Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bitter Disappointment

So while it might seem that tracking ovulation here in 2010 would be an easy task, technological advancements in medicine and everything else are insane these days, so surely someone would have come up with a fool proof method of timing inseminations, or sex even, perfectly for ovulation. Such is not the case as was evident, and not for the first time, this cycle. After weeks of fertility meds, natural remedies, acupuncture, meditation, spitting on things, peeing on things and checking cervical position and mucus, and waking up to a beeping thermometer, I missed my ovulation. Therefore the $2,000 worth of sperm I have sitting in my kitchen will have to pack their little bags and head back to California today. An entire cycle, and $300 shipping wasted.

There are four common ways to track ovulation. Cervical position, cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and Lh surge. Hormone fluxes reign over your entire cycle, and you can tell a lot by what is surging, and falling. Your pituitary gland regulates these various hormones, and the timing of their rising and falling. Immediately before, usually 12-36 hours, ovulation, an Lh surge will be detectable in your urine. These tests are called OPKs, or ovulation predictor kits. They range from cheapy to super expensive, and just wading through the waters of OPKs is like being up to your neck in a quicksand pond full of alligators. Not everyone, every cycle will get a positive OPK. I have NO idea why this happens, but about a third of the time, I get nothing but negatives, yet still ovulate normally. This was one of those cycles.

Lh is first detectable in your saliva, approximately 5 days before your urine. From what I understand it goes  saliva, then blood, then urine. So for those of us trying to time the shipping of sperm, this extra notice can be extremely helpful. There is a newish machine on the market that measures your saliva every morning and anticipates your "window of fertility". This machine also has a vaginal wand that provides "ovulation confirmation". This is a jackpot for those of us TTC for multiple reasons. 1) It confirms that you are indeed ovulating, 2) Gives you the ability to track timing after the fact, i.e. okay, we inseminated today, and got ovulation confirmation tonight, so we know we got the timing right this cycle, and 3) It tells you that you can stop peeing on things and have a total breakdown because you missed your window and have to send back your sperm. (as was the case for me this cycle).

Frozen sperm lives anywhere from 8-24 hours once inseminated, so the object is to inseminate as close as possible to ovulation without missing it on either side. Most research indicates that it is virtually impossible to get pregnant by inseminating *after* ovulation, so you always want to err on the side of early.

Since I'm still in breakdown mode, I'll save basal body temperature and cervical mucus and position for another post, go have another huge bucket of coffee, and figure out how to pass the time for the next month.

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