Home » Mochi » Embryo Transfer #6: Frustrations

Embryo Transfer #6: Frustrations

So DW is on cycle day 9 today of her FET cycle. So far, she’s had blood work and ultrasounds done during her previous cycle, and during this treatment cycle on day 3, and her next will be on day 12 (Friday). We have been with this clinic since 2012, and it really hasn’t been feasible for us to change clinics because of all the monitoring that needs to be done before work. This clinic has 4 locations, which makes them fairly convenient for us, since we work in two different cities. However, our relationship with them isn’t without significant frustration…. 

I’ve had time to cool off about it, so I will just casually list off the ridiculousness and incompetences that we’ve had to deal with:

1. Nonsense: When DW went in for her monitoring last cycle, they kept insisting that I had to come in to update my bloodwork since she hadn’t been active for almost a year. I suspect that this must be protocol for heterosexual couples, but we’re a same-sex couple, and my blood work has nothing to do with DW’s FET or the status of our embryos. Plus, the nurses know who I am (I mean, 3 years, 4IUI’s, 2IVF’s, 5 transfers, and 50 grand later, they better know who we are!), so logically, why do they need my blood? We argued with them for a while, and all they said was that they needed updated bloodwork because the embryos came from me (still doesn’t make sense!). Anyways, we just keep ignoring their requests because I ain’t getting poked to satisfy their stupidity and inability to critically think.

2. Inconsistencies: So on her last cycle and during this cycle, DW had elevated prolactin on her both of her day 3 blood draws. They told her that anything over 30 (don’t remember the units) was elevated and then made her repeat her prolactin bloodwork the next day while fasting (in fact her day 3s were also done fasting coincidentally), and her repeat levels were normal (29) for her monitoring cycle and 39 for her treatment cycle. They then said that the normal range was 40 or less, and that her prolactin values were fine. WTF? How did the normal range change from 30 to 40? This nurse has made major mistakes in the past and I’ve argued incessantly with her but it just makes her even more unwilling to check her facts. Also, I know that high prolactin can affect implantation, and have read that other RE’s consider normal as 25 or less, and ladies with anything higher are put on bromocriptine or Dostinex to bring it down before transfer. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about this because this nurse is not very open to other opinions and the RE is very uninvolved in checking levels it seems. 

3. Incompetences: so my endocrinologist (who is awesome, and I trust very much) says that TSH should be less than 2 preconception, and when I was trying to get pregnant, she vigilantly had my blood TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked monthly to keep me under 2. Last cycle, DW’s TSH was 3.8, and the damn fertility clinic seemed to think this was fine. I argued with them about it, and apparently my RE seems to believe that a TSH under 4 is acceptable. I’m so upset about this because for our 4IUI’s with me, my TSH was around 3.9 and my endocrinologist (looking back at old bloodwork print offs that I demanded from the fertility clinic) thought it was unacceptably high. I’m frustrated that the fertility clinic doesn’t seem to prioritize optimal hormonal levels, but instead is just happy with us trying under suboptimal conditions, wasting sperm, wasting embryos, wasting time and money. I feel so strongly about this that after her day 3 bloodwork last cycle, we “unofficially” started DW on 25mcg of Synthroid from my stash. In one month, that brought her TSH down from 3.8 to 2.8, so we added another 12.5mcg daily = 27.5 mcg daily to hopefully bring it down a touch more. Frustratingly, the fertility clinic only checks her TSH once in a cycle, so we have to just keep our fingers crossed that her levels are hovering around 2 or less. I’m also a big stressed because I’m still taking Synthroid and my stash of pills isn’t large enough to be supplying both of us until my next refill is eligible. But my priority is giving her body enough thyroid hormone to support a pregnancy. It just sucks to have to be so clandestine about it. We’re also doing the same thing with her and prednisone. 

I know I’m a bit over analytical about all of this baby-making, but DW has suffered 2 miscarriages of 4 of our best day 5 blastocysts. Despite their “investigations” the clinic has not been able to identify any reason for her losses. They have demonstrated inconsistencies, incompetencies, and don’t seem to critically think about our unique circumstances, but rather treat everyone with the same “cookie cutter” approach. Changing clinics at this point is pointless, since most clinics around here function very similarly (what’s the incentive in improving when you’ve got a 3-6 month wait list of patients?). So basically, our approach is to just go ahead with the transfer, hoping that by lowering her TSH her prolactin might balance out too, and that the autoimmune meds help deal with the unexplained RPL. As I mentioned before, this is DW’s last go at it. She took a year off after her last loss to be ready to face this juncture again. We hope that it works, because I can’t even imagine the heartbreak if it doesn’t. 

If you have any experience with prolactin or TSH levels, I’d love to hear from you. 

As usual, your support is invaluable to us. 

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51 thoughts on “Embryo Transfer #6: Frustrations

  1. I know that 4 is the limit for hypothyroidism in general. I have similar ambivalent feelings about my own clinic. They don’t seem to want to test anything.

    • Yup, 4 is the limit in general, but for preconception it should be less than 2. Im sorry your clinic is similarly negligent. It’s so frustrating because this is so important for us.

      • Well my wife doesn’t want us to try again, so at least it’s a moot point for me, but when I was there last week and asked the doctor if she thought we should test anything else she didn’t recommend anything. I’ve had an hsg, tsh, and amh testing and that’s about it. :-/

      • I see. I’m sorry. So are you girls taking a break from it for a while or somewhat indefinitely? Yeah my RE tested for more, but it wasn’t without some arm twisting.

      • It’s a situation where there is no compromise, especially because she’s dead set against the idea of doing both. We’ve gone to an information session and have a pamphlet of forms we haven’t started to fill out yet.

      • I am. It’s that it will permanently close the door for us on the option of a biological child that makes me unhappy.

      • Sorry to butt in here. If you’re certain you want a child foster-adopt has a few challenges given that the goal of fostering is all reunification with bio family. We’re simultaneously doing that route and trying via IVF. Good luck with the info sessions. If you ever have any questions, let me know. πŸ™‚

      • I know. Our local DFS has a reunification rate of 86%- which I try to explain means we’ll probably need to foster for years before we end up with one that becomes legally-free. Others seem to have done it though. I can get into why I am wary of the idea of foster-adopt, but that’s really long for a comment on someone else’s blog post that’s completely unrelated. πŸ™‚ We should talk sometime.

  2. Ugh, so frustrating. I wish there were a better way for different specialists to communicate their standards and get doctors up-to-date. Or that the doctors and clinics were more interested in staying on top of the research!

  3. Wow! Sounds like an awful clinic!! My RE is suppose to be one of the best in the country, and he says TSH should be less than 2.5. My levels were 2.8 and he put me on 25mcg Synthroid, and now that I’m 9 weeks, he increased it to 50mcg because the baby will need more thyroid.

    Prolactin levels are suppose to be less than 15, is what I’ve heard for pregnancy…. I can’t remember the units either though. That’s really disappointing though. You can’t just make an appointment with an RE?

    Hope everything goes well with the transfer! xoxo

    • Thanks for your input! I appreciate having the comparison. Unfortunately it’s several weeks wait to see the RE, and my wife wants to do the transfer ASAP before the teaching year starts again (high stress).

  4. I am so sorry you are going through this with DW and your clinic. It’s absolutely unacceptable! I’m glad you are taking things into your own hands, where you can. I say keep on them and keep pushing, if yo don’t advocate for yourself, then no-one will. Also, can you ask to have an appointment with the doctor so that you can actually talk to him/her not the nurse? It might be a good idea to bring some of the studies/data you have, it might get the doctor to take you more seriously?

    • We won’t be able to see him before this transfer happens, unfortunately. The nurses act liaise between the patients and him, and sometimes treat him like Fort Knox. It would be another 4ish weeks to get an appointment with him, and we are estimating that DWs transfer will be in a week and a half.

  5. I’m so sorry for your frustrations. Fertility is big business, and being take. Advantage of seems par for the course along the way. It’s medicine though and should not be this way. I don’t know anything about prolactin and only know that I took Synthroid for subclinical but elevated TSH throughout fertility treatment and pregnancy. I’m sorry you guys have been through so much. I’m so excited for DW’s transfer and have a good feeling about it. It would be amazing if you were pregnant at the same time! πŸ‘ΆπŸ‘ΆπŸ’—πŸ‘Άβ€οΈ

    • I love your use of emoticons! Yeah, do you remember what they were trying to keep your TSH levels at? I hope your feeling is right and this is the cycle for her. I think you put it perfectly too- that fertility is big business but it’s also medicine and shouldn’t be this way.

  6. I pray this transfer works …and the two of you can enjoy the blessing of a larger family. I wonder if your endocrinologist could help with the meds both of you need, she helped you with yours, so before you run out, call and go in, its worth a try…..hugs

    • Thanks for the support and the suggestion. Sadly, I think that my endocrinologist would be really upset that I’m using my meds improperly! But what might be a good idea is if we ask my family doc for a referral for my wife to see an endocrinologist. Unfortunately, that’s another 4 month wait too.

  7. Those clinics and their ridiculous rigid protocols. Argh. I don’t know anything about the prolactin or thyroid levels but it definitely sounds like your RE could use an endocrinology consult. I’m frustrated for you!! You could go to your pharmacist early and ask for a couple months worth at once, and just get your Rx renewed sooner.

  8. I’m pretty enraged for you both at the crappy care you have been receiving. The way her previous attempts went, the clinic should be doing a much better job this time. I really hope that the self medicating works and this cycle is a success.

    • Thank you. I have been very upset about this too, to the point where I needed to be less upset in order to even write this post! I feel like they don’t recognize how difficult each loss has been for her, and it frustrates me that this is her “last try” when her hormone levels haven’t been optimized. Ugh. Thanks for your support though. We appreciate it.

      • It sounds like for them it is all about the money and not successful pregnancies for patients. Like you said, there is such a demand that they don’t have to be any good at what they do. You all are just numbers in the system. Ugh, so frustrated for you!

  9. I am appalled at the incompetent and inadequate care you both have received at this clinic. There is NO excuse for that. Thank god you’re such a good advocate for yourself (and DW)! I look forward to the day when you have your babies and all of this is a distant memory.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear this. I can’t even imagine how frustrating that is. I hope the clandestine medical intervention works! I’ll be sending positive thoughts to you and DW!

  11. ugh, it’s frustrating just reading it, I can’t imagine how infuriating it is to be dealing with. Good luck, hopefully going rogue with your own protocol is the aggressive approach needed!

  12. It’s unfortunate when clinics continue to act this way. Just get the people in the door, follow a standard protocol and who cares about the outcome. It drives me crazy to hear that you are stuck in this predicament. I hope that your efforts this time prove to be successful. If not, I think you need to call the clinic out – as in publicly about their lack of credibility. (if not on here, maybe on ivf.ca?)

  13. I had elevated prolactin levels (way) before TTC and my naturopath helped me lower them, but I can’t remember what with. I can give you her name and contact information if you’re interested in reaching out though. She’s fantastic.

  14. I know you’ve read my battle with my own prolactin levels and quite frankly this pisses me off for you both. Elevated prolactin can cause a miscarriage and with her history, that’s terrifying and so can elevated TSH. I’m so frustrated for you. Too bad your so far away, I just got a new prescription for Synthroid and I have a bottle of 75mg. I’d so send it to you if it wasn’t out of the country! My RE doesn’t like my thyroid above 2 while ttc and even tested it this time right before a BFP it was 1.4 on Tuesday, BFP on Friday, and I had another test on Monday and it went up to 2.7, so they automatically increased my dose. Also my RE is crazy if my prolactin gets above 15 and I’m on medication for that too. However, is your wife doing acupuncture, when I was doing it, it went from 28ish?? To 8 after only one month. There are also natural ways to lower it online, but I’d also make that a priority. I’m sorry you guys are going through this!

    • Yeah, I was thinking of you when I was writing my post, and hoping you’d weigh in on it. Thank you πŸ™‚ I’m so upset for DW but she wants to continue with the embryo transfer and needs me to be supportive of that. I looked up some supplements that can help lower prolactin levels, and we will get her started on them today in case they can help even a little with this cycle.

  15. I wish I had advice for you. Just know that I’m thinking of you both. This must be so anxiety-inducing. I can’t imagine you two having to face another loss. I am sending all of the love and positive thoughts your way that I possibly can. DW deserves this. I can’t wait to see her pregnant!

  16. What a huge pain! I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this crap. Fertility clinics drive me insane and seem to forget that same-sex couples have a unique situation. For our clinic, it was in an effort to “treat everyone the same.” That’s great but we CAN’T have time intercourse so stop asking me if that’s the method we are using to get pregnant!!

    Re: the TSH and prolactin levels. I definitely have tips on how to lower them naturally. Let me know if you’d like me to pass them along.

    Hope that this is her cycle. Thinking of you guys and a sticky little bean!!

    • Thanks Ash! Yes, I’d love to know your methods for lowering them naturally. I’ve got her on B6, vitE, and zinc to try to lower the prolactin. I’ve already got her on the Synthroid to lower the TSH, albeit not naturally lol. Thanks!

  17. I just cannot with your clinic! What the hell is going on there!?! Seems like they know a whole lot about nothing. See, here’s the thing. You seem to know a hell of a lot about what’s going on with your body, and also DW’s body. I will never understand why doctors don’t consider other options if there ARE other options. If there is a chance that lower her TSH level will help, then why not just write a damn Rx? Is the $.03 of ink to write it down gonna send you bankrupt!? I can just imagine how frustrated you are. At least you’re doing what you think is right, and more than anything, I’m praying that this little ebbie sticks for you guys. DW (and you) deserve for this to work. I’m hoping for the best best best outcome friend. I really am…love to you both…

    • Thank you for understanding and supporting us. It is so frustrating dealing with this clinic. I think that the issue is that they have ONE doctor for FOUR clinic locations, so they have a “protocol” that they use for everyone and don’t treat people on a case-by-case basis like they should be. We never see the doctor unless we’re getting a procedure done, so it’s impossible to talk with him. Everything is done through these dumb nurses. Ugh. Anyways, we’re doing what we can under these circumstances and hope that it works!

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