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Futile?

4 IUI’s —> BFN
IVF —> 1st FET (surrogate DW, 2 excellent quality blastocysts) —> BFP but HCG fails to double
—> 2nd FET (surrogate DW, 2 excellent quality blastocysts) —> BFP but HCG fails to double
—> 3rd FET (my uterus, 1 excellent quality and 1 good quality blastocyst) —> BFP but no heartbeat seen

Is it my eggs? Is it the sperm? Is it the clinic? Is it DW’s uterus/immune system + bad luck during my transfer?

Having invested so much time and enough money to buy a nice car already, are we foolish to keep trying?

Do we bother with the last excellent quality blastocyst? Or do we start fresh and do a whole new round of IVF?

We are running out of time and hope.

Do we just come to terms with being childless, and hope that over time we approach it with less bitterness and more appreciation of freedom?

I am just having a really hard time understanding how we could possibly have a good outcome with stats like this.

Sorry for the negativity. I’m just trying to process it all, and I’m struggling to find hope among all of the shitty hands that we have been dealt.

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34 thoughts on “Futile?

  1. I completely understand how discouraged you must feel. It’s so unsettling to lay it out in black and white. Personally, I would try with the last blastocyte but also understand why you might be shying away from the possibility of miscarriage. They’re brutal to go through. What does your doctor make of you both miscarrying? Just terrible luck? My sense is that the blasts are likely OK given your age (under 35?) and the fact that they didn’t trail off early on. Maybe before trying again you can both get the miscarriage panel to ensure that there isn’t an immune or clotting factor at work?

  2. That’s tough and only you can know your path. Adoption can be great to build a family. For some people life without children can be just as fulfilling, if not better than with kids, others might find it extremely hard.
    I personally would have kept trying until we ran out of all funds. To be able say goodbye to TTC I would have needed to go into therapy. We were about 3 tries away from that point.
    I probably would transfer the last one but try to keep all hopes down and then do another round with lots of experimental changes that adress the issues you mentioned. Another donor. And if you used Gonal to stim, trying Menopur to tackle egg quality, baby aspirin for blood clotting and looking into Translipid, Prednisolone, perhaps Progynova, Fragmin P for implantation. I don’t know what your health care system is like, would it cost (much) money to get genetic councelling, look into killer cell counts, imune system stuff? Is it legal and affordable to do a PID to check the embryos?
    If you can get a second opinion I would go for that. For us the clinic change for try 10 was the key since they found some new issues and were able to tackle the main concern, which was egg quality (even at 34 years old).
    But that’s only if you decide you can continue (financially and emotionally). I just remembered you had thyroid issues, is it possible those had an influence? Are those solved?
    However you decide, I wish you peace. I do know several people who had as shitty luck as you two and who did have a child even after lots of tries and several miscarriages. But I know how hard it is to keep up the hope, it just sucks in all ways and you’re allowed to be depressed because of it. I wish there was sonething to make you feel better, but there isn’t. I am thinking of you often, though. Sending you both a virtual hug.

    • Thank you so much for always sharing your insight throughout this process. I think we will do another IVF + PGD, and am considering not even bothering with the remaining blastocyst. The clinic is so slow to get anything done, which is part of the anxiety.

  3. I’m just at a loss for words to make you feel better. All I can do is send you love and peace and hope to encircle you. I am so sorry you are even having to go through this type of processing. My thoughts are with you.

  4. So very sorry for all this heartache. It is just too much for anyone to have to endure. If it were me- I would exhaust all options ( this is of course very much a personal choice) and thoroughly test surrogate before blast transfer then go to another clinic and do one more round of ivf with a different surrogate and testing of the embryos. I know all this is easier said than done. The heartache alone will break you, let alone the money and time and debt. I wish you peace in your decisions and lots of hope to carry you through. Your story will have a happy ending somehow. There are great stories of inspiration on http://www.dontcountyoureggs.com The blogger has compiled lots of stories for a documentary coming out soon. Xoxo

  5. I’m sorry. The thing is nobody has any way of knowing if a fresh IVF cycle is what you need, if it’s not possible, or if you randomly rolled all 1s for the other embryos and the last one will take. I don’t know if your insurance covers more testing, or what additional tests they can run.

    Some families adopt when they find out that biological children aren’t possible/ or if they feel done in their fertility treatment journey. Adoption is never “just” adoption. Even outside the blogging world, I don’t know of anyone who adopted domestically who didn’t undergo the heartbreak of a birth mom changing her mind. It some ways, it’s a longer 2ww.

    Others just adjust to having childless lives. They find other things that are meaningful to fill their lives with.

    • Yeah, further testing is not covered but we have no problem paying out of pocket for it. It’s just that it takes a really long time to see the RE, and last time we saw him, he didn’t think it was necessary to test further before continuing on. He kind of likes to “try and see what happens”, which to me, isn’t best practice when there are measures that can be taken to improve a patient’s chances of success. He would rather us try a bunch more times before looking into it further. It’s frustrating.

  6. So hard. I can’t offer anything other than sympathy, but from here, it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to give up this dream. I wish there were a better clinic near you, one that could provide, if not reassurance, then better answers. The not knowing makes it worse. Time and hope are fickle mistresses.

  7. I wish answers were obvious and clear, guaranteed next steps were provided. I think if you were ready to let go of your dream of parenthood, you’d know it in your heart.

    The clinics here really are skeezy – is this just a requirement of fertility clinics around the world? They seem to treat patients like numbers, etc… I have heard really good things about Dr. Auyeung, but he may be too far from you since he’s downtown.

  8. If you have thyroid issues (as friedrike mentioned) then I’d say to definitely get that checked out. There is a good amount of research showing thyroid deficiencies (or excesses) can lead to all sorts of fertility issues including difficulty in conceiving and miscarriage. If also ask for a thyroid antibodies screen in your next lot of blood tests. I have them (actually called anti-thyroid antibodies) and they attack your thyroid – causing it to often fluctuate between hyper & hypo thyroid. My naturopath (who is one of the foremost natural fertility specialists in the country) diagnosed my antibody issue and believes it lead to my miscarriages. So we’ve been using diet, (GF, no soy, avoid sugar & caffeine etc), supplements & western medicine (thy*roxine) to manage it. She’s more than halved the levels to my doctors amazement. Maybe something worth looking into.
    Also – I hate to say this because I’m worried you might take it the wrong way, but 7 tries doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily time to give up. If you can find the money & have the desire to carry a child, well hopefully you don’t have to throw the towel in just yet.
    Good luck – as that’s all it is really (well good luck and lots of $$$$!)

    • Thank you for the suggestions. I’ve been on levothyroxine since Jan 2014, and my TSH was stable at 2 before we did the embryo transfer. My endocrinologist has already done a thyroid screen, and so far, no anti-thyroid antibodies. My diet is already pretty clean- no gluten, no caffeine, very limited soy, though I do enjoy some sugar. Don’t worry, I don’t take it the wrong way, seven tries doesn’t seem like much, but in those attempts, six five-day blastocysts weren’t successful, which is very unusual. While I’m waiting for karyotyping to be done, I’m worried that pursuing further IVF would be futile if my eggs are all bad. So that’s where we’re at. I’m not giving up yet. I was just venting about my worries.

      • My endocrinologist strongly recommends a TSH at around 1 with thyroxine. I had 1.7 with my misscarriage which she considered high enough to put me on meds. Afaik the normal range of TSH levels does not apply to TTC.

      • I’m glad you don’t have the anti-thyroid antibodies too – they hugely increase your chances of miscarriage – and it would suck to face that too! Haha, sugar is my weak spot too. Take care.

  9. Ugh. I’m so sorry for all of the heartbreak and disappointment. I would give the last little one a shot. I might consider a second opinion – is there another RE you could consult about protocols and your history? Do you and DW think there are immune issues or have some already diagnosed? Sorry if I’ve missed that info somewhere.

    • DWs has been screened for some immune issues (but not NK activity), and get this- the RE’s office lost half of the results!?! We paid $200 out of pocket for these tests and they lost them. I have not been tested for anything other than general monitoring bloodwork , thyroid, and uterine/Fallopian tube anatomy. Our RE is the kind that likes to investigate after a problem arises, rather than before. I’ve been thinking of getting a second opinion, but it would take months to get in with another clinic, and there aren’t any that are close to us. I figure we try the last embryo, and get our names on a wait list for another clinic in the meantime.

      • If you are prepared to face the obvious potential emotional and financial consequences I think that makes sense. I have followed that course in fact. Without success and now I wish I had gotten the second opinion and immune testing first but I can’t live in regret. Nor can you. You two will know what is right for you. The wait is terrible – a few months is nothing compared to waits in my part of the country. Flying across the continent internationally sucks but for you a second opinion across the border would be much less inconvenient. Is there a reason you can’t do that? Not pushing you, just trying to brainstorm with you.

      • Not long in relative terms. Not just him. You could try elsewhere. My wait to see him was about 2-3 weeks but I think average is a little longer, about 4-6 but it varies and you can have a free conduit by phone or Skype sooner than that. Test results are another several weeks if you decide to do any through him and Reprosource.

      • There is another RE that is not so far from me, who apparently deals a lot with RPL, so I’m going to try to get a referral from my family doc to see him. Even if the wait is 6 months, it’ll give us time to try out this last blast.

  10. We went to two different RE’s. The first one did 7 of our IUI’s, a crap load of testing and then eventually our IVF. The Dr. that we went to in between did all of our second opinion testing. He tested for EVERYTHING! Infections of the uterus attacking the egg, Candida, std’s, you name it! Maybe it would be cost effective to have a meeting with a dr and suggest that they do all the tests they can possibly do to see what’s going on. I know this may sound little crazy, but have you considered traveling a few hours into NY to see what you can find there? Maybe you can get a great dr there who can shed some light on what’s possibly going on. If it were me, I would do the last embryo. My mom always says in her very thick Spanish accent, “Jew neba know, enteel jew know!” (You never know until you know!) That’s a smart woman…

    • So true. Your mama is a wise woman. The trouble is knowing if the first 4 failed embryos were due to DW’s system (the clinic lost half of her results- the rest came back normal), or if they were my eggs or donor sperm or the combination that were poor quality. With me, we put in one good and one not so good quality embryo, so who knows if my miscarriage was just a fluke or it is was the embryos again. So that’s why I’m at this weird crossroads in knowing which route to take. We don’t know if the embryos are a bad batch, if my eggs/sperm is bad, if DW or my uteri are inhospitable, or if the clinic’s lab techniques are not good. Some of these things we can eliminate as factors if we do IVF again- testing for some immune issues, and changing sperm donor is what we’ll try first. So we’ll see. I have a little more clarity now, with how we will approach it.

  11. I have absolutely no knowledge about the IVF process, so no wisdom to share whatsoever; I just wanted to come over from QC to send you both my love and best wishes for healing, and in your choices going forward! I’ll be thinking of you!

  12. Don’t underestimate the negative power of a crappy lab. Look up some numbers. If your lab is in the bottom, maybe it’s time to try someone who knows what they are doing.

    I don’t have any personal experience with this, but I think you will know when you are done. And it doesn’t sound like you are there to me.

    • Thanks for the advice- I know that in the US labs are rated, but in Canada I can’t find anything comparable. I’ve already got things in motion to try out a new lab if this last embryo doesn’t work.

  13. I wish I had some advice, but I don’t know anything really. I can’t imagine how difficult this journey has been for you so far. I did read recently, from many folks who struggled to get pregnant in another LGBT parenting community, that you will know when you are done. It certainly doesn’t sound like you are there yet and have some new possibilities to explore. I got something in email from the clinic we went to for testing about clinical trials for failed IVF, not sure if that is something you’d be interested in or if its even offered where you are located though.

    • Thank you for thinking of me. It seem like the US is a lot more progressive in both their approach to pregnancy loss and also in researching it than Canada is. I don’t know if I would qualify for the study, but I’d love if you could forward the email to me: mamaetmaman at gmail dot com. And you’re right, I am definitely not done yet. No where close to being, which is why I worry that my persistence is futile. I just don’t want to be full of hope, but out of the means (both biologically and financially) to get what we want.

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