I am a 34 year woman in a same sex marriage and we've been TTC since December. My insurance only covers interventions after 6 attempts and each attempt only is counted as valid by insurance if it's done in the clinic by a doctor, which means it has to use sperm purchased from an FDA compliant sperm bank (read: $$$). We're very lucky to live near the largest LGBT health center in the world and have access to a great AI clinic there. We initially purchased 4 vials of sperm from our first choice of donor in December for about $4k, and proceeded with unmedicated, unmonitored IUIs. I tend to ovulate CD10-12 and my acupuncturist was certain this was the problem. This cycle I ovulated on CD10 and was successful!
After 4 unsuccessful rounds (trying acupunture, maca, red raspberry, pineapple, etc) we couldn't bring ourselves to spend more on frozen donor semen when the success rate is so low. At that point we switched to home inseminations with a known donor which was an intense and well-researched decision made only after talking with several attorneys, doctors, and parents who used known donors, not to mention soul searching. At this point I also saw an RE and had an initial screen - everything came back normal. After our first unsuccessful cycle with the known donor, she started me in crinone and letrozole (femara) although it was too late to start femara for the second known-donor cycle. Three cycles of home inseminations were unsuccessful and we realized that since I am an assistant principal, we should get back to IUIs so that we could qualify for IVF and then do egg retrieval during summer vacation rather than in the chaos of my September back-to-school schedule. SO...we moved on to a MUCH cheaper sperm bank and purchased the last two vials of a donor who seemed fine but who we did MUCH, MUCH less reading about than we had done before (we drove ourselves insane over the decision at first and this time truly just went with our gut).
It truly could not have been a more awkward timeline: Our IUI was 90 minutes after my school ended for the summer, and it is next to Fenway Park where there was a game that day, so traffic was insane and parking was impossible. I took an uber from my school to the clinic and of course, a parent of one of my students was my driver, and she couldn't understand why I wasn't going out to celebrate the end of the year with my colleagues. I made up a story about squeezing in a dr appt before a trip, etc. 48 hours after the IUI was our wedding reception (we eloped a while ago but held a party for our families) for which our primary vendor no-showed making us find table rentals 4 hours before the party, and about 24 hours after the IUI SCOTUS validated marriage equality nationally. Needless to say it was stressful, emotional, and overall a wild ride for about 72 hours afterward. This was our first cycle after giving up on acupuncture, stopping a lot of the herbs and supplements, and generally not abiding by most of the TTC "shoulds" and recommendations. 6DPO/IUI we left for our honeymoon in Italy...the rest I'll explain daily:
CD3-7 Took 2.5 mg Letrozole
0DPO - IUI was stressful, we had family arriving in the evening and were short on time, the doctor was running an hour late, etc. She recommended using a heating pad on my abdomen before the procedure "to get things going" - this had never been recommended before but we thought "why not?" and did it. After the IUI I had intense cramping - I'd never had even the slightest cramping before and this was really strong and painful. We got stuck in Red Sox traffic after and barely made it home in time to greet the family that was arriving.
1DPO - Temp increased to my coverline, so symptoms. SCOTUS ruling came that afternoon, we had a lot to celebrate, including that my partner won't have to adopt our own child now!
2DPO - Wedding reception day, vendor no showed, extremely stressful, no symptoms, temp up higher, started crinone. Pulled something in my hip while dancing, hard to walk by the end of the night
3DPO - Temp up higher again, had intense O pain. Hip pain from the night before is excruciating, stairs are almost impossible. I have a history of lower back problems and it's often bad during PMS but this was strange, and much earlier than normal.
4DPO - No show vendor says she'll only refund 25% of our money, high stress day. Temp back down closer to cover line, I assume the stress has made this cycle an obvious failure.
5DPO - Temp back up again, a little broken out, no major symptoms. Had a very stiff neck.