“MS Has Aged Your Eggs” (#1)
October 9, 2018 3 CommentsCategory: IVF Journey, Motherhood, My Story
Tags: IVF, In-vitro fertilization, Infertility, MS, MS and infertility, Mulitple sclerosis
I will never forget sitting across from my fertility doctor, with Bill by my side, as he delivered news that seemed much like a scene out of a romantic comedy movie gone terribly wrong: “MS has aged your eggs,” he said.
We both sat there staring at him in disbelief. “What?! How could that possibly be?” we asked.
“The progression of your MS has deteriorated the quality of your eggs, which is common with severe autoimmune diseases,” he continued.
Fast forward an hour and our conversation concluded with me asking one final question, “If I were your family, your loved one, and desperately wanted another baby, what would you recommend?”
He responded, “IVF, without a doubt. And sooner rather than later.”
Well, there you have it.
Just like that, our fertility journey had kicked into overdrive. Neither of us knew what lay ahead in the months to come, but we knew we had to act.Okay, so let me take you back…
After months of trying to conceive with no luck, we decided it was time to meet with a reproductive specialist. We wanted to figure out what, if anything, was going wrong and more importantly, how we could address it to achieve the family of 4 we always wanted. I was also trying to coordinate my MS infusions around my period, which was insanely tricky given my body’s lack of predictability and the strict restrictions of when my body was capable of accepting Tysabri, my monthly MS medication.
Needless to say, the whole thing was complicated. As someone who prides themselves on their ability to coordinate timelines and multi-task to the highest degree, I was seriously struggling to manage the two together.
But now, months later, I write this in a period of unknown. A period of lack of control and unpredictability. The same place I found myself in nearly 3 years ago when given my MS diagnosis and asking myself the same questions that daunted me then: “Will I be able to get through this? How am I going to tackle this?” And most importantly:
“Why didn’t anyone tell me that MS could severely affect our ability to conceive?!”
As someone who was diagnosed at 29 years old – AKA prime baby time – it should have been crystal clear that my ovaries were on a ticking timer. The longer I waited, the harder it would be to get good quality eggs. Time was of the essence and I had NO idea. I would’ve done things differently; we would’ve tried sooner. Perhaps I would’ve had my eggs frozen years ago. I don’t know…but I do know I would’ve thought through options and made an educated decision. But instead, we are left scrambling with this unexpected news years later.
This is why I’m opening up about this painful journey. It shouldn’t have happened like this. I should’ve known that MS – like any severe autoimmune disease – can diminish the quality of your eggs and make it harder to have a baby or keep a pregnancy. Of course, it’s certainly possible to conceive naturally (we did with Chloe, and many others with MS do), but it can play a big role in your egg quality.
Anyway, back to our plan…
The pragmatics of infertility – or perhaps most medical issues – seem relatively straightforward. There is a path you go down, medications you take, doctors you see, “rules” you follow, and you hope for the best results. But like MS, there are no guarantees. There are no promised results. You will not necessarily get a baby no matter how hard you try, how well you follow the regime, or how much you just want it.
As someone who’s logical and guided by facts and not my emotions, that is a tough pill to swallow. Yet again, I’m faced with a path to go down with no clear future ahead. All this work, time, money, and you could be left with nothing.
But as I learned with MS and am reminded of now, what choice do we have? We have to move forward. We have to rise above the odds – the stats and stories – and just focus on the goal at hand… Right?
That’s what we aim to do…
I know that is what we are going to do…
But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.
Stay tuned for follow-up posts each week. Since writing is an outlet for me, I’ve tracked my fertility journey through this difficult period in the posts written here. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, these blogs are not being posted in real-time. However, I wanted to share this experience and my continued journey with MS for others who may be struggling or are in a similar position. This problem is relatable for many and something that needs to be vocalized. I know how helpful it can be to learn and hear from others.
Note: I am not a medical professional nor offering medical advice. I am only documenting my opinions and feelings and would suggest you reach out to your own physician for medical guidance.