Elizabeth is a woman of 32 years of age who had been diagnosed with PCOS by her endocrinologist earlier at 27 years. I first met her and husband Peter about 12 months ago after they had been trying to get pregnant for the 18 months prior with no success.
Elizabeth has the typical PCOS picture… of very infrequent menstrual cycles and complained of other signs of PCOS such as acne and some hair loss. Blood tests checking for diabetes had diagnosed Insulin Resistance and she was started on the tablet called Metformin (see article on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Treatment and Metformin).
All other fertility tests including checking the fallopian tubes and Peter’s semen test came back as normal.
So after much discussion together, the plan was to start with simple treatment first. Elizabeth saw a dietician to help her lose weight and during this 3 month period, tried 3 treatment cycles of Clomid. (see Getting Pregnant With Clomid)
I was monitoring her cycles to check for ovulation and despite increasing her dose of the fertility tablet Clomid and to everyone’s disappointment, we were not successful in helping her eggs to ovulate.
This scenario can occur in 20 % of women taking Clomid so if you are on this fertility tablet make sure your doctor is monitoring you…
… Occasionally women are given these tablets and then sent out into the ‘ether’ to hopefully conceive and this is not ideal care.
Elizabeth then started a second but new round of fertility treatment using FSH injections to help her to ovulate. When Clomid is unsuccessful, the next fertility treatment for PCOS women to step up to is ovulation induction with FSH injections (see Getting Pregnant With PCOS: Ovulation Induction).
She had 2 treatment cycles of FSH injections and both times her ovaries responded too well with 6 to 8 eggs growing and potentially ovulating. The last thing we wanted was to make Elizabeth into the ‘Octuplet mum’ if 8 eggs had fertilized (it’s about having a single healthy pregnancy, and a happy and healthy mum) and so the treatment had to be cancelled.
I don’t know if this has happened to you at all but you can imagine the frustration of going through all of this and still not getting pregnant!
I remember Elizabeth saying “she felt like she had been to a workout boot-camp and back”
When the above fertility treatment fails like this, the next option is IVF – Invitro Fertilization. (see Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) – Fertility Treatment For Women With PCOS). And this is what her and Peter will be embarking on soon.
The above sounds like a long and drawn out process, but Elizabeth’s PCOS story demonstrates that sometimes it not always easy to conceive even with expert help.
Sometimes couples do choose to go straight to IVF treatment rather than the simpler options, as it offers higher pregnancy success rates and this maybe how you are feeling as well.
If you are not sure then discuss all options with your fertility specialist
Wishing you all the best