Baseline testing: the results

After visiting our clinic back in February for a series of tests, we were eager to meet with our fertility doctor and hear the results. Fortunately for us everything is looking great!

Let’s start with Baden’s details:

The anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is one way to measure ovarian reserve. It is a simple blood test that measures the potential for how many eggs could be in your basket. While this number tends to decrease with age, Baden’s actually increased, from 33 a year and a half ago to 41.9 today. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as conducting the test on different days of her cycle. This number shows a healthy reserve for her age, without a risk of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

The pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound (her visit with Wanda – as the transvaginal ultrasound is known) was also successful, with 47 follicles counted (corroborating the AMH levels). Typically, each follicle could produce one egg on retrieval day. While 47 eggs would be far too many, a high number shows that there are lots of follicles ready for stimulation! These figures give us cautious optimism about IVF. Baden often tells me “I hope I’m like a hen house – full of eggs!” on retrieval day.

Important note: The ultrasound technician noted that Baden’s IUD was firmly in place and the doctor reminded us that you can certainly keep your IUD in place during IVF. This was a great reminder as we were unsure as to whether it could stay in when she had it inserted a few years ago.

My results went swimmingly:

With my contribution making up 50% of the embryo, we needed to make sure that everything was in good working order! Fortunately it was, with my sperm DNA fragmentation (which measures the integrity of genetic material in the sperm) at 6.6% (under 20% is normal) and all positive marks for sperm shape and motility (speed). I don’t know how they counted each one, but my umm…deposit…had over 90 million sperm (27.4 million/cc), with 66% of them swimming (40-50% is normal). The doctor said that I too am in perfect working order and everything looked great.

The bad news:

The doctor reminded us that because we need a surrogate for medical reasons, proceeding with a funded IVF cycle through the Ontario Fertility Program, means we need the name of an Ontario-based surrogate that has never acted as a surrogate before beginning IVF. While we had thought this was only suggested, we now know it is required. It does narrow our search for Ms. Right quite a bit, but given our positive results, we are confident that once we find the right match, IVF will be only one small step in our journey to bring home Baby Colt.

With Canadian Infertility Awareness Week beginning on April 18, we know that our positive results may cause others to have mixed feelings. Many couples seeking fertility support due so following months or years of negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages, and less than ideal results from the same tests we’ve just passed with flying colours. There is no rhyme or reason as to why some people struggle with aspects of fertility that pose no issue to others.

We feel for the couples (and single parents) who are trying to build their family. While our situations may be different, our end goal is the same. We all want healthy children. Supporting each other throughout Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, and each and every week following, is the best way to build community and validate each other’s lived experience.

Zane

P.S. While I have been pleasantly surprised by how vibrant the fertility community is, I would be remise not to mention one area I find is lacking. Male partners often avoid (or stay silent in) online fertility groups, opting to let their female partners take the lead on making a match, researching and engaging in conversation. An Intended Father’s role doesn’t begin at the birth of his child – it begins in the fertility clinics with their own health, at home with their partners, and providing additional support to their surrogate – and to each other as well. Baden and I both monitor the @notmytummy Instagram and Facebook pages, and we are both engaging with IPs, surrogates, and supporters from around the world. Know that if there is an Intended Father that has a question about fertility, surrogacy, or our journey, I am there to answer it. When men feel empowered to be active participants in surrogacy journeys, we can be much stronger supports for the women in their lives as well.

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