My egg freezing journey began in fall 2018 after taking a year to recover from endometriosis excision surgery. My pelvic pain doctor, Emily Blanton, asked me to go get my fertility assessed. Endometriosis has been known to cause fertility issues and turning 32 was something that had been weighing on me.
I went to a local clinic in which they do blood work and an ultrasound. The blood work tests for your Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) level that determines your ovarian reserve. Basically the amount of eggs that you have as compared to other women in your age group. The ultrasound tests for how many follicles you have and their their size. When my blood work came back I had an AMH level of 0.9. This meant that I was in the 5th percentile for my age for the amount of eggs I have left. I was advised to freeze my eggs right away. Not only did this make me upset but I was scared and anxious that these hormones to retrieve the eggs would make me feel sick again and exacerbate my pelvic pain. The doctor said there’s a good chance this would flare my endometriosis and could lead me to having another surgery.
I decided to begin the process in January 2019. If I ever wanted a chance to have a family with my own children, this was it. A few days when I was about to get started, a patient asked me what the SART score was for the clinic that I was going to. I was befuddled because I had never heard of this before. SART stands for the Society For Assisted Reproductive Technology. This score is based on the success rate of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in each clinic. Essentially, it is the percentage of embryo transfers resulting in live births. If you’re going to freeze your eggs, you will have to undergo IVF as well.
I decided to choose CCRM in New York City based off of their SART score. I couldn’t have made a better decision. They helped me tremendously, especially the nurses, and under the care of Jamie Knopman. They were supportive throughout the process especially afterwards when your symptoms can get a little worse.
The experience 2 weeks before your retrieval can be a bit taxing. You do have to go for ultrasounds and blood work every other day and take a series of shots twice a day. It’s not an exact science and every woman’s body is different so hence there is a need for consistent monitoring in case any adjustments with medications need to be made. The nurses communicate with you every day after your appointment to instruct you on medication for the following day.
Before I started the injections I used estrogen patches for 10 days to stimulate the ovaries. You take a series of injections for 12 days. You start with Menopur, which stimulates ovaries to make eggs in the morning. Follistim is injected at night in order to grow more follicles.
Ganirelix is used to prevent ovulation and starts after the 4th day of injections. You want to take every opportunity to make as many eggs as possible during this process. HCG and Lupron allows you to initiate ovulation once follicles are mature and is taken 36 hours before retrieval
on the day of the retrieval, you basically prep as if you would for surgery. You are given anesthesia and the procedure is only about 15 minutes. Shortly after you wake up, you are told how many eggs were harvested and then which ones are viable to be frozen. I am so lucky for my experience and I was able to freeze 12 out of 17 eggs that were harvested.
I felt fine, just a bit bloated for a day or 2. However, and they do tell you this, that you start feeling worse about the 3rd day after the procedure. I did feel that some of my pelvic pain symptoms that came back that week afterwards but nothing what I had felt prior to surgery back in 2017.
I would do this over again in a heartbeat. Prophylactically before I started the process, I had undergone pelvic floor injections to help prevent the pain. I never feel any pressure to think about the stress of starting a family nor thinking that this disease will cause infertility down the line.