Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Why we went from OE to Donor Embryos back to OE

I wanted to write something about why things worked out for us in this weird order.

- At first the doctors gave us only a slim chance at our own IVF working, because of my repeated FSH levels.   They were all shocked at how high my FSH was for my age.

- We decided to do a "closure" IVF cycle anyways.  We had the money and our doctors agreed to this because I was in my twenties.  Under a mild dose of stims I produced 4 follicles.

- On the night of what I thought was going to be the egg retrieval, my sister had her stroke.  The cycle was cancelled.

- Later I learned that this was just what the nurse called a practice cycle.  They wanted to only do an   an IUI.  They wanted to amp up my meds for the next real IVF.  This was not told to us in advance and I don't think I would have ever agreed to a practice cycle due to the cost of the meds and the fact that D's sperm count is very low.   It was one of a few scary reasons why moved away from this clinic.

- During the stressful time of my sister's stroke, I decided that my response to the IVF wasn't good enough to proceed.  That if it did work it might only work once.  And I wanted more than one child, and it would be nice if those children were genetically related to each other.  I didn't care if they were related to us.  I decided (and D agreed) that we would move onto the option of magic donor embryos, the option originally suggested to us by clinic #1 before we did our closure IVF.

- We spent what felt like hundreds of years (really just 6-8 months) completing our home study and adoption course (required where I live) which was required to adopt the embryos through Nightlight.

- We adopted our first set of embryos (only 2 embryos, of which 1 survived the thaw).  They didn't take.

- We quickly adopted a second set of embryos.  The last of 6 embryos we got resulted in a twin miscarriage at 8 weeks.

- Later we learned that the donor family from match #2 experienced chronic miscarriages.  I now believe based on embryology reports and their history that they had an embryo quality issue on top of some other ones with her uterus.

- After the last miscarriage, the doctor suggested (surprising us) that we try OE.  He had heard of DHEA supplementation helping some women.  Also, several times through my monitoring they were noticing some of my own follicles.  My age was a driving force behind this decision for the doctor, because at the time I was 31.   I was reminded of my response to the small dose of meds that I took at clinic 1.  They thought it was promising.  We agreed to try, because we didn't want to do donor embryos anymore.

- At the time we thought we would pursue traditional adoption concurrently, but we decided it was too much at once.  Also, our social worker did not want us to do both at the same time. So we didn't pursue  the adoption.

- That IVF cycle produced a better response than we ever expected - we made 6 blasts that survived to transfer.   One resulted in a pregnancy, which I lost at 5 weeks.  Another was a negative and one had HCG of 1.0.  I don't even know if I could call that a chemical.   But something was trying to happen.

- At my request, I had a panel done for repeat losses. I tested positive for one mutation of the MTHFR gene.   Dr. Schoolcraft says that up to 40% of the population could have this mutation and it is not a factor in my miscarriages.  Everything else was clear.

- I did some more research and learn how hard it actually can be to get pregnant with donor embryos due to quality issues.  We have limited emotional energy left, for what we feel are not great chances, so we close this door.

- The doctor at my second clinic that (did my IVF) started to suggest things that made me feel like the doctor is grasping at straws.  Dr. Schoolcraft called some of my protocols "voodoo".  I was scared of the risks of the things he was suggesting and his lack of experience in those areas (I didn't want to be his first IVIG patient - no thanks).

- We decided to get one final opinion from CCRM.

- Dr. S at CCRM thinks we have an embryo quality issue with our past losses, not a uterus issue. He is most worried about my highest FSH number, and wonders about my egg quality.  He says if we can get one normal embryo (as determined by CCS), that he would give us a 50% chance of success in that cycle.  He said he didn't know if we make normal embryos.  He thought we might get one from one cycle of IVF.  He said that if we can do 2 IVFs that it would be reasonable to proceed with this option. He gives us an 80% chance of success with donor egg.

- We decide to do one more IVF because we feel we were close with our last IVF.  I feel like the 2 (maybe 3) pregnancies we had were evidence that my body DOES want to grab a hold of the little embies.  It does want to be and stay pregnant.  I think the embryos just weren't a good enough quality to survive.

- We think the slight change of protocols, the greatly improved lab with the CCS could make the difference for us.  Our last IVF with 6 embryos was the biggest factor for moving forward.

- We decide that we will quickly move to DE if our embryos are not good from the CCS.

- I have a laparoscopy and it shows that my uterus looks great.  The doctor tells us that if we can put a normal embryo in there he feels we have a good chance of it working.

- Now we have been sidelined with two cysts and I'm wondering if this was all a big mistake.  D's getting exhausted from this all (as I am).  I know in his heart, D doesn't think that DE will be any different.   He thinks we have a uterus problem.  I don't.  I think that we have an embryo quality issue not a carrying issue.  This is why I'm hesitant to move on to traditional adoption.   I want the experience of carrying.  I feel like IF has ripped everything away from us that was natural and good about this baby making process.  I just want this one thing to be "normal".


  1. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. I totally understand how you feel. That is why we pursued DE IVF. Bceuase I want the normal experienc of being pregnant and giving birth, especially because every other normal thing has been ripped away, just like you say. Good luck with this tough decision.

  2. Wow I know how this feels. I am homestudy approved for a year now waiting for my adoption to come through BUT I have been still trying to get pregnant. My social worker allowed me to do so but I think that is b/c she knows since I am single I will probably wait longer.

    I have done OE, DE and back to OE.

    I have multiple failures with DE but still feel it's an embryo issue b/c I have been able to get pg with my OE...crazy...

    Either way it does suck the life out of you!

    And I understand the need to carry...it's only fair after all the unfairness...

    Sending Hugs!!

  3. Hello, I read your blog often and I am sorry to see all you have been through. I just thought I would email my comments as me and my husband went throuh 10 years of a similiar protocol/losses with miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. The doctors kept us with that ray of hope but then when I was coming up to my 40th birthday then they said we should stop and move on to adoption. We adopted our son at birth 3 years ago and I have regrets of not starting the adoption process so much earlier. I was holding on to the hope of carrying a child as I was getting pregnant but always miscarried and they couldnt tell us what the issue was ever, the same it was an embro issue but not conclusive and we also did 3 donor embryo cycles. I know first hand how hard it can be on the marriage because men and woman deal with all of this so different. I hope you can get to the point where in your heart what you want to doand you know you have done all you can and move on to adoption if thats what you really want to do as a couple or continue with the IVF's knowing all you know now. Adoption is scary and you never know until the baby is placed and the documents are signed that the child is yours so its definitley not easy. We went through one lost placement so I never thought God would give us a child, but I know now its in his timing not mine.I know now why all we went through was so our son could come to us through adoption. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you also can focus on more than just all this IVF stuff, looking back I wish I spent more quality time with my husband and was happier because when you become a mother its also difficult and you dont have much time for yourself so enjoy now and know it will all work out the way it is supposed to.There are so many children in need of loving parents so if you go the adoption route believe me you will see how amazing it is , there is no difference in biological and adopted, my love for our son is overwhelming and I wouldn't trade all we went through for anything because we now have this precious gift. Just hang in there and dont lose sight of all you have and those that love you and dont let the losses take over your every thought. I was there and know it first hand how easy it is to get caught up in all the medical percentages and possibilities that the IVF doctors give. My husband wanted us to stop so much earlier and start the adoption process but I didnt listen and kept on with all the medications and hormone injections which now have side effects to this day on me. We would have more than one child if I had stopped all the IVF's and just accepted what my body could and could not do. It was sad but nothing medically could make my body hold a pregnancy, no matter how bad I wanted it to. Just know it will happen in his timing not ours, you will look back on all of this and go- Oh now I see why! Best to you always.

  4. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. And now to have another cyst when you are ready to go? None of this is fair. I hope you are able to get back on track soon.

  5. You have come so far. Dont second guess and give up now. Ruling out embryo quality via ivf with ccs will help answer the question of uterus or embryo with then end result giving you either a take home baby or pointing at the uterus/immune issues as the culprit. Either way you have the answers you have been searching for which in and of itself is worth it!

  6. Thanks for sharing the low-down of your history. It's a lot, and it must have been very confusing at times, not knowing why it hasn't worked. I'm like you, I would like to have the experience of carrying, everything else is ripped away so to have that would be a gift. If you decide to proceed at least you will get some more answers. But it's a tough decision. I'd say go with your gut feeling.


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