Once I joined the waiting list in May 2014, all I had to do for a very long time was save money, try to maintain a healthy weight (the goal was a BMI of about 22), cut back on and then quit alcohol, and cut back caffeine consumption (luckily I don’t drink coffee, so it was just coke zero and tea – I quit coke zero cold turkey, and cut back to one tea a day). Exercise was also important – I increased the number of days I walked instead of drove to work.
The other goal was to do as much reading as I could – not so much about pregnancy and child rearing (although they were also of great interest), but mainly on increasing fertility and finding out statistics that were relevant to my situation, as a single woman with donor sperm, having no known fertility issues. Most statistics from fertility clinics seem to include data from people with fertility issues (this does make sense, as most of their patients fall under that category), but it is hard to find data relevant to people like me. The closest I could find was that I had an 18-20% chance of conception per cycle. This seems low, but several sources also stated as low as 8% – however, I believe those sources included people with fertility issues.
I did a second AMH test, and the result was still high, although a little lower than last time (21.6 instead of 26.2 pmol/L. Both above the 50th percentile for my age).
I knew that my first few cycles would be IUI only, as I am under 40 and generally healthy with a high ovarian reserve for my age. IUI costs $2360 per cycle, without meds (which I am fairly certain I would not be receiving these first cycles).
Then I would likely move on to IUI with Clomid, an ovulation-stimulating drug, costing another $500 or so per cycle.
Then, if that didn’t work either, I would move on to IVF, which (with donor sperm) would cost $12,500-15,000 or so each egg harvest, with another $1500 or so per frozen embryo from that harvest attempted in later cycles.
As pregnancy is a numbers game, I was aware it was unlikely I would fall pregnant first try, so I had to start seriously saving money. Thus, this was the major concern for the months following my signing up to the waiting list.
I started taking folic acid in June 2015, on my GP’s recommendation.
The waiting was supposed to be over on November 8th, 2015 (exactly 18 months after joining). I rang several times over the next year, and each time was told it was fairly stable. Then I rang in October 2015, and they told me that the list was slowing down – there had been a sperm shortage recently (and there were NO unrestricted donor sperm available), and there were still 35-40 people ahead of me. At that time, they thought the new year was more likely than November, as the clinic is closed during December for beginning clients.
This was not quite devastating to me, but came close. I had waited so long, and now I had to wait another 3 months!
I rang in the new year, and the list hadn’t moved much at all in that time. However, when I rang in February, the donor coordinator told me that I was number 13 on the list, as there had been several dropouts in the new year. Her new estimate was May, though. Two years after joining the list.
I rang again in March, and was told that FINALLY I could start the process – book in for a follow-up with the doctor and the counsellor, and book in with the donor coordinator to actually choose my donor!