Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pre-Start Talks

Am back after a weekend of getting trashed - brother's wedding so lots of alcohol and fun times of taking relatives who travelled from overseas around town whilst secretly nursing the after effects of alcohol consumption (but not a hangover).

Just want to say something about PGD - because Betty and Meg had questions about it. 

I went to my appointment yesterday to review the drug protocol for my upcoming fresh cycle (currently Day 12 since my last dud one).  They have agreed on a dosage for me, and I am to down-regulate for a week prior to fresh start.  I discussed the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis with them.  I asked them about everything except for the costs - so Meg you are probably on the ball park figure about how much it costs.  It is probably going to be $2500 out of pocket on top of the standard IVF costs - and since I had to have my results couried overnight to Melbourne for analysis - that is probably going to further increase the cost.

You see - my previous doctor (who is a guru by the way), thinks this PGD test is a waste of time and money.  It is only of use if you have a genetic problem or serious hereditary illness in the family - and you don't want that to be passed on to your unborn child.  But my new doctor believes that PGD is an excellent test to be used to rule out failure possibilities - if your embryos turned out to be genetically perfect then that is one less thing you will have to worry about and can focus your time in doing more IVF cycles - knowing that it will work eventually.

I was told of a story of a few couples from the clinic - who embarked on cycles after cycles using perfectly normal looking embryos but either cannot get pregnant or kept miscarrying.  They all did the PGD as told - and some of them ended up finding out that all embryos produced were genetically flawed - which means they will never implant normally.  These couples are in fact relieved  - because they can either move on to egg or sperm donation.  Often they find that out of a dozen embryos produced, there are really only one or two that are okay to use.  And the success rate using these `qualified’ embryos is extremely high.

I guess with me bollocking about here about how good PGC is, is probably to motivate myself that I have not yet run out of options yet.  I still have something I can do and more questions answered.  I am not happy with the costs but then again it is either that or a lifetime of not bring it on.

I had an ultrasound scan yesterday - just to make sure there are no cysts and no polyps growing.  It showed more than half a dozen of growing follicles on the good ovary and another half a dozen on the little ovary.  I pointed to the cluster of follicles out to the technician and said oh my god are they all follicles?  She said yup.  She said are you stimming this cycle?  I said nah.  She said oh looks like you have a bad case of PCOS.  I said yippee lucky me.  They grow when you don't want them to, and don't when you want them to.  But she said don't worry as long as no cysts no bumps and lumps we are good to go. 

I also got counselled.  Load of bullocks initially, but after some careful thinking and did some of that reading I was given, I think I can be a little more optimistic for my next cycle - for everyone's sake.




ninaB said...

PDG sounds like a reasonable next step given that everything else seems to working well. Just ignore me if you've already thought about/looked into this, but what about testing for immune issues? Again, it's one of those things where doctors either 'believe' in it, or don't. Any idea where your RE may stand on this?

Drew said...

Hi Nina

Yeah immune issues has been on the back of my mind for years - but as much as I would like to investigate, my doctors either rule it out immediately (it's a non-issue) or they did what they can and gave me the basic immune tests - which are the only ones available where I live. I am saving that issue as a `final' drawcard. Can you tell me a little more about it please? (eg what they do, how they test it)

ninaB said...

Hi Drew,
I wish I knew more about it myself.
There's a really good discussion thread on on Immune Issues. I think it's worth looking there to post questions or to see what other women have been tested for.
There seem be a range of tests...some of which the labs in the U.S. claim only they can do. (Don't know what to make of this)
The main 'treatment' seems to be either Lovenox (blood thinner?), Humira (used to treat arthritis) or IVIG therapy (which is controversial because it is a blood plasma product and must be taken intrevenously).
Some of the women, who have had multiple IVF tries with no success (and no explanation) swear that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment for immune issues lead to a pregnancy.
A lot of women have consulted with Dr. Beer who has a website at

When I asked my doctor in NY, he was neither dismissive nor supportive of the immune issues question. He did suggest that we run a 'thrombophilia panel' and it did not show anything odd.

I honestly don't know what to make of it all. Will let you know if I come across anything else.