Demographics: I am a 33-year-old married woman.
Wish: I am a 33-year-old married woman who would like to be a mother.
Dilemma: I am a 33-year-old married woman who would like to be a mother, and who has been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (POF) – otherwise known as premature menopause.
I’m starting this blog for several reasons:
- About 12% of women in the U.S. have trouble getting/staying pregnant (CDC.gov). About 1% of women are infertile due to a diagnosis of POF, which is premature depletion of ovarian follicles before age 40. About 1% of THOSE women develop POF before age 30 (Beck-Puccoz & Persani, 2006). Therefore, I am part of only 0.01% of women, and I don’t know anyone like me except for my sister – who is of the 0.001% of women who develop POF before age 20! And my sister did not want to have children, so… Maybe, if people read this, someone out there will reach out, and I can get to know an even more kindred spirit. And vice versa.
- I’ve described my demographics, wish, and dilemma – but I want to use this platform to focus on my potential solution. There are a variety of potential solutions for individuals like me. The one I have chosen to pursue is in-vitro fertilization using donor eggs (DE IVF) and my husband’s sperm.
- I’ve already done two cycles of DE IVF, neither of which resulted in pregnancies, and I’d like to document the process I’ve gone through up until this point, including the processes and story of my diagnosis and my decision to pursue this option.
- I’m currently just beginning my third cycle and would like to document these experiences in real time!
- I’m a professor. It’s nice to have a story blog and all, but I am a person who obsessively researches things. I’m trying to be a little less obsessive this time, because whenever I have a thought or question about this process, I scour the internet for answers. Especially after some failed cycles, believe me, you’ll look for ANY answers or solutions! There is a lot of info in popular press articles, message boards, other blogs, etc – and if you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised by the number of peer-reviewed articles I’ve pored over trying to determine what’s bunk, what’s possible, what’s probable, and what’s still unknown. Wherever possible, I’d like to weave in the knowledge I’ve gained from going back to the original sources. Not that I’m necessarily going to look them all up again, but I’ll try. Hey, this isn’t a peer reviewed blog. So, trust me – I’m a doctor. Well, I’m a type of doctor. It’ll have to do.
- Oh yeah, I’m also a psychologist. Therefore, I’m also gonna talk about how I’ve dealt with all of this. My diagnosis was confirmed when I was 31 (although it had been progressing for years). There was a study where the researchers asked 727 individuals, age 18-31, to rate how stressful they considered the discovery of infertility to be. They rated it, on average, only slightly MORE stressful than surviving a natural disaster (Hobson et al, 1998). Now, granted, I haven’t survived a natural disaster (….nor have I died in one), but I feel like infertility probably hasn’t been THAT level of stressful for me. So, maybe I’ve got some coping strategies that are working? May as well suggest them.
- I am exceedingly long-winded and want to make a concerted, though likely ineffective effort, not to annoy everyone on my infertility message board with my gigantic blocks of text (via RESOLVE – The National Infertility Organization)
And why is this called Frankenbaby Blog? Because I am trying to make one baby out of three different people. Our friend Wikipedia describes “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” as “the story of a young science student Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment” (Wiki Walk!). Now, I’m not saying my potential kid is going to be grotesque. But, you know. Definitely a sentient creature, sort of an unorthodox science experiment. And unorthodox science experiments are the most thrilling, interesting kind!
Beck-Peccoz, P. & Persani, L. (2006). Premature ovarian failure. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 1, doi:10.1186/1750-1172-1-9.
Hobson, C.J., Kamen, J., Szostek, J., Nethercut, C.M., Tiedmann, J.W. & Wojnarowicz, S. (1998). Stressful life events: A revision and update of the social readjustment rating scale. International Journal of Stress Management, 5(1), doi:1072-5245/98/0100-0001$15.00/0