Monday, June 14, 2010

A rough guide to what's involved.

So this is how I think its supposed to play out...

Firstly I am to go on a progesterone pill to regulate my period (a bit).

Ordinarily the doctor would put me on the regular pill for a month or so in advance of the cycle for the donation just so the medical staff can be a little sure of dates etc. But as always my body is not playing ball and my history of classic migraines means I am at risk of stroke if I take it... hmmm... All news to me, but then I've never been a fan of the pill and only took it for 3 months when I was in my early 20's. It seriously made me feel like poo! Stuffed up my digestive system and I've been suffering ever since. (I'm now 35 btw!)... but then thats another story...

So I am on the drug Provera for about 10 days (starting the 17th, while I'm due to be en route back to the UK from Colorado). Then I have to start taking a hormone suppressant, Synarel, for about 14 days, and I think it starts somewhere along the road from when the Provera starts. Then I will be put onto a course of injections, FSH, Follicle Stimulating Hormone and that will take me right up to the harvest.

At this point I should point out that Synarel is not the only drug used in each case. Very often, Lucrin injections are used instead. Just thought I'd let you know that!

So those drugs and the process might not really explain it too well, so I will now attempt a very rough version of the biology behind it...

Firstly, a women's ovaries ordinarily release a bunch of eggs from both ovaries each month. (I didn't know that. It explains how we manage to go through a million odd eggs in a lifetime.)
This is triggered by a hormone which is released from the pituitary gland which says "Ovaries... release the eggs...!!!" So then the ovaries do so. But naturally as with all things natural, it is survival of the fittest. So another hormone is then released which tells the eggs "ok eggs, you may have been released, but its actually a one egg winner race" and so it becomes a case of natural selection, hence you end up with the strongest egg (in theory I guess?). But with the egg donation process, instead of the second drug being released, the Synarel suppresses that second hormone and all of the eggs which were originally released remain in the game, so to speak.
So then I have a bunch of blood tests and stuff and the nurses keep an eye on my hormone levels etc and they can tell when I have ovulated and when is the right time to start giving me the injections which will stimulate all of the eggs and not just the one. And to keep a proper check on things, the nurses do blood tests and CT scans every couple of days and eventually they give the go ahead, I have one last big injection and then they go in and do the HARVEST.
The harvest part is a short 20min procedure but I am sedated for it and given two local anaesthetic injections into the uteran wall (?I think thats where it goes? Either way that won't be massively pleasant). The HARVESTER is a vibrator looking device (I am told), which has a camera and a needle with a sucker on it?!?! Anyhoo, the harvester goes into the vagina, then the camera locates the egg sacs and the needle goes and sucks them out. The eggs are assessed almost immediately and we know how many good looking eggs we have. (I know, those friends of mine reading this will immediately say, they'll all be good looking if they are from me! Bless you friends!!!)
After that it is up to my friends receiving the eggs to tell me anything more, as once they are removed from my body they become their property. Its a legality thing and the medical staff aren't allowed to tell me anything else.
But the biology behind the next part... the eggs need to be fertilised within the following 18 hours (I think), and that will happen by the sperm of my friends, well the male of the couple anyway. then those eggs are frozen. It is better to get the recipient (my female friend) into a rhythm with her cycle so that it is completely ready for the body to receive the fertilised egg, the embryo.

OK, that was a lot of technical writing from the least biologically savvy chick I know... me!

No comments:

Post a Comment