Now we have to decide what to do. Do we try again with the same fertility clinic or do we go back to the doctor that works with autoimmune issues, or someone completely new?
THE FERTILITY CLINIC
I did my IVF cycle there, got 3 day 5 embryos (blastocysts – a good thing) and did my frozen cycle too. Both got me pregnant, briefly. It’s a 10 doctor practice, started in 1997 (that’s the year I graduated from college), there are 5 offices, one of which is only 45 minutes away. They do everything by the book (not always a bad thing), they put me on Synthroid for my Hashimoto’s (autoimmune disease) after the first IVF cycle. They do have a great staff of nurses and the phlebotomist is the best one I have ever been to and I have been to many! It’s covered by my insurance company. I have seen 3 doctors there, because of their schedules. The one doctor is there 1 & 1/2 days and the other 3 days. So occasionally, I would have to wait a day, definitely the weekend, for an answer (not if it was an emergency, they have a number for that, which I did use during my IVF cycle). And the 3rd was the one who did my FET (frozen embryo transfer). I have asked about the autoimmune issues regarding the early pregnancy losses and not received a warm response, by that I mean, they aren’t interested in that aspect. I understand it’s a different perspective, however, one of the doctors has written a textbook on Reproductive Immunology. I will have to call him about that.
When we did not have successful pregnancies, we were told that it could be because of poor embryo quality or chromosomal abnormalities, with no need for any changes in treatment, but they started me on thyroid medication, just in case. Basically they will keep trying over and over, hoping one cycle works. There are numerous non-embryological factors that can be responsible for failed IVF.
Infections (both male and female can have an infection causing infertility), PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), male factors (low sperm count, deformed sperm, prostate infections) which we don’t have, implantation failure (maybe), Uterine Fibroids (got those too), and Tubal factors, (which I do have now and will soon be tubeless).
Risk factors that identify women most likely to have implantation failure or pregnancy loss (an immunologic fertility factor), include a family or personal history of autoimmune disease such as lupus erythematosis, hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease – me), rheumatoid arthritis, etc., unexplained or recurrent IVF failures, endometriosis, unexplained infertility, and recurrent miscarriages. Me!
FYI – The immune system keeps the body healthy and fights disease. In order to do this, it detects any cells in the body which are foreign (doesn’t belong to you), then works on getting rid of or destroying them(auto-antibodies). Viruses and bacteria are fought by the immune system this way. When a woman conceives, the embryo is made up of half of her and half of the father’s DNA. The immune system detects that part of the embryo isn’t a part of the mother. Most of the time, it’s not a problem, but when the immune system is not functioning properly(autoimmune disease), it attacks the embryo or fetus, like a virus
Only one doctor running the place, has 2 offices, one is over an hour and 15 minutes away, the other is 2 hours away. He has over 20 years of experience. I have already gone for a consultation and had a ton of immune testing done, with many results I wasn’t ready to hear. A family member, with a history of miscarriages and some of my issues(endometriosis and MTHFR) recommended him highly. He is out of network.
Please read this explanation of reasons for Miscarriages (I had this testing and have all of the below starting with a +ANA, ATA, etc) it’s pretty scary. According to this, I have reproductive autoimmune failure syndrome (RAFS). http://www.rialab.com/miscarriages_prevented.php
In researching Reproductive Immunologists, I have come across some treatments;
Aspirin, Heparin (blood thinner), Prednisone (antiinflammatory), Immunoglobulin infusions (IVIg), Enbrel (has to do with NK cells and TN factor-too much to get into now, but I have a ton of NK cells), and Lymphocyte Immunization Therapy or Paternal Leukocyte Immunization-where the white blood cells of the father is injected into the mother to build up the immunity to the genetically foreign material in the embryo. Read more here
I’ve also heard of intense antibiotic therapy working for some couples. The idea is that both the male and female get treated at the same time. It is intese. This doctor infuses antibiotics via IV and intrauterine, also delivers antibiotics into the man’s prostate and seminole vesicles. You can read more here; http://www.fertilitysolution.com/Antibiotic-Therapy/
This is all so confusing!