Friday, April 25, 2008

The mock cycle

The mock cycle is the part of the surrogacy process that I personally think is the dumbest, most annoying thing on the planet. Even more annoying than Jim Carey, and that’s saying something.

Basically, both the surrogate and the IM take all the meds, shots, pills, patches, etc, and have all the blood tests and ultrasounds done, as if they were doing a *real* cycle. Hormone levels are monitored, egg quality and quantity are closely watched, uterine lining is measured, etc, just like the real deal. Then, a day or two before an egg retrieval would normally take place, the RE will evaluate everyone’s responses, and say, “OK …. Whew! Looks like we’re good to go for the real thing!” Then, you both stop all your meds, get your periods (hey, there’s some female bonding, isn’t there???) give the IM’s ovaries a month to rest, and then basically start all over again … for “realsies” this time.

I mean, what’s UP with that? It’s like running a PRACTICE Boston Marathon, and stopping one foot short of the finish line, just to see if you can do it. Or swimming the English Channel, but climbing in the rescue rowboat twenty yards shy of the shore. Or climbing Mount Everest, but heading back down before you reach …. Yeah, yeah, ok, you get my point. If you’re going to go to the trouble and hassle and expense of a pretend cycle, just flipping DO IT already!!!

But despite seeming dumb and annoying to impatient people like me, the mock cycle does serve a purpose. At least that’s what the doctors say. In the event either the surrogate or the IM does NOT respond typically to the ovulatory stimulation drugs, or the ovulatory suppressant drugs, or the uterine lining drugs, or the blah-blee-bloo-blah-blee drugs, then the cycle can be stopped before doing any sort of transfer that is doomed to fail. Then, the drugs can be tweaked for optimal success the next time, if need be. I guess *in theory* I understand it, but my question is if everything looks good during the mock, why can’t they just go ahead with the transfer? It’s like they’re WASTING time and money and EGGS, for goodness sake!! But, since I’m not willing to attend 37 years of medical school to understand this, I just take the doctor’s word that sometimes, it’s simply necessary.

After my IM and I both passed our screenings, we underwent our mock cycle. My IM produced an appropriate number of follicles and eggs with no problem … she was 39, so was a little bit worried about quality due to her age and that pesky biological clock, but things looked great.

For me, at the end of the mock, I had to fly back to Maryland so the doctor could measure my lining for himself (Oh, hello! You are becoming quite familiar with my bagina, are you not?) which thankfully looked fine as well. So, plans were begun in earnest for the real thing; we were both put back on birth control, and eagerly awaited the calendars we would each be given for the transfer, detailing the tentative (again, always with the tentative) dates for all the meds and blood draws and ultrasounds we would have done in the month leading up to the big day. The day where we were gonna make a baby, man, a BABY!


Anonymous said...

Gotta say, I had NO idea this whole process was so complicated! I figured you just went in, had some kind of cursory exam and tests, the eggs were removed and fertilized and popped into the surrogate, and you were good to go if all went well. Thought the whole thing might take a couple months, tops. Boy, I had no idea! This is really enlightening--you're definitely a stronger person than me!


Grandma J said...

Tedious at best. To think you've done this more than once is amazing.


Wow this is intense! I had no idea of all that's involved! Such a commitment of body and mind. You must have to "remove yourself" a bit mentally from the situation to cope in your everyday life? I mean after all you still had young kids at home? How did that all fit in?


PS While I wait for your next post you can find me over in the corner being juvenile laughing at the word bagina. Again.