When we claim that thirties are the new twenties in terms of settling down, having kids, etc, we seldom remember that our biological clock is ticking away. I too found myself in a similar situation when my husband and I planned to have a child soon after getting married at 33. Through this blog, I would like to share my long story short hoping that you will find your way out if you are grappling with fertility issues.
After several failed IUIs and IVF, I can fully understand the depths of despair one goes through in this journey and the moments of blind optimism.
At the age of 38, I have now delivered a healthy girl baby and I would like you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there!
First attempt – Lack of direction
When we got married, we knew that it is already a late start, so without any delay, we met a gynecologist who initially prescribed us folic acid and made us run a few tests. Except for low AMH, all other parameters were within the acceptable range for us. So, naturally we were hopeful about conceiving at the earliest but that did not happen.
Within a year after marriage, we moved from Chennai (Tamilnadu) to Trivandrum (Kerala) for better prospects.
My close friend, who is a gynaecologist living in Dubai recommended a hospital in Trivandrum where we did three rounds of IUIs with no success. But, the doctors there did not discuss any future strategy or way forward and only asked us to return the next month. We couldn’t not appreciate this approach.
Another fact was that, I dreaded the hideous speculum. So, I was more than willing to stop the IUI procedures and started looking for hospitals with good success rate.
Second attempt – Misdirection
We found a fertility hospital nearby that had good reviews and comments online. We fixed an appointment at the earliest and met up with the senior doctor. She did not flinch for a moment to immediately recommend IVF. The reason being “anything else would be just waste of time, considering my age….” This bait worked for an already paranoid couple like us. Although, we asked for general opinion on this hospital and doctor locally, we got only positive feedback. And, we made up our mind and money to go for it. The whole process was pretty expensive (around Rs 2.5 lakhs in 2014) which also included another procedure, “hysteroscopy.”
My actual journey starts here when I was 10 -15 kgs overweight, with unexplained infertility and hypothyroidism.
To our dismay, the doctor rushed us through the procedure without ensuring certain critical parameters were within the range before the procedure. For example, my thyroid levels had increased during the course of medication to 7 mcg. Also, the Estradiol levels were not with in the expected range. We were mad at this oversight but still went ahead as the money paid was not refundable. We were then informed that the egg quality was poor. Needless to say, the first attempt failed.
When we met the doctor again for review, she strongly recommended us to consider donor eggs, which was clearly not acceptable because only a couple of weeks ago we were told that she expected a successful outcome. The doctor then prescribed a multivitamin to improve the egg quality. Why was it not given earlier to improve our chances?
My intent behind elaborating on the failed attempts is only to make you guys aware that not all doctors recommend in our best interest. Mostly, it is about the money and certain doctors try to increase their ‘success’ rate without really trying out the preliminary options. IVF and similar procedures have indeed helped several couples, but should it really be marketed as the only option? Please research adequately about the doctor, the clinic, and the procedure. Know your finances, ask all your questions to the doctors, and last but not the least, leave no stone unturned to keep yourself and your partner healthy, physically and mentally.
Journey Continues – More attempts
Later, one of my friends recommended another gynaec. This doctor was very calm and composed. Despite all the chaos around, she listened patiently but replied mostly in monosyllables. However, one must schedule an appointment at least 1.5 – 2 months in advance and still wait several hours to meet her. During our first discussion, she agreed that the previous IVF was not the right option to begin with.
The doctor clarified that chances of conceiving through IUI is around 10% and by IVF it is around 25 – 35%. Considering the odds, she naturally recommended another round of IVF. This time, we took some wholefood organic multivitamins to improve the egg quality based on my own research online, which was then approved by the doctor as well. I met an endocrinologist, who increased the dosage of the thyroid medication. With all the parameters in place, we were again hopeful, but to our dismay the embryo did not implant after the procedure even though the egg quality was good. It was pretty hard to accept that this attempt also has failed.
When we eventually went back for review with the same doctor (after about a year of feeling down), she recommended one more round of IVF without any delay but suggested us to get some ayurvedic massage before the procedure, which we did. Despite good egg quality, the embryo did not implant again.
Needless to say, after all these attempts, we had almost lost hope to have a biological child.
My husband had been a pillar of support throughout. But, adoption was one thing, he couldn’t get fully onboarded on.
Then, we started considering hospitals with a reputed R&D facility to help identify the actual reason(s) behind the failed IVFs. But, we were already financially overdrawn. So, we went back to the same doctor. She explained to us that there is little medical intervention possible to ensure embryos implant, that part of the procedure needs to happen naturally. In the carefree twenties, one may not need all these procedures.
During our discussion with the doctor, she strongly recommended that we undergo some ayurvedic treatment and mentioned that she has seen positive results in some of her patients who had completed a course of ayurvedic treatment before IVF. Since, we did not know any one in particular, we were given a visiting card of an ayurvedic practioner. However, when we met the recommended ayurvedic doctor, I was not impressed. They seemed to be making the best of the opportunity, monetarily.
What should we have done additionally to increase the success rates? From my research, couples try accupunture, meditation, castor oil pack, manukha honey, maca roots, vitex, other super foods, and what not.
I was following the below routine before the IVF procedure, some of them were based on my own research:
- Thyroid medication (first thing in the morning as per doctor’s advice)
- Wheat grass Juice (Before breakfast)
- 20 – 40 min of walk daily (morning or evening at least 5 times a week)
- Sumptuous breakfast (Any one – poha, idli, dosa, puttu, appam, chappati, oats, bread-omelette, upma, idiappam, etc.)
- South Indian style vegetarian lunch and dinner – Rice, gravy, seasonal veggies
- Evening snacks – Fruits and Dry Fruits (particularly fertility super food such as avocados, dates, etc.)
- Wholefood organic multivitamins (thrice a day after each meal)
- Ashwagantha and Shatavari herbs (Capsules / powdered form) with milk, which we discontinued before the IVF procedure started.
- Weekly coconut oil bath
- Meditation, positive thinking and prayer – whenever am not in despair 😊
Another friend offered me ‘Prasadam’ that she had collected from a temple after making an offering on our behalf to fulfill our dream to have a kid. We were touched with this sweet gesture. It means a lot to have caring well-wishers around.
With renewed optimism, I searched online for a genuine ayurvedic doctor and immediately came across videos of Vaidyaratnam Dr. Nishikant Padoor, who is a paramparya vaidyan (paramparya vaidyan means, for generations the family treats a particular condition through their medicines, the ingredients and the proportions are only known to them. This doctor’s family has been treating infertility issues for the last 9 generations!!)
We reached Padoor, a remote and scenic place near Palakkad, Kerala to meet the paramparya vaidyan, Vaidyaratnam Dr. Nishikant Padoor at Ponnan Poosari Parambaria Vandhyatha Chikitasalayam.
Hoping for the best, we took a deep breath and walked towards the address. We had already read his blog and watched his interview videos. By now, we are aware that couples must follow certain dietary restrictions strictly during the course of the medication. Someone had mentioned the medicines as a ‘potion brewed in hell.’ But, how bad could it be?
We met the doctor. He spoke as a matter of fact and answered our questions briefly. Though he did not give us any hope to our question on success rate. He was encouraging enough to mention that several childless couples who had given up hopes after multiple failed procedures (ICSI, IVF, IUIs) have conceived after taking their medicines. He asked us to try it, follow the dietary prescription, and lay the rest to the God.
To be honest, the reference ‘potion brewed in hell’ was not an understatement. Both of us took the medication and followed the instructions to the tee. And, guess what? I conceived the second month after taking the medication. We just couldn’t believe when we took the ‘at home pregnancy test’ and saw two lines on the strip. So, the next day, we went for an HCG test in a nearby clinic to confirm. Lo and behold, I have indeed conceived. That was a truly joyous moment in our lives. When we went back to the gynaec, she and her staff were also truly happy for us.
In this time and age, when fertility treatments have become a huge business model for hospitals, this doctor is offering his medicine s at a hugely subsidized rate. For Rs 6000/- we were given medicines for four months. The medication not only addresses most of the fertility related issues, it also cleanses and strengthens our system.
I delivered a healthy girl baby on 10th July’18 through normal delivery. She is our dream come true!
Hope my experience helps you fulfill your dream. If you have any questions or concerns, you can refer the FAQs in the doctor’s blog. If you wish, you can also contact the doctor himself.
I would like to specify that this is not a sponsored blog. It is my personal success story. Please share your success story in the comment box. Hopefully, our stories will inspire many more.