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Week 1: Priming with Estrace

It’s my weekend! I worked a lot of hours over my work week, it’s been tough. I had a feline patient that was obstructed that I saw on Thursday. He was fractious and coming in for an abdominal ultrasound, after two subsequent visits to two different emergency clinics, that had not treated him for his swollen prepuce. This poor cat! Anyway, after sedation I could not express his bladder, so I passed a urinary catheter and flushed his bladder as best I could. This was late in my afternoon, after I had my routine surgery day and a few other appointments. Then I had a wound repair on Friday afternoon. That patient was referred to us from our sister clinic. The owner knew his dog was going to need stitches but the reception team had not warned me about this. The poor dog! Overall, it was a good week, just extremely busy! But let’s talk about my personal life now!

I’ve been in a great mood over my weekend. Being on Estrace, an estradiol supplement, actually helps with my mood! Similar to your own follicular phase, it is the time of the month that a woman feels positive and good about herself. Estrogen is the hormone that causes you to be more gregarious, to feel drawn to people, and to your partner. I’ve had minimal side effects, like feeling a bit constipated, and mild nausea. Rare headaches, but that could be something else. But overall the Estrace medication isn’t really bad! I’m on an androgen gel, which is a lot of volume to slather on my shoulder, and it kind of smells, but I hope it’s doing whatever it’s supposed to do.

I’m still doing acupuncture for fertility and the naturopath I am seeing is starting to show, if you know what I mean. I actually had no idea until last week that she was pregnant. There was no pang of envy. We’re all on our own journey.

I posted about my protocol previously. If you're on the TTC journey, then you sort of know what I'm talking about. Many women share their IVF protocols on FaceBook groups. We like to know what works, what doesn't work, the side effects, are things normal, should we be worried, etc. It's a good place to get support if you don't know someone close to you that has gone through IVF. Anyway, priming should be called suppression. It makes much more sense to understand that if you suppress follicular growth, then when you remove the suppression, you can have all of the follicles grow at the same time.

In my reproductive lab, we used ultrasound guided follicular ablation as a means to have the next wave of follicles start to grow. New wave induction can be caused by many hormone means. We use it in research protocols so that each treatment group can be synchronized based on their wave emergence. It also allows for follicular aspiration to be grouped, so you know exactly when the cows are ready to have their eggs collected. Check out this research article for more information on comparing wave emergence by ablation versus estrogen.

I'm on an estrogen tablet. Then when we stop taking the estrogen, the new follicular wave can start. This is so that doctors can time out the stimulation medications appropriately. The next phase will be high doses of FSH - follicle stimulating hormone. To keep as many follicles growing to a large enough size to induce maturation of the egg inside.

I'll keep you posted!

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