Here I am in Cape Town again! Back at the Vineyard Hotel and relaxing my ass off.
I’ll just recap for those who aren’t up to date with this cycle (or can’t be bothered reading back over 3 years of my writing)…. this is donor cycle #4 for us. In 2014 after 6 of our own egg cycles including a miscarriage we decided to use donor eggs in South Africa (Cape Town specifically) first cycle was a positive and he had our lovely daughter (she’s now 2). Since then in 2015 I returned for a FET with the remaining 2 embryos from her cycle – 1 didn’t thaw (it was a pre-blastocycst so I’m not sure why it was frozen anyway) and the other 3AB didn’t take. Later in 2015 we used a new donor and I stupidly went for an unproven donor who had never been pregnant herself. From go to woah the cycle was a bit average – 7 eggs, 4 fertilised, 2x3ABs transferred and 2 x 3AB’s frozen. I also found this donor online (it’s supposed to be anonymous) but she put a pretty unique professional role title on her profile so I googled that + “Cape Town” and she came up – and through out our cycle in pretty much every photo she had a beer in her hand. So I asked the clinic for follow up information on how her ongoing cycles had gone for other couples (hey it could just have been me!) and the results weren’t good, out of two more cycles she did no one got pregnant. She herself also stated she was in a long term relationship not using protection and had never been pregnant. So I totally went off the idea of going back for those embryos. I was ruthless in my search for a new donor (my daughter’s donor agreed to donate again and then got pregnant herself in the interim) only someone who had donated before, had good numbers and resulting pregnancies for recipients, and I found someone who fit the bill, she also sounded nice.
During my daughter’s cycle my husband left and extra sperm sample over here – “I’ve got jizz all over the world!” so we are using that sample and I’m over here solo cutting down travel time to a pretty minimal time frame of 5 days in Cape Town for a fresh cycle when they generally like you here for 12 days.
Pros of this approach:
- I’m not paying for another 7 nights accommodation, meals etc.
- If for some reason there’s an issue with fertilisation or egg collection I still have time to cancel flights / accommodation re-assess – when you’re over here and things go pearshaped the stress is enormous
Cons of this approach
- You feel even more detached than normal to your cycle.
- You’re paying for extra scans etc. in your home country and get no discount from the SA clinic for not doing scans with them
I have to say it’s been a pretty good cycle so far aside from one point – and if the clinic happen to trawl the internet for information on themselves then please take this feedback on board.
My doctor was on leave while my donor was stimming and another doctor was filling in for him. So maybe let your patients know that you’re not going to be there for part of the cycle (same went for my nurse/coordinator she was off on leave during my cycle and I had no clue this was happening) to get right in the thick of things for a cycle and to send an email and get a bounce back from your doctor and then your nurse saying you’re both on holiday is pretty annoying.
But hey I can deal with that, my doctor would be back for my transfer day. I’m then assured by the filling doctor that I’ll get an update on how egg collection went on the day (my night) I wait up all night for an email, I don’t want to be rude or pushy even though my now unmedicated anxiety is going into overdrive, so I wait and wait until 4pm Cape Town time and send an email query if it went ok, or even if it went ahead because at this point I have no freaking idea and I’m leaving in 24 hours. No email comes in so I’m in a panic, was it bad news? Did she not turn up? Did she not trigger correctly? Who the fuck knows? Not me that’s for sure, I’m just the chump at the other end paying the money!
I was livid at this fill in doctor that no update came through as promised on the day of egg collection. I mean, let’s face it, it’s just one of the biggest parts of how a cycle pans out. Egg collection/fertilisation (which I also requested an email outlining so I could know what I was dealing with on the flight over) and pregnancy test… the Big 3 of any IVF cycle. And fuck you very much fill in doctor you failed one of the big 3. So it’s Saturday and I email the donor agency I used to see if at least it went ahead, she confirmed thankfully that it did so that I could take comfort that the cycle was still going ahead. So I wait until the next day and call the lab directly for results of how egg collection went.
So far this has been our best cycle yet – 20 eggs collected, yes 20! 19 fertilised normally, yes 19! I’ve never had a cycle like this ever – and you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, gotta make it to day 3 and see the impact of the sperm… day 3 is generally where you’ll see a bit of a drop off in numbers if the sperms a bit iffy. That day was yesterday and not only were 19 still where they needed to be, the 20th rallied and is back in the game. 20 freaking embryos…
So I am bumming around Cape Town waiting for my transfer tomorrow – wallowing in ‘me time’ as only someone with a 2 year old can. I’ve had my hair coloured, a foot massage, manicure, been waxed, having a pedi and massage later today and all systems are go for a day 5 transfer on Wed lunch time (thankfully with my own Doctor) and be peeing on sticks by Thursday night (hey at least I’m honest – although I did limit myself to 2 when packing as testing at 3dp5dt is pretty pointless as we all know…right? Right?