Saturday, March 18, 2006


The appointment was indeed about two hours long, but was not, as I had expected, two hours with a consultant. We were welcomed in to a very nice calm waiting area (although we were assured it was normally very much busier than when we saw it) and soon called over to see one of the nurses.

She took us through the procedures. We're lined up to go through the "21-day long protocol" which starts with a blood test on Mrs T's "Day 2", then moves through a series of daily injections from "Day 21" onwards to first suppress the ovaries for a while then to stimulate them. Several blood tests are taken during this period and, when the results are right, we'd go in for her eggs to be collected and for me to supply a fresh sample. The two samples are then placed together in a laboratory to do their thing while we go home for a day's rest. The following day we go back in for up to two embryos to be placed back into Mrs T's womb. There then follows the anxious wait to see whether they successfully implant themselves and settle in for a pregnancy.

She went through things in some detail (although I now realise I'm still a bit sketchy on some of the details) and gave us a supply of syringes and swabs - and me a lesson in how to administer an injection (something I've never done).

What we hadn't realised is that we're actually booked in to start this for the April/May cycle. (Which, as Mrs T is on about day 26 would mean the first blood test later this month.) The nurse could tell this was all pretty daunting for us and suggested we'd be able to speak to one of the unit's counsellors while we were there. We said we'd like to if possible. (It's complulsory under UK law for all IVF clinics to have a free counselling service avavilable.) She also suggested - after Mrs T asked - that it might be possible to postpone our treatment to August-September, although we would need to check with the NHS funding co-ordinator.

The next part of the appointment was with a doctor. After filling her bladder, Mrs T and I went into one of their consultation rooms where Mrs T was examined to check the poistion/shape/alignment of her cervix to confirm that placing the embryos would be straightforward. All seems okay. There was some confusion at that point as to whether she should also have been having an ultra-sound scan, but she didn't end up having one done. (Although she will need to before we start anything so I don't know why they didn't do it there and then.) We were also expecting that I'd have to give a sample while we were there but they didn't ask for that either. The doctor also picked up on our anxiety (Mrs T was quite tearful at several points during the afternoon) and sat down and asked us if we were ready for all this. We explained that we had some reservations, and he was very reassuring and sympathetic.

Finally, we did have the chance to speak to one of their counsellors. (Luckily, as you normally need an appointment.) Jackie was excellent. She could only give us ten minutes (although I'm sure it spread to more like 20) but let us talk things through a bit and pretty well encouraged us to postpone things if we can. As Mrs T said, she doesn't feel emotionally strong enough to put herself through this at the moment and feels that she needs more time to prepare. She's recently bereaved and still grieving for her Dad; work is very stressful at the moment; and she's also not convinced her body's really had long enough to recover from last summer's trauma.

If we can put the whole thing off until next year I think Mrs T will be happiest. Failing that, moving it on until later this year - and arranging for her to take some time off work - would suit us pretty well. We need to phone and speak to the funding people on Monday to check what's possible.

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