I am SO excited about today's post! Over the last few months we have had quite a few questions come in about participating in an IVF Clinical Trial and today I am spilling all of the beans about what that was like! (The Clinical Trial portion of our IVF Cycle is over! But no results to share yet -- still waiting… welcome to the world of infertility where you just wait and wait and wait) I'm going to answer a few of the questions we got repeatedly in a Q&A form and then also talk a little bit about my experience and overall feelings about the Clinical Trial.
Q: How did you find out about the Clinical Trial?
A: So I have two parts to this answer that I think are important. A) I actually researched a LOT of clinical trials earlier but we didn't qualify for any of them, but I tried to look them up every couple of weeks/months to stay on top of any that were opening that we might qualify for. B) THAT SAID, we also told our clinic that we were interested in participating in any clinical trials or studies they might have and they reached out to us when we looked like we might be a good fit and qualify for!
Q: Was your Clinical Trial free?
A: No, it was not. The Clinical Trial Sponsor covered MOST of the costs (the medications and the procedures we would need) but we had to pay up front for doctor fees. So it was very, very discounted but we still had to pay for it.
Q: What was different about your Clinical Trial and regular IVF?
A: I had more appointments, ultrasounds and blood draws than a typical IVF cycle. We also had a few clinical trial protocols we had to follow, like we weren't able to know how many follicles (if any) were growing. They did part regular IVF and part ICSI for fertilization. If we had under 20 eggs retrieved we would do a Fresh Embryo Transfer; but if we had over 20 eggs retrieved, we would HAVE to do a Frozen Embryo Transfer (We have to do a Frozen Embryo Transfer). We were only allowed to transfer one embryo. We were NOT allowed to do any genetic testing on our embryo.
With a typical IVF cycle, a lot of these protocols we had to follow are decisions that are made between you, your partner with recommendations from your doctor.
RELATED: IVF Process
Q: What would you have done if you didn't get accepted into the Clinical Trial?
A: We feel SO LUCKY and blessed to have been able to participate in the Clinical Trial. However, if we didn't qualify (which we almost didn't because I had to redo one of the tests because my blood work came back and it was not in the qualifying range), we would have had to wait to do IVF because we simply could not afford it at full-price at the beginning of the year. But we were already saving for IVF and had a little put away and then we were able to fundraise the rest of the amount we needed.
RELATED: How to Pay for IVF
I actually had a really positive experience with the Clinical Trial. There were moments where I felt like I lived at the clinic, but the staff of our fertility clinic is incredible and made that week (I had a full week of hour-long appointments) so much more bearable! Some people have asked me how I felt about not knowing how many follicles we had growing. I surprisingly really liked that. I didn't think about it as much because I couldn't know, so I just focused my energy elsewhere. I was actually surprisingly calm through that unknown, which was very helpful because usually treatments stress me out to the MAX. I also liked the fact that quite a few decisions were made for me-- the transfer of a single embryo, no genetic testing, fresh transfer vs. frozen transfer. It just made the process so much less stressful because I didn't have to make a billion decisions. That said, in the future, we are excited for the opportunity to make those decisions ourselves.