Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cooper (and next steps)

My posts to date have pretty much brought us up to the current date and time - we are ~1.5 months beyond our failed first cycle and have sort of shelved the whole discussion, temporarily. We got a puppy to occupy our time and distract us while figuring out our next move. Frankly, we haven't had as much time to discuss the whole thing as we would have liked, but the distraction has been welcomed - puppies are a lot of work! We got a Cairn Terrier (same kind of dog as Toto) He is Amish (got him from Amish country in Ohio) We named him Cooper ... cute little guy with very sharp teeth. Anyhow, he has completely taken over our lives ... there are no spare minutes to just sit around on the couch, or surf the internet. The second you do that, Cooper will bite something, or piss on the rug, or poop under the Christmas tree. Anyways ...

We're casually looking into adoption web-sites, trying to learn more about it ... and we're discussing IVF and how to handle that whole situation. Either way, my wife was told to go on birth control pills "to get rid of the cysts Dr. S. created" (his words) ... we weren't told how long she should go on the pills, when she should have started them, etc. More of the same lack of attention to detail from our clinic ... at some point we'll have to call to ask them how long she should continue. It also sucks that she has to take a medication that prohibits the very thing we are trying to achieve - PREGNANCY! We've been told from some people that the cycle immediately following a failed IVF is a great time to get pregnant through natural means since the levels of Progesterone in the woman are so high. That is not an option for us ...

I didn't do much research into IVF prior to our first round. The failed cycle prompted me to hit the internet for a crash course on the process, and to look into other clinics. I first came across the SART web-site, which contains scores of information on infertility clinics across the country. I immediately compiled all of the data for metro Detroit into a spreadsheet, and plotted all of the statistics relevant to our situation. I primarily focued on "# of cycles" and "# of live births". I've also come across TONS of blogs on the topic of IVF, mostly written by people who have not been successful (a bit discouraging) ... but, in the process, I've become more educated on infertility, and how big of an issue it really is. It's good to know there are others out there going through the same thing.

Based on the information revealed on the SART web-site, We've decided to make an appointment with Oakwood Hospital to review our documentation from cycle #1, and to see what the prognosis is from a different doctor. I'm anxious to see if this doctor will outline a plan for IVF #2 similar to that described by Dr. S. I'm doubtful that the information provided in our files from IVF Michigan will be sufficient to make a prognosis. We certainly don't want to go through the gamut of tests again, as they are expensive and time consuming ... besides, all information that can be gathered is already in the hands of Dr. S. We are looking into other clinics primarily because we want to feel comfortable with our decision to move forward with a second round. Frankly, the whole topic of how expensive this procedure is is not discussed enough. For us, the decision to spend $10k on anything is not made easily. Frankly, anything over $50 is debated and evaluated prior to executing the trade. Therefore, moving forward with another round of IVF will not happen before we fully understand, as best we can, our chances for success. If we feel confident that IVF might work for us, we'll move forward with a second round. If there is a great deal of doubt regarding our chances for success, we would opt to instead place the $10,000 towards adoption. I've heard "quotes" on adoption as high as $40,000 ... that's crazy! That's a lot of money! Good thing about adoption is, it is almost guaranteed to give you a child (especially if you go to another country, from what I understand) Again, we're at the low end of the learning curve on adoption (and IVF for that matter)

So, our plans are to talk to Oakwood and re-evaluate our options afterwards. If we leave Oakwood with a good feeling, we'll probably start scheduling or second round. If the feeling is not so good, we'll look into another clinic and further our education on the adoption process. Stay tuned - I'm going to call Oakwood right now to see when we can get in for a consultation. I hope it doesn't cost anything for such an appointment!

Next time: I'm thinking of writing a post on the expense of this whole procedure. Like when do you reach the point where you can no longer afford to do another round? I mean, that point has to come sometime, right? My wife and I fortunate to have good jobs and the IVF funds can be found without damaging our retirement and savings plans, but still, it requires a bit of sacrifice in other areas. I always like to use the example of "how many Kool-Aid packets do you think you could fit into a shopping cart?" Seems like you could always put one more in ... but at some point the whole thing will crumble ... somehow this example needs to be compared to personal finance. I've got nothing ... but you probably get the point.

Thanks for your comments, and for reading. Hoping for brighter days in 2008.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Happened ... / ?

I want to insert something here - I wrote this whole article and noticed a great deal of negativity about our IVF clinic and Doctor. My wife and I were displeased with the way many aspects of our IVF process were handled. I'm trying to separate the frustration and anger resulting from our failed cycle from legitimate concerns with the professionalism of the staff at our clinic. I've decided to separate out as much of the negativity as possible leaving only a few of our concerns in here. I'm opting to put the Doctor's name in, not to bash him, but to see if anyone else has had similar concerns with him. Overall I like the guy, but would consider evaluating alternatives for our second round ...

So, as noted in earlier posts, we went into the IVF process as if it would be a sure thing. In fact, I recall telling many people "If you have to have fertility problems, you want what we have (i.e. bad sperm, completely healthy female) - IVF will help us overcome the faulty, incapable sperm issue, and everything beyond that point is up to the female! No problems, right?" Wrong!

They harvested 19 follicles , of which, 9 were successfully fertilized. We arrived at the Rochester Hills office of IVF Michigan several days later for the transfer. As I was sitting next to my wife (who was stirruped) with my smock and medical garb on, Dr. S. came into the room and quickly said we had two good embryos to transfer. We had informally agreed prior to the transfer that we would like to go with two embryos, as we were somewhat excited about the option of twins, and we wanted to give ourselves a good chance at success. After briefly describing his plans to transfer two embryos, Dr. S. stated "There are some concerns with the remaining embryos, but we'll discuss that later - now, let's get you pregnant!" Then he "turkey-bastered" my wife (I could see the little jet of fluid / embryos as on the ultrasound screen as they were inserted into my wife's uterus - kind of cool) Afterwards he said "Send us pictures" as he exited the room. That was it. It all felt sort of anticlimactic, and unemotional. After a brief recovery, and my wife relieving her bladder on the bed (which was really wierd, in our opinion) we left and hoped for positive news several days later, but had that "concern with the other embryos" comment stuck in the back of our heads, and as it would turn out, for good reason.

Several days later we received our negative pregnancy results - needless to say, we were shocked. I, being a fairly optimistic person, had not prepared myself for the possibility of this procedure not working. This was partly due to lack of education, and an extremely optimistic prognosis from our Doctor (not his fault ... he was just communicating the information he had at hand) We shed some tears, bitched and allowed the feelings of hopelessness to sink in. We were devastated, at least temporarily. We wondered about the other embryos ... hopefully they would be okay and we could quickly move forward with frozen embryo transfers in the near future. We had to call the clinic to inquire about the state of our remaining 7 embryos, and were told something along the lines of oh, yeah ... your other embryos did not mature to the point where we could freeze them. Sorry." When were you planning on calling us, exactly?!?!?

There we were - out $10,000 with nothing to show for it.

We scheduled a follow-up meeting for two weeks later (that was the first time they had available) We met with Dr. S. who described to us what went wrong. Turns out my wife's follicles were not fully matured at the time of harvest. He asked us if we were certain that we administered the HCG shot exactly as prescribed - I assured him we did everything exactly as we were told to. From what I can understand based on his description, the follicles must be harvested within a ~1 hour window. Take them too soon and they won't be properly matured. Take them too late and she will ovulate, sending the follicles down the fallopian tubes, from whence they will not be recoverable. Dr. S. described the root cause of our failure as "incredibly rare" ... but then said he had another patient with what he believed to be exactly the same situation (seemed like contradicting information to me ... incredibly rare, yet he has another client with the same situation, who happens to be mid-cycle, with beautiful embryos ... hmmmmm ...) He said that on our second round he would use a different HCG medication, and might leave the embryos in my wife a bit longer. He also said that if we have the same results in round 2, we will have "a very serious issue" ... That was it ... we left his office more confused than when we entered, less confident than we hoped to be. One other thing - Dr. S. took two phone calls during our follow-up consultation, one from his wife in which he stated "Can I call you in five minutes?" - five minutes? This implied he knew he would have us out of his office in very short order. I know he's a busy guy, but we paid a lot of money, were very upset and expected nothing less than his undivided attention in a tender situation such as we were in ... after all, it was only five minutes.

Due to my frustration with the way our process was handled, I requested a copy of all our charts, files, etc. on my way out of the office. The notes on one of the documents states "Eggs polar body not completely released from cytoplasm in almost all eggs" If anyone else has experienced similar results, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

A quick disclaimer: I'm not trying to throw Dr. S. under the bus. We liked the guy very much during 90% of the procedure, and will likely go back to him for round 2, but not before exploring alternatives in the area and getting some other opinions. That's what I'm doing now. I've assembled a list of all IVF clinics in Michigan and am attempting to make sense of their ARP scores (IVF Michigan is by FAR the largest clinic in the area, in terms of number of cycles ... they are approximately eight times bigger than the second largest clinic ... they also score very well in success rates, but are not the best, primarily due to sample size - perhaps their size is part of the issue ... maybe they're TOO big ...)

Next time: Looking into other clinics - Does it make sense?

Monday, November 26, 2007


So we had an eventful long weekend with my in-laws. As noted in previous posts, I married well and thus have wonderful in-laws. My mother-in-law decided to have her entire 43-member Italian family over for Thanksgiving in their new home in Clarkston, MI. They have a beautiful home on 6 acres of wooded property ... perfect for shooting guns, playing a family game of football and breaking shoulders. That's right - one of my wife's cousins broke his shoulder while trying to return an intercepted pass for a touchdown on the last play of the game. His knees were taken out from under him by another family member, resulting in the demise of his shoulder as all 200+ lbs. came crashing down in an ugly, graceless fall (broken in two places) Ouch!

Anyhow, we had a nice time in spite of our worries about being bombarded by questions about starting a family and / or IVF. My wife and I decided it would be best to notify the entire family of what we had been through a few weeks ago after several awkward scenarios involving "So, when are you guys going to start kicking out babies?" so I'm assuming almost everyone there knew about our situation. These encounters didn't bother me as much as they did my wife, but I was somewhat relieved to be free of them for a while. I can understand why people would ask (we've been married for over 2 years now, I'm about to turn 30 - starting a family is what we SHOULD be doing!) If the topic of IVF ever came up (which it often did, although often times we would just play along and say "we'll let you know when we decide to start a family") I always took the opportunity to explain that we were going through it due to my misshapen sperm. I have chosen to do this for several reasons: 1. I know people will speculate about who's fault it is if I don't tell them (I know I would!), and odds are they'll assume it's my wife's fault, 2. I like to take the pressure off my wife and assume the burden of responsibility for our unfortunate situation.

This is a big issue that may warrant its own post - if you had the ability to choose who had the problem, you or your spouse, which would you choose? If it's you that has the problem, then you know you're responsible for dealing with the emotional/psychological effects of being deficient, but you will also have to worry about your spouse's feelings towards you (will they still love you, or look at you the same knowing that a huge part of life that is free and easy for most people may not even be possible for them?) If it's your spouse who has the problem, you will have little influence over how he/she handles the emotional/psychological effects, but you know you will love them no matter what and you have a great deal of control over how you prove this to them. If I had to choose, I would choose exactly the situation we have. My sperm are misshapen, but my wife's inner workings are all in perfect order. Knowing that I am deficient sucks, and is a blow to my self-esteem as a man, but I know I can handle it, and that there are worse things that could happen. I also know that my wife would never waiver in her commitment to me, and she has done an outstanding job of demonstrating this to me.

Anyhow, Thanksgiving ended up going off without a single question about our dealings with infertility. I was thinking that our situation made for a very large elephant in the room, but as I recall, my awareness of infertiliy prior to my diagnosis was completely absent. I had NO idea that this was as large a problem as it is, nor did I care. In fact, I have a cousin who went through IVF and successfully gave birth to twin boys, but I didn't' spend a single second comprehending the fact that they had to go through IVF to achieve this. In fact, if I recall, the only thought I gave to it was about her husband and how it was probably his fault, and what a bum he was! (turns out he's a very cool guy, as are all guys with misshapen sperm) So, I'm thinking the majority of people in attendance gave our situation little thought.

So, on the note of Thanksgiving - I am thankful for my wife, for my family, for my health and for my ability to earn enough to afford the IVF / adoption process. I'm confident that some day I'll look back on our trials in infertility and be thankful for what I learned from it. I'll let you know when that happens ...

Next up: What went wrong with IVF #1 and where we go from here ...

Monday, November 19, 2007


This is the part I was most nervous about - not the ultrasounds, not the expense (which was a close second ... or wait, expense was the bigger deal, so scratch that first sentence and make shots the SECOND biggest cause of anxiety), not the possibility that it might not work. I was not looking forward to jabbing needles into my wife on a daily basis.

Fortunately, IVF shots start out slow and small, and work their way up in size and difficulty. The first shot was administered by the nurse at the clinic - I'm not sure what this shot was called, or what it did, but my wife claimed it didn't hurt. This shot kicked off our cycle. The next set of shots, designed to stimulate her ovaries into making piles of follicles, were pre-packaged in this little "pen" ... all I had to do was turn a dial on the end of the pen to the correct dose amount, pull out the plunger (which made a clicking sound), then plunge the pen into a pinched portion of skin on my wife's upper thigh, push the plunger and pull it out. The needle was really, really tiny (only about 1/2 inch long) and the gauge small. My wife could only feel the sting of the alcohol in the event that it didn't have sufficient time to dry. This shot (the one with the nifty pen) was delivered in the morning, and in the afternoon her friend at work would inject her with a similar sized needle filled with a mixture of powder and water (which had to be mixed prior to the shot being administered ... much easier than it sounds. Just fill the plunger with the appropriate amount of sterilized water, from a vial, inject it into another vial containing the actual medication, in powder form - watch as the powder INSTANTLY dissolves - I mean it ... it's incredible ... the powder is gone at the very second the water touches it ... pull this mixture back into the plunger, swap the needle and inject)

Next up was the HCG shot, which was to be administered EXACTLY 12 hours before the "harvest". This was a longer needle, and a more precise injection than the other ones. We were warned at the clinic to be very careful with this one, and were told about many people who screwed it up, thereby ruining their cycle. We administered this shot EXACTLY at 11:30 p.m. the evening before our harvesting .... Turns out that this is exactly where Dr. S. looked to determine the root cause of our failed 1st attempt - I assured him I administered the shot exactly as I was instructed to ... he responded by saying poor drug quality may have been to blame for our underdeveloped follicles ... that, or we have "a very serious problem". Next time around he intends to give us a different version of HCG drug - can't remember the name, or any details about this as his description was vague.

Shortly before and again after the transfer, the Progesterone shots began. These used a much larger needle than the others (similar in size to the HCG shot) My wife had a very severe reaction to this shot in terms of pain. She could barely walk for almost a day afterwards. We would rotate sides between left and right (i.e. injection site = just above her rear), but that didn't really help. The nurses, and even Dr. S. commented on how abnormal this was ... but upon further questioning of Dr. S., he dismissed it and switched her to a vaginal tablet form of the Progesterone drug immediately after the transfer (apparently IVF Michigan was extensively involved in proving out this form of administering Progesterone) So ended the shots.

I found it incredibly unfair that I was let off the hook in the shot department. The whole reason we are going through IVF is because of my abnormally shaped sperm, yet, I have do nothing other than make love to a cup and watch porn while my wife has shots, ultrasounds, surgeries and all manner of other procedures. It's good to be a guy, but I feel for my wife, and admire her for carrying this burden for the sake of our family and our marriage. She's a wonderful person and I admire her more than she knows.

What's next? Thoughts about a Thanksgiving weekend with 43 family members.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Job Changes

Sort of non-IVF related post here, but every aspect of our lives seems to be impacted by our quest for a baby, to some degree. Onward ...

Upon finding out that we had to go through in vitro I amped up my initiative of finding a new job. I had spent over two years after receiving my MBA from Michigan Business School working for one of the big three - the job was a cake walk, the pay was bad, the challenge absent, opportunity for promotion non-existent, no bonus, no rewards for effort, etc. Sounds pretty bad eh? Well I guess I'm exaggerating a bit ... I got home early every day, didn't have to travel, and could outshine my colleagues by trying just a little bit harder than everyone else (I sincerely don't intend this to sound arrogant ... it's a statement about the other people, not about myself. I really don't know what I'm doing, but I know how to work hard.) I didn't take on shit loads of student loans to sit around putting in minimal effort just to collect a paycheck. I wanted a challenge, to be rewarded for any initiative I took and most importantly to get PAID. More importantly, I wanted to be able to earn enough so that my wife could stay home with our children, if / when they arrive. Upon realizing that my job would prohibit the realization of the majority of my desires, I began to look elsewhere.

I intended to find a nice corporate job somewhere in the northern suburbs of Detroit. My wife and I have always liked it up there and had been discussing our plan to relocate from the day we got married. It was pretty exciting to actually start looking. Well, after only a few short months I landed an interview with a consulting firm. I was fairly familiar with the consulting lifestyle having attended business school with many people who chose this career path. I had decided long ago that consulting was definitely not for me. I value the life part of work-life balance a little too much to spend my time traveling and working 60 hour weeks. But, when the financial demands of in vitro were introduced to our life, consulting (primarily the increased salary) became very attractive.

I interviewed with this firm mostly for kicks - I had heard horror stories from my b-school colleagues of consulting case interviews and in a masochistic way I sort of wanted to try it. Consulting interviews were incredibly intense and those vying for them were ultra competitive - while I was in b-school, this did not appeal to me in the least. Well, my first interview went horribly wrong (or so I thought) They raked me over the coals upon discovering that I had confused revenue and profit. Not good. I left the office smiling to myself about how I had just conducted my worst interview ever. I was shocked when they called me back for a second round a few months later. I was much more relaxed in round two and actually did pretty well. The offer was extended the next day, and the terms were so good that I just couldn't say no - I would get paid more (~40% increase in salary), 5 weeks vacation, 50% 401(k) match, challenging work, exposure to executives in many companies, expense account, etc. So after much deliberation and stress about the choice I had before me, my wife and I agreed that I had to accept. The signing bonus covered our first round of IVF ... oh to think of the other things we could have done with that money!

So, we checked the "new job / increased salary" box. One thing I've been amazed by is the timing of this job offer. I had started the interview process before we knew we would have to do IVF, and the offer came during the exact week in which we discovered we'd have to do IVF. Perfect timing. We had sufficient funds in the bank to conduct the first round, but using those funds would have put us in a risky cash position (i.e. it would have depleted our savings). The terms of my new job exactly covered the incremental funds we would require to go through IVF.

On another note, I had always been interested in pursuing a challenging career such as that offered by consulting, but due to my priorities (wife and life over work and pay) I would never have accepted such a position - I would have always wondered "what if". Now I get to take on that personal challenge, delete the "what if" and accelerate my career at the same time. I'm fortunate to have a wife who is supportive of not only the financial rewards of consulting, but also the personal satisfaction that I will derive from giving it a shot. If IVF had not been introduced to our lives, I would have been incredibly tempted by the offer, but likely would have declined to avoid the travel and hours. Amazing how you are given what you need when you need it ... I'm a person of faith and believe very strongly that this was no coincidence, but I'll spare the religious details here. I accepted the job and the very next day we were meeting with our IVF nurse to commence the process, meeting with our Realtor to put our home on the market and meeting with my boss to quit my old job.

This was a difficult decision, but even if we are unsuccessful in IVF, the incremental experience I will get from my time as a consultant should open some doors and accelerate my career a bit. I just hope the travel / hours don't become too problematic. So far, the job has been fantastic ... I'm getting great experience that would've taken over 10 years to achieve in my last job and I'm getting paid more. I am, however, working a lot ... but, everyone I know works a lot. There's no free lunch - I'm fortunate just to be working in this shitty Michigan economy, and fortunate to have a wife who is so supportive.

Tomorrow: Shots

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Beginning

A bit about how we got started on this crazy road of IVF. My wife and I were married in the summer of 2005, shortly after I graduated from grad school with my MBA. A new job, new house, new degree, new marriage and new lifestyle were all adopted in the span of ~2 months. Getting married is the single best thing I've ever done. I have a beautiful wife (WAY out of my league), she's my best friend, and I would do anything to make her life even a little bit better. I can't wait to get home to see her at night, to spend my weekends with her and to just enjoy the ups and downs of life with her at my side. Things were great (and they still are ...) We decided to start "trying" for a baby after about 1.5 years of marriage. We expected to have no difficulty at all. This all happened at such a rapid pace that I didn't really have much time to think about what a huge endeavor we were embarking on. When things didn't "take" as we expected them to, we began to get a little concerned (more so my wife than I ... I'm more laid back about these major life events, and was okay if it took some time to achieve success. I'm super anal about our finances, and welcomed the incremental time to save for college, 401(k), Roth IRA, student loans, etc. How do people survive financially these days?) After about a year the frustration began to grow in me as well. I stopped drinking alcohol (not that I drank that much, but my father-in-law and I like to make homebrew together, and enjoy the fruits of our labor via a sweet 4-tap kegerator that he keeps in his basement - yeah, I married REALLY well!) We did everything we thought possible to increase our chances, with no luck. After a vacation over the 4th of July this year, we decided to make some doctor appointments to see what was the matter. I was up first.

I went to my doctor, described the problem and was met with some skepticism - "What is your rush?" she said - "You're so young, just give it some time!" ... then she referred me to a urologist to have a male exam. Uh oh. I went, talked to this nice English doter (Seaman, in Ann Arbor) who examined me VERY thoroughly while a young resident watched. Not much fun having your balls cupped by an old man while another guy who's exactly your age stands by and watches - very embarrassing and during a certain part of the exam, very "lubey" and uncomfortable. Yes, he checked my prostate. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but I was counting on deferring these types of exams until my 40s. I want to make it very clear: I didn't like it ... at all - if I had a tail, it would've been between my legs when I walked out of the examination room. Anyhow, part of the process was a semen analysis. Another embarrassing stop.

I went the Oakwood Hospital laboratory in Dearborn for this analysis. I've had to do this routine several times since, and it seems without fail that the staff of labs that do semen analyses are comprised entirely of women ... young women. So, you show up and say "I'm here for my semen analysis" They "prepare" the room (by fanning out a significant amount of porno magazines), hand you a cup and give you your space to provide a sample. After you're done you walk out with your sample in hand (in the cup, of course) and give it to the girls at the front desk. Incredibly humiliating, but if you can appreciate the awkwardness of it, pretty funny stuf. They put on a rubber glove and escort your sample to the lab while you get the hell out of there hoping to never run into these people in public.

The results came back to show my morphology was the issue. According to the criteria used by Oakwood's lab to assess morphology, I was 14% normal (just shy of the 15% mark separating fertile from borderline infertile, again, by the criteria used by this lab) Dr. Seaman described me as being "just on the cusp" of fertility ... very English. He was a super cool guy though, calling me personally to report my results after both tests - in my book, a sign of a very good doctor. I went in for the second assessment a few weeks later, as is procedure (to ensure adequate sample size and diminish possibilities of one-off circumstances leading to higher, or lower counts) Same results.

We took this as sort of a mixed bag: We weren't told that I was infertile, but we were told that it would be a bit more challenging for us than it would be for a "normal" couple. Bummer, but not the end of the road.

After this we tried, unsuccessfully, for a few more months via natural means. Fun for me, but frustrating for my wife. Soon afterwards we went to the IVF clinic to discuss our options, and to have my wife checked out. More to come on this in future posts ... there would be more tests, for me, for my wife, insurance screw-ups costing us several thousands of dollars, painful tests for my wife, shots, medications, flex accounts, job changes, puppies, homes for sale and all sorts of things along the way. More on this as my blog continues.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Joining the Fray

My wife and I recently finished our first IVF cycle - and FAILED! We've been pretty upset, lost, confused, broke, (insert any and all appropriate descriptors here) Following the news of our negative pregnancy test, I dove into the blogging world to learn more about the IVF process (something I should have done before our first cycle), to research doctors and to find others who have gone through the same thing. I've been very impressed with the quantity and variety of blogs available on the subject, but have noticed the vast majority of these blogs are authored by women. I've been going home every night to tell my wife about the things I've read on my "IVF Girl's" blogs, and figured a male perspective was in order - the comfort we've taken from reading these blogs, knowing we're not alone has been welcomed, and spreading that philosophy from the eyes of a husband can't hurt. I'm sure there are other guys out there who have done this already, so I'm not claiming some novel idea here, but figured I'd give it a shot. So, let's get into a bit about my wife and I ...

I'm opting to remain anonymous out of respect for those family members who we have not yet told about our trials in infertility. You don't care who we are anyways - you DO care about who our doctor is, why our cycle failed and most importantly, that we FAILED (I'm convinced there are few people who read these types of blogs who've been successful with IVF - you want to hear about how much this process sucks for us, just like it sucks for you ... if not, you're probably in the wrong place)

We live in metro Detroit, and have done our first cycle with Doctor S. out of IVF Michigan (Ann Arbor office, other than the harvest / transfer, which is done in Rochester Hills) Overall, Dr. S. has been pretty cool - he's obviously a busy man (i.e every time we've been to his office we've waited at least 15 minutes past our appointment time to see him, and IVF Michigan blows away all other clinics in the area in number of cycles conducted) He's obviously a wealthy man (drives a sweet Mercedes crossover ... why not a domestic vehicle, given his proximity to Detroit??? That's another topic.) ... and he's Catholic, which is, somehow, important to us. He gave us a sense of extreme confidence during our initial consultations. My wife is young at 27 years old, and I'm not that old either at 29. We tried for a little over one year to conceive by natural means with no success. During that time it seemed every single one of my wife's coworkers got pregnant on their first or second attempts (even the old ones) This made for many conversations where my wife would come home crying or hating those friends of hers who were pregnant - something to this day I still don't understand. If they're your friend and they are happy, why would you be mad at them for achieving something they want very badly? I read some books that said this is a common misunderstanding amongst husbands of women who are dealing with infertility, so since it's in a book, I'm free to run my mouth about it!

Well, before long we grew frustrated and decided to seek medical help. Before we knew it we were wacking off into cups, jabbing my wife with needles, and preparing our finances to go through this procedure that most people never think about, or even know about (other than vague recollections of the phrase "test tube babies" from the news in the early 80s) We completed our first IVF cycle in October 2007, and got the unfortunate news that we were unsuccessful. We were shocked. Given our age and the ultra-positive prognosis from Dr. S., we didn't think it was even remotely possible that IVF wouldn't work. Now, we're trying to figure out where to go from here. First stop: Get a puppy - this has kept us distracted, and has given us reason to smile while we choose our next steps.

Anyway, I wanted to commence the blog with a short intro - I intend to write a bit more as time allows, including more on our background and the changes we've had to make in our lives to accommodate and plan for the IVF process. What you need to know right now is this: We've tried IVF one time, were unsuccessful, immediately got a puppy to compensate, are getting no sleep because the dog likes to poop and pee in his crate (and eat it), are considering bypassing a second round of IVF and going straight to adoption, are still a little shocked that we're even going through this, and are amazed at the amount of other people who are going through the same thing. It is difficult. It sucks. But we'll get through it, and I'm hoping the posts on this site can lend a little comfort to those who are in the same boat, or are about to climb aboard. I'm convinced this process looks a little different through a husband's eyes, and I intend to share that perspective in the weeks / months / (hopefully not) years ahead.