So early last week Berilac and I were under the impression that our infertility issues (our two miscarriages) were due to “bad luck” as that is what the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE, aka fertility specialist) told us after reviewing the recurrent pregnancy loss panel of tests we recently took. The only thing the RE was concerned about was the mention of my mother going through menopause at age 36 (which she believes was due to an infection, not true early menopause). I asked the RE about the potential for my mother to have gone through early menopause due to an infection and she indicated that that was nearly impossible. So the RE tested me for signs of early menopause.
On Friday morning my tests came back … and we failed. For women, there is a hormone (FSH) that the brain releases to tell the body to release an egg each month. If that number is high it points to a low quantity of eggs and/or poor quality eggs … also known as menopause. Well, my number was high. It was 11.7. My RE emailed me and told me that my FSH is high for my age and that she recommends that we “get aggressive” about our conception efforts. I was shocked … last week our issues were due to flukes and this week our issues are due to pre-early menopause. HEADING INTO MENOPAUSE?? … I’M 30 YEARS OLD!!!
Of course I immediately started researching high FSH. This is what I’ve learned:
-Women who are faced with high FSH usually have trouble releasing eggs (ovulating) on their own and thus have trouble getting pregnant.
-The FSH values are so high b/c the brain is desperately telling the body to release an egg! (thus the closer the woman is to menopause the higher the FSH level. The harder it is to release eggs [cuz there aren’t any] the harder the brain works to get one released by upping the FSH hormone level)
-RE’s usually recommend IVF for these women b/c IVF is the most aggressive process an RE can pursue to assist in pregnancy.
-In the IVF process there is a step where hormone drugs are used to help women release more eggs … the problem is that these women who have high FSH are already secreting a high level of this type of drug [their high FSH!!] and thus the women’s bodies don’t respond and they don’t release an egg, or they release very few.
-so when conducted on women with high FSH the IVF process has a higher failure rate.
Given the above information, perhaps you can understand how the RE’s view FSH levels:
-An FSH level below 8 is normal.
-An FSH level between 8-10 is concerning.
-An FSH level between 10-12 shows diminishing egg reserve
-An FSH level above 12 and most RE’s tell you your options are: finding an egg donor or adoption. (There are RE’s out there who will help women who have FSH levels in the teens who intermittently drop to a level below 12 … on the months that those women drop below 12, the RE will do IVF on those women.)
So here I sit .3 points below “your options are donor egg or adoption” … Now I need to get my FSH level tested each month to determine if my 11.7 was a high number for me or a low number for me (I guess it varies each month). But the idea is that you are labeled as your worst number – so I’m not excited about finding an even higher FSH number in the months to come!
The mystery for us is that I do ovulate, hence my getting pregnant twice. So that would point to my issue being a low quality egg, not necessarily a low quantity of eggs. But my age would point toward an ok quality of egg … so what’s that all about?
Now I ask for your prayers. I know God is bigger than all this and completely in control. I’m so grateful I’m not already in menopause. I’m so grateful that my body did get pregnant (easily!) twice on its own. But I am feeling a bit deflated. I know that our God is bigger that my FSH test results and I know that God is in control. But I’m just shocked and dumbfounded at these test results and I’m a little discouraged with how the medical field views our conceiving future.
Please pray for peace and comfort for us in this time. Please pray that we can see God in this experience. Please pray that my body will heal (by way of a still swollen gland). Please pray that my body will safely and effectively respond to my thyroid medication (as our RE will not see us until that is under control). Please pray for wisdom for us in knowing how to proceed. Please pray that we will be blessed with many happy, healthy, children.
Done, and Yet, Not Done
6 months ago