IVF and surrogacy journeys vary greatly from person to person, but all stories share one common element: they begin with a suite of baseline tests. Zane and I got to enjoy our first round of testing recently, something we’re sharing in two parts below.
Note: these tests were ordered by our doctors based on our medical histories. Your doctor may recommend other testing.
FOR THE LADY:
- Pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound
- AMH blood test
After chugging what seemed like a gallon of water, I was led by a member of the clinic staff to the waiting room. While I’m told it is normally packed, it wasn’t overly busy – probably due to the pandemic. When my name was called, probably 10 minutes after I’d sat down, I went to room 6 where a kind ultrasound technician walked me through the two tests.
The first, a pelvic ultrasound was much like the ultrasounds you see on television. Room-temperature gel was placed on my abdomen, and the technician used an ultrasound wand to take a peek at what was happening beneath the surface. As a result of all of the water I’d just consumed, it was a little uncomfortable to have the wand pushed against my bladder. Luckily, the entire process took just a few minutes. There was a split second where I wondered how different things might feel if we were having a baby the ‘normal’ way and this was my first ultrasound. It certainly would have felt more exciting, but here we are.
Once the that test was completed, I was instructed to relieve my bladder and return to the room for a transvaginal ultrasound. This test was equally as fast as the first. I’m going to spare you the detailed description of what that was like, and instead am sharing this helpful article to describe the process.
Once I was finished in the ultrasound room, I made my way to get my blood drawn. The nurse was friendly and efficient, and even offered me a suggestion of a nearby restaurant to grab take out on my way out. In addition to performing a regular blood panel, checking my general health and wellness, and any communicable diseases, the doctor requested an additional test to measure my anti-müllerian hormone (AMH).
The results of the AMH test will provide my doctor with information about my ability to produce eggs. A higher number indicates a greater ovarian reserve (the number of eggs left). AMH numbers can be affected by a number of things, like genetics and age. While I wait for the results of this test, I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping I’m like a hen house (full of eggs).
FOR THE GENTLEMAN:
- Invitae genetic testing and other bloodwork
- Sperm DNA Fragmentation, Semen Analysis, etc.
In addition to the regular blood panel that was required for Baden, our doctor also suggested I submit a sample of blood for genetic testing. In order to ensure that neither Baden or I are carriers for any genetic mutations, a small vial of blood (or saliva) is sent to a private lab in the US to test for over 300 genetic diseases. I should be getting my results back in a few weeks. You can learn more about this test and even order one for yourself at invitae.com.
There’s no two-ways about it, any trip to the Andrology Department is an awkward experience. You likely need to abstain for a few days before submitting a sample and once you do, it is promptly tested to ensure your swimmers are in top shape. I won’t go into details, but all the material you need is provided. Take a breath. Try to relax, and do what you do best.
P.S. Make sure to not spill a drop. I’m told the best and strongest sperm cells come out first!