at heart - hence the title of this post.

And what does this mean for our IVF? Well, the Dr conceded that, depending on my hormone profile on CD2, it might not be a clear decision whether to have long or short protocol. It might be more of a choice. So, although I like the idea of a short protocol because, well, it's shorter and you get a result (or not) faster, I've got it into my head that short protocols are the 'poor man's choice' (otherwise known as the old woman's choice) and might not be as likely to work. The Dr sidestepped my question about the relative success rates of the protocols several times, so I'd welcome any information you can offer on this. Is long protocol the 'ideal' and short is used when that isn't possible/feasible? Is one more likely to work than the other?

And, just to finish, a quote I found which seemed to sum things up so well:

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.


  1. I understand where you are coming from with the "age" thing. We started ART cycles when I was 29. I was shocked to find out that this is "old age" in conception years. chances are just going down! UGH!!!

    As for your protocol question, I wish I could help. We always used a tailored protocol - similar to an agonist/antagonist conversion protocol with estrogen priming. It worked for a lot of my friends but not for me, so I don't know that I can recommend it. Bets of luck with whatever you choose.

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  3. Last post too long winded (deleted). I have blogged about doing the short protocol (SP) at end of December I think, if you want to look.
    My Drs were vague too about SP but put it to me this way.... the LP gives clinics more control around cycles, when to start etc but otherwise results (from stimulation and then fertilisation etc)are the same. So for me aged 34 with normal bloods etc it could go either way but the clinic prefered SP, more natural, wait for next menstrual period, USS to check follicles and go! It saved us time, money and drugs but I know I was reluctant as it didn't match what I was reading on line. I was really happy with our fertilisation report and I'm glad I didn't have to go through down regulation. That's just my experience. I will be away from my blog for a while but do email (yahoo) me if you have any other questions about my SP or anything else, down in South America. Will be thinking of you :)

  4. Didn't you know that the thirties are the new twenties =)
    Well, I wish it was in real life regarding fertility issues as well. We are the same age then and yes I agree, it's a bit scary to soon be close to that 'advanced age'.

  5. It's weird how young I feel and how that doesn't mesh with my 'fertility age'!

    I'm going to do some research on the different IVF protocols.. I haven't really done that much yet, despite my comments above, and I want to be fully informed before going back to the clinic.

  6. My doc here was pretty clear that I shouldn't wait much longer. She's only happy for us to do one or two cycles naturally or IUI before moving on to IVF because of my age (I'm 31 next month). And all the time I was thinking 'I've still got 7 or 8 years' to get started.

  7. Kat - I know! I thought it was late 30's, early 40's when things got difficult.. not 30!