"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

16 November 2010

Quantity vs Quality

Up until this week, because I didn't think it pertained to me, I had never really paid too much attention to the differences among the following words, describing conditions I didn't think I had: Premature Ovarian Failure, Diminished Ovarian Reserve, Poor Egg Quality.... What do they all mean? And what pertains to me? Here's a great link that explains the difference between Egg Quality vs Egg Quantity (POF, DOR). And now I guess its something I need to understand...

you see...

I had my "WTF" appointment at the end of last week with the RE who ran the study I participated in. He was nice and cordial but he told me pretty much everything I already knew after researching all last week about the drama that was my last IVF cycle. Basically, not only are my ovaries starting to fail (ie, Egg Quantity is diminishing) but ALSO, my Egg Quality is sucky. I think that I must have a lot more red dots than green dots (this makes sense if you read the link).

So now we have a real diagnosis, I guess, .... sucky eggs. My eggs are old. My eggs are too ripe. My eggs have rapidly declined from my first IVF cycle way back in the spring of 2009 when I got beautiful day 5 blasts with some to freeze... And only about 1.5 years later, I can't even make 2 eggs that mature and develop normally by day 3. Does this really happen that fast? Really? Part of me doesn't really believe it, but the other logical part of me says, maybe this is just something I need to accept and have as finally a true answer to our almost 4 years of infertility. Sucky eggs.... Suck.

But there's nothing that I could have done about it, right? I mean, maybe, but really, not a lot.  Can I blame the intoxicating substances in college? Can I blame the environmental toxins we live in and ingest on a daily basis? Can I blame the stress of an unpredictable childhood  (no need to divulge those family secrets...maybe someday if you're lucky ;-) ... Am I the 'canary in the coalmine' for what we are doing to our planet? Or is this just a random act of nature that has no real reason other than that some of us get good eggs, and some of not so much...?

I guess right now I'm ok with out a solid 'why' answer, or something to blame. I guess I'm finding more comfort in thinking that there's nothing that I could have done to prevent this, other than possibly trying to start our family earlier.

But I refuse to go down that path. I refuse to do the 'should have' dance. I refuse to make this about my fault.

Do I wish that I would have thought more about my fertility ages ago? Yes
Do I think that I would have listened to anyone trying to tell me that my egg quality declines as I get older? No

So now we have to sit with this new information and figure out what it means to us and our next steps, because we're not done.... oh no... I refuse to live a childless life! I will be a mother and I am NOT going to take this lying down...

(Although I wish I could have gone about being a mother that way... Yes... I went there)

We have another consult with my RE here in town on Friday to get another perspective. If anyone has stories of hope, please feel free to share. I'm struggling to find hope right now, even though I'm trying to be strong.


  1. K, It astonishes me that egg quality AND quantity can decline at any point in our lives. It does not make sense and it makes me mad. I am just so sorry that any of this happens to any of us!!
    I don't know if there is anything that can be done to help our poor lil' eggies - eat more eggs?
    I am interested in hearing what your next Dr. says. Ask him/her about the estrogen priming protocol - heard it's good for a lot of women who have similar things going on in their ovaries.
    Hang in there and you and I are in this battle together... I won't give up, if you won't give up. (Train: calling all angels). Send me your addy so I can send you the CD :)

  2. Hey there--I just was checking out that site earlier this week b/c I have DOR...I should have been diagnosed at age 29 when I first had my AMH tested, but of course, my sucky RE never said anything. I have heard good things about DHEA and Human Growth Hormone helping. In fact, my RE just went to a conference where they discussed DHEA. So, maybe something to look into.

    You will have a family if it is important to you. It may not happen how you would have liked or when you would have liked, but at the end of your life, you will have children that you have loved and cared for.

  3. I've had the opposite occur. I had an awful 1st IVF (Long Lupron), and pretty crappy 2nd IVF (antagonist), and a pretty good 3rd IVF (Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol (A/ACP)-Sher Protocol). So cycles can improve with different protocols. I think this conclusion after 1 lackluster cycle is premature.
    Thats just my opinion. I wish you the best!

  4. I have been doing this research all day and feeling some of the disbelief you describe. Have we been on the same sites? I posted a similar link from the same site in a post today about antral follicle counts, after I found out my egg quantity is not what I expected it to be during my day 3 u/s.

    I'm sorry that you got this news following your last IVF. I hope your next appointment goes well and your next steps offer something that will work for you.

  5. I'm still holding onto hope for you....I also KNOW you WILL be a mom. I love your spark! You're an amazing inspiration and I know you will find what the right next steps are for you guys. I hope you have a great appointment on Friday...xoxo

  6. I am so very sorry Kathleen. You are more than entitled to be struggling right now.
    I have had experiences like Teresa, my eggs quality varied based on the protocol. I am not an RE so I am not sure if the same can be true for you. My RE does warn though not to make too much outof one poor cycle. I am also interested in hearing what the next RE says.
    Please know that we are here for you. I totally understand and have done a few things to improve egg quality. Feel free to email me anytime.
    thinking of you....

  7. I am so sorry Kathleen.

    IF you are interested there is a great Website out there called www.ivf.ca they have an amazing forum with lots of ladies with POF or DOR.

    it is free to join and you can post in the forums and get advice and different protocols from lots of ladies!!

  8. I myself have had to grapple with an unclear reason for 3 losses. Because all of the tests came back normal normal normal, I have chalked it up to wonky eggs. But who knows.

    A blogger I follow visited some very renowned Dr's in Chicago who specialize in RPL (she's suffered 6 miscarriages). I know there are as many opinions as there are doctors, but perhaps some of her information will be helpful. She reports on her visit at this link:

    What about all of the immunological issues you described earlier? What did the RE have to say about those? Could those still be a reason?