I don’t really know how to talk about the next bit because, without wishing to sound overly dramatic, I don’t know what the legal implications are of writing about my clinic and what they did or didn’t do, without giving them a chance to respond to what I’m saying. And I know I’m anonymous and I know I haven’t named them but I’m still wary. So I’m going to try to use quite broad brushstrokes.
I’d felt that there had been communication issues between us and the clinic for a while. Questions going unanswered, inexplicable delays and a lack of a sense of urgency, me having to request tests that I thought they should have already organised, information not being passed on. But I’d kind of sucked it up because everything up to this point hadn’t really been about me, it had been about our donor. I didn’t feel as if I could force issues because maybe there were other things at play. Maybe the delays were down to the donor (which I was totally fine with). Maybe the lack of information was a privacy issue. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
But this bit was about me now. Now we had frozen embryos that we were preparing to transfer to me, I was the patient and I felt as if I had rights that I hadn’t felt like I’d had before. So after another small incident / oversight / whatever, I sent them an email. I pointed out some of the breakdowns in communication, I pointed out that I really wanted to have faith in the process and feel relaxed about this next bit, I ask what WE collectively could do moving forward. And they emailed back apologising and saying that things were going to be different and that this was going to happen and that that was going to happen and then – and again – I don’t know how much detail I should share on this but…
Long story short, to prep my uterus for the frozen embryo transfer, I was on a variety of drugs including oestrogen. This is exactly the way I’ve been prepped for transfers in the past. I also have all my notes from all of the cycles I’ve done in the past, so I knew how much oestrogen I was on compared to how much I’d been on in the past. The important thing with a cycle like this is that the clinic knows when you ovulate because once you ovulate, there is a limited window within which they can do the transfer. As a result, every clinic I’ve ever been with in the past has insisted I use ovulation sticks, sometimes twice a day, and also checked the levels of my hormones regularly.
This clinic didn’t. This clinic told me the oestrogen I was on would suppress ovulation, even though I told them I’d ovulated in the past on higher doses of oestrogen. I was told that if I ovulated on this cycle, it would not have been an appropriate cycle for a transfer. I thought they were wrong. After all, this isn’t my first rodeo. And while it’s not worked in the past — as in an IVF cycle has never got me pregnant, this is not the bit that hasn’t worked. I was frustrated and upset. It caused arguments between me and B. I felt like I needed him in my corner supporting me. He said he felt like he didn’t know enough to challenge medically-trained professionals. I told him I was only challenging their knowledge with the knowledge of every other medically-trained professional I’d worked with over the last eight years.
So when after a day 11 scan, when they didn’t check my hormone levels, and told me to come back for another scan in a WEEK, I told them that I was going to do ovulation sticks anyway for my peace of mind as I usually – without fail – ovulate on day 12. And when the sticks suggested on day 12 that I was ovulating, I called the clinic and asked if I could have a scan and a blood test. And it was after that that I got a rather panicked call from the doctor who didn’t apologise, but told me that yes, actually, I had ovulated, and that now that we knew this, we had two choices – cancel the cycle, or go ahead and do the transfer.
(I need to point out that, after this happened, B was a) furious with the clinic and b) apologised for not believing me and backing me.)