Do you know what happens on Day Three when undergoing a fertility treatment? After being directed by her doctor to undergo cycle monitoring, Karen Fuss discusses the importance of this special day as part of the process of having a baby on her own.
As I am discovering, getting pregnant at my age and on my own is coming down to a matter of science, drugs and timing. There will be no fun or romance on the path that I am taking. In fact, the only thing that I will get intimate with is my menstrual cycle—clearly not very sexy or stimulating.
I never paid much attention to my period. It is an annoying thing that I had to deal with like every other female. On the birth control pill it was easy to predict; it was down to the hour for me. But once I went off the pill, I was regular but still didn’t pay attention to the days. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it didn’t even register that a woman’s menstrual cycle is really 28 days and not once a month like we all say and perhaps think (you would have thought that the 28 pills in my birth control package would have clued me in).
But all of that was about to change: my new life is cycle monitoring and I have a new calendar that I must follow—it’s called my 28 day menstrual cycle.
It Starts on Day One But it Really Happens On Day Three
As any woman who is undergoing fertility treatment knows, Day Three becomes one of the most important and anticipated days of your cycle on your new calendar (but clearly you have to get Day One correct!). It is the day that you begin your fertility treatment and medications. It is also this day that you make your first trip to the fertility clinic. At this visit, they take an ultrasound and blood test. The results of these tests will become the baseline for this cycle round. It is essentially the starting point to determine:
- How many eggs you produced that month in both ovaries
- What your FSH level is, an indicator of the quality of your eggs
These two factors are highly correlated with your chance of having success. The higher the number of eggs and the lower your FSH level, the greater your probability to conceive.
Day Three Comparisons Between Women
Let me give you a comparison on what these Day Three results would look like. A healthy twenty-something-year-old would have on average 15-20 eggs per ovary (yes a total of 30-40 eggs) and an FSH level at 5 or less. On the other hand, a healthy 43-year-old like me would have an average of 6 or 7 eggs in total and an FSH level between 12-15. So I think that you can clearly understand how the math works and why statistically it is difficult for an older woman to get pregnant. And I believe that you will also now appreciate why older women need help regardless of their health and how good they may look on the outside or even feel on the inside.
Statistically, the probability of a woman in her early 40’s conceiving naturally is about 5%. And each year over 40, the numbers get worse. So it is the fertility specialist’s job to determine the right combination of fertility treatments to boost those numbers by giving you medication to stimulate egg production. The more eggs you have, the better the odds. It is also the doctor’s job, with the cocktail of drugs that they prescribe, to positively affect the quality of those eggs (i.e. improve the FSH by lowering the number) to improve the odds once again. In other words, think of these drugs as a way to temporarily trick the body to thinking that it is young again.
Why Day Three is So Important When Undergoing Fertility Treatment
So you see when Day Three comes along, it is a highly anticipated and anxious day. It is the start of the possibility of conceiving. It is the day that you begin your fertility treatments and find out your starting point. Will my numbers be good this month? It is the day that you begin to ingest drugs that you have no idea what the possible effects could be physically or emotionally. It is the day that you think, ‘I am going to get pregnant this month’.
It is the day that you begin to hope.
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What do you think of Karen’s experience so far? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.