Just one person's tale to tell....

I am a 35-year-old journalist who has decided there is no better way to overcome difficult times than to write--feel free to post, comment or just read along. This is my blog about the struggles I endured of trying to conceive. For all those out there who are experiencing the same difficulties--sometimes it is nice to hear that you are not alone.
"I have not failed 10000 times; I have successfully found 10000 ways that do not work." ~ Thomas Edison

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good news in Britain

INFERTILITY: UK moves to extend free IVF to women up to 42, same-sex couples, cancer patients

May 22, 2012
Isabel Teotonio
Embryologist Ric Ross pulls out vials of human embryos from a liquid Nitrogen storage container at the La Jolla IVF Clinic February 28, 2007 in La Jolla, California.
Sandy Huffaker/GETTY IMAGES
Advocates for infertility patients say Ontario should follow the lead of Britain, where a powerful health advisory agency recommended on Tuesday that the U.K. extend free fertility treatments to women up until the age of 42 and to same-sex couples.
In Ontario couples struggling with infertility continue to pay for costly treatments and there is no indication that the provincial government is moving toward funding in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“I think it’s fantastic what’s happening in Britain,” says Jan Silverman, a Women’s College Hospital infertility counselor who’s also a member ofConceivable Dreams, a grassroots organization representing infertile couples across Ontario.
“What makes me frustrated is that these models have come up in other areas, such as Quebec and now Britain, and yet we cannot budge the Ontario government right now.
“It is shameful that Ontario has let the needs of the infertile population go unrecognized and undealt with, causing unbelievable expense to people for wanting to have a child.”
The British health system usually pays for up to three cycles of IVF for couples who have been trying to get pregnant for at least three years. Previously, women had to be under the age of 40 to qualify. Many government-funded clinics already treat gay and lesbian couples, but the recommendations now make that explicit, though they are not binding. (The recommendations will likely be followed by many of the U.K.’s medical centres.)
The guidelines are likely to affect only a minority of patients, and it will be up to hospitals to decide whether to pay for IVF treatments. Britain’s health service is being forced to trim $31 billion USD from its budget by 2015 and many hospitals often ration who gets IVF and deny the treatment to eligible patients. One IVF cycle typically costs about $4,730 USD.
Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said the new draft guidelines recognized the importance of treating infertility, citing the psychological harm it can cause. “No one who stands a reasonable chance at conception should be denied the opportunity,” he said in a statement. “These (new) guidelines outline how that can be achieved.”
The draft guidelines issued Tuesday also say the government should pay for IVF in people with diseases such as HIV, or patients facing cancer treatment who want to preserve their fertility. About one in four IVF cycles results in a baby; that drops to about one in 10 for women over 40.
Elsewhere in Europe, many countries including France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland ban gay and lesbian couples from receiving IVF and often impose similar age limits for eligible women, cutting off treatment to women over 40.
In all Canadian provinces, except Quebec, IVF treatment is not covered. According to the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technologies Registry, in 2008 – the last year for which statistics are available – 9,904 live births in Canada were the result of IVF.
The Royal Commission for New Reproductive Technology found that a quarter of a million couples in Canada are affected by infertility, which is defined an inability to conceive after 12 months.
In Ontario, because treatment is not covered by OHIP, most couples transfer multiple embryos rather than a single embryo. But multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, to require a caesarean delivery and to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives, according to Conceivable Dreams.
In 2009, Ontario’s Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption recommended that the province fund up to three cycles of IVF for women up to age 42, not discriminate against same-sex couples and adopt policies that reduce the number of multiple pregnancies through IVF.
The panel estimated that the savings to the healthcare system through a reduction in the number of multiple births through IVF would be between $400 million and $550 million.
“I understand that it’s a time of fiscal restraint,” says Silverman, who was part of the panel. “However, the arguments we have put forward are about cost-saving methodology not about further spending.”
During the last provincial election, advocates sought a commitment from all three political parties to provide OHIP coverage of IVF and encouraged Ontario to follow the lead of Quebec.
In August 2010, the Quebec government began funding up to three rounds of IVF treatment for couples, on the condition that only one embryo be transferred at a time. The aim is to reduce the number of multiple births, which are riskier than births of singletons.
Early results show a decrease in twins from 27 per cent to 5 per cent in the first 6 months of government funding, according to the Registry.
With files from the Associated Press

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One year later....

On April 24 our little miracle turned ONE!
I can't believe a whole year has gone by and now I'm already back to work and missing every moment at home. But he is thriving at his great home daycare that is just around the corner from our house and meeting new friends. He comes home with messy hands and paint covered clothes--a great indication of a day well spent! His precious artwork gets hung up on the fridge and when I got my first "Ethan-made" mothers day card I felt a small tug of joy in my heart that I would be getting one of these every year. At the end of the day after tucking E in, I put my card up on the mantle and it made me realize just how lucky I am to be this lil man's mom. 

And then I got another small tug in my heart..full of sadness for all the ladies I've met online and through these blogs, those amazing ladies who have yet to fulfill their journey to mommyhood. I can't forget how sad the holiday of Mothers Day can be when you are still counting out cycles, measuring out meds, taking temperatures and bloodwork and peeing on sticks that never produce that silly second line you pray for. 

I keep all you ladies in my heart and still log on to follow your journeys while I can--I'm excited when I hear someone's BFP (Big Fat Postive) and heartbroken when those embies just don't stick. I can only hope that one day your miracle will come your way as well.

It is the simple things in my day--like a painted handprint card-- that make me ever so grateful for becoming a mom. Of course, like many women who struggle with infertility, I never forget our journey and already have many people asking us when we are going to have another. It's a difficult question, especially when the person asking doesn't know that Ethan was conceived through IVF. We are extremely lucky that we have nine top grade embryos sitting in the freezer so our next cycle won't be as invasive (or expensive) as our first--but I also know the success rates of frozen embryo transfers as well as the fact that while it is significantly cheaper it is still $700 a cycle (not including meds which can be up to $3000). 

For now my hands are full with my rambunctious one-year old who  everyday makes me smile.

The following pics are of a recent trip we took to our fertility clinic in London (a three hour trek from where we now live) for Ethan to meet the man behind it all. Dr. Power will forever hold a special place in my heart and not only for helping me become a mom. He is the same doctor that saved my life in 2001 and I can truly say I wouldn't be here today without him.  

It was a great moment for mommy. 

                             Ethan meeting our fertility doctor with lots of smiles and giggles.

When we started our fertility journey I snapped a picture of myself in this exact spot to document our clinic...what a great feeling to snap another pic with my lil munchkin in it!