Over 40 IVF/ genetic testing/abnormal embryos

(15 Posts)
MSW2016 Fri 01-Jul-16 19:54:04

Hello, I'm 43. Had a miscarriage last year and did my first IVF cycle last month. After a lot of reading and chatting to friends, decided to do the genetic screening IVF with Care. I produced 39 eggs - which I was told, was very high. 12 were frozen for genetic testing and none made it. I was told today they all had abnormality related to my age & not hereditary. That instead of 26 chromosomes – they had produced 47 or 48 and the one with the 46 chromosomes had 3 of the same genome. The embryologist suggested it would be a good idea to get an egg donation. I feel shattered and broken. I know I left it too late - but I was not in a good place to have a child earlier. I want my own child - however selfish it may sound. Has anyone had a similar experience and if so - please share and help. I feel desperate, lost and not sure what to do. Thank you.

willitbe Sat 02-Jul-16 23:47:30

Not sure I am going to be much help or encouragement. I had my first miscarriage age 40, and have gone on to have 11 more due to age related abnormalities. (to be fair only 3 were genetically tested) but had children age 35,36 and 40 years old, with no issues. Also had a huge number of recurrent miscarriage tests done, so the miscarriages were clearly age related in my case. Sorry I am not being helpful.

It is really your own decision. Balancing the increased chance of having a baby with egg donation, vs the reduced change using your own eggs.

Obviously you may just hit apon the golden egg and have your own perfect little bundle. But you are also taking the chance of a genetic abnormality occurring, are you ok with a child with added special needs?

In my case I would never have considered egg donation, but I am blessed greatly with having my own children already. So I was willing to go through all the miscarriages, hoping to have a baby, and was fully prepared for the possibility of special needs. However if I had never had a child and was ok with the thought of egg donation, then that would be the way which would give more chance of a babe in arms.

It can only be your decision.

MSW2016 Mon 18-Jul-16 12:54:40

Hi Willtibe, Just seen your message. Didn't see any replies coming through..gave up hope. Yes - seems to be a choice between egg donation, being lucky or as you've pointed out - having a child with learning difficulties. Thank you for bothering to write back and you are indeed blessed to have 3 of your own..K

TwoWeeksInCyprus Mon 18-Jul-16 13:06:00

I was a similar age to you when I first started ttc, and we ended up having IVF with donor eggs. At first I couldn't imagine doing that, but gradually came round to it when I realised the chances of success were much much higher than with my own eggs.

TwoWeeksInCyprus Mon 18-Jul-16 13:20:03

It might sound strange, but I can't really remember how I got from "how on earth did I end up leaving it this late, all those years of fertility wasted" to "might as well give donor eggs a try". It felt like donor eggs were a possible lifeline rather than a last resort. I was quite conscious of it while I was pregnant (we were very lucky) and for the first few months (when people naturally comment on who the baby resembles) but since then we've been too busy to think about it much.
Not sure if I've been of any help, but wishing you the best of luck

MSW2016 Mon 18-Jul-16 16:03:23

Hi TwoweeksinCyprus, Fun name! Thank you for sharing. Yes I feel exactly the same way. All my 30's wasted. And worse still - we have been married for 16 years. Almost broke up twice - but stayed together and we are no each other's best mates. But at the expense of having left it all too late...the only redemption for me is that I look back and think that I would have been a terrible mother had I had a child earlier. Was not in a good place. But secretly always wanted to have a little girl....Did you try the genetic testing by any chance? I have been reading about how women have been successful getting pregnant at 45 etc. and been wondering why I'm in this mess? I'm fairly healthy, so is my husband and clearly - it's a matter of luck. But knowing that time is against us and that the whole thing is so emotionally and economically draining - I am beginning to think I may not have any other options but to consider the doner egg. If you don't mind me asking - how many cycles of IVF did you have and did you do the genetic testing? I am with CARE at the moment...when I went for a post-mortum session with my consultant - I asked if there was anything i could do to improve my egg quality. He said a blank "NO". I have read since that there are things one can do and have just invested in a book which suggest altering one's diet etc.

MSW2016 Mon 18-Jul-16 16:06:10

..and TwoweeksinCyprus, I'm pleased for you that the doner route has worked out. And yes - I have same kind of concerns. Firstly - I think what about my gene pool. Is this it? I don't get to pass on anything to the next generation....and secondly - how is it going to be carrying someone else's child effectively and loving them and looking at them - knowing, they do not resemble anything about you...I hope I'm not asking for too much. Thank you again.

JessieMcJessie Mon 18-Jul-16 16:08:50

You might want to look at the Fertility Friends website, they have good forums on there and an area specifically dedicated to donor conception. Jut Google "fertility friends forum".

MSW2016 Mon 18-Jul-16 16:25:20

Thanks JessieMcJessie. Have you had a similar experience?

JessieMcJessie Mon 18-Jul-16 19:58:57

Not quite MSW- I am 34 weeks with my first, due a few days after my 43rd birthday. We were successful at our second try at IVF with own eggs, but I was already looking into donor eggs as the next step had our IVF not worked, that's why I know about that bit of the forum. We didn't have genetic screening, but they only retrieved 5 or so eggs so we just fertilised them all and they only got 2 to transfer so I imagine the rest were probably abnormal (39 is a huge amount, did they investigate you for PCOS or hyper stimulation?). We have had no problems in the pregnancy and the Down's test came back such low risk I did not even have to have amnio, which was a very big surprise.

I can't really offer any advice on donor eggs, other than saying that I read a lot of very inspiring stories of people who said it was almost irrelevant once the baby was born. Very best of luck with your decision- the good thing is that donor conception rates are very high for mothers in their mid forties; it's the age of the eggs that counts, less so the age of the womb, and there is research that suggests that the carrier's biology still "shapes" the baby to some extent, in that if the same egg had been fertilised with the same sperm but carried by the biological mother, the resulting baby would not be physically exactly the same as one carried by you. Though it doesn't mean he/she would look like you; it's more subtle than that.

TwoWeeksInCyprus Mon 18-Jul-16 23:02:38

Hello again MSW, we didn't do any rounds of IVF with my own eggs, or any genetic testing. We went to consultations at 3 UK clinics and were told that at age 45 as I was by then, there was statistically than less than 1% chance of IVF working. Those consultations convinced me outright that I didn't want to pursue the own egg option. I felt it would be money and most importantly time wasted, when we could be going down the donor egg route, which was generally quoted as having a 30-40% success rate, depending on which clinics results you looked at.
We got very lucky and were successful on the first round with a donor egg. DS is now 6.
As for having someone else's genes and not your own, somehow that gradually came to be less important. I remember thinking things like, well at least the child won't have my knock knees and my short-sightedness!
But of course it's a very personal thing, and other people might not have taken the same route, and there are no guarantees as you know only too well.
The fertility friends website has already been mentioned, and that became my main source of support during the process. Reading about many other women who were having egg donation just made it all seem so normal somehow.
Hope my thoughts are of some help, keep asking any questions you like smile

MSW2016 Thu 21-Jul-16 19:10:17

Dear Jessie, Happy Birthday in advance and what a wonderful and heart-warming success story! I'm very pleased for you and thank you for sharing....during the consultation session post egg collection and embryo failure - after a lot of probing by my husband - the consultant said that there is new evidence to suggest that the best method for women in their 40's is what you have done. i.e. they collect t 5 eggs and put 2 or maximum 3 back in for implantation. How wonderful that it's worked for you...been doing a bit of counselling and not as scared of the donor idea - as I was a couple of weeks ago.

CARE didn't check me for anything at all after the egg removal. In fact I didn't hear from them for a week and started reading some horror stories on the internet about hyperstimulation with people who had had 20 eggs collected and the period wouldn't come - so I called them and wrote to them - to no avail to be honest. They had all kinds of explanations to give as to why they wouldn't want to trouble the patient - but being 43, I have held managerial positions and I know the drill when people do poorly and justify. So no monitoring at all. So the arrival of the first period post egg removal -was a joyful day..

Today is my day 36 on the 2nd period post egg removal and no period yet! Hope they haven't left a glove in there...I’m a 28-day-cycle type and no chance of pregnancy. Avoiding trying naturally at the moment as I am scared of another miscarriage and having to wait again for a couple of months. Time is my worst enemy right now.

I have written to ARG and planning on getting a consultation from them. I have read they are better? People love to moan about the NHS - but this private care I have experienced, has to run miles miles to catch up with the NHS. It all seems to be about money and not much care. Anyhow - thank you again for sharing your experience with me. I'm waiting for the period to come - then start a detox based on the book: It starts with the egg. Going to have some Mayan abdominal massage and acupuncture and giving this one more try. Not sure with who just yet. Not happy with CARE - but hey - maybe I would have - had it worked out and wouldn't have seen their shortcomings. Thank you!

And sorry for the delay in responding. Went through a bit of a melt down.

MSW2016 Thu 21-Jul-16 19:14:50

Dear TwoweeksinCypurus, I'm really pleased that it's worked out for you. I have been doing some reading and I am not as scared as I was two weeks ago. I did read that the child is legally entitled to find out who the donor is at 18. Is that something you have on mind or do you have a special set up or does it not bother you?

I have decided to give this another try and just see if I can improve the quality of my eggs for this round and see what happens. There isn't much left to lose apart from sanity! Am going to see a consultant at ARG. Have read they are the best. God knows - since this industry seems to be very financially driven. Thank you again for sharing your story with me and apologies for the delay in replying. Have been a bit down. Better now!

TwoWeeksInCyprus Thu 21-Jul-16 20:01:38

Glad you're feeling better MSW and carrying on your research.
That's the law in the UK (assuming the parents actually tell the child they were donor-conceived, which I don't think they have to).
We went for IVF in the Czech Republic, where there is anonymity between the donors and recipients. It's like that in some other countries too.
We didn't specifically choose anonymity, but went to a clinic where the waiting lists were shorter.
Best of luck with your plans anyway, and will keep my fingers crossed for you smile

JessieMcJessie Thu 21-Jul-16 22:34:41

Thanks MSW. I definitely think worth trying another clinic as CARE sound a bit odd from what you say. We used Guy's in London who were pretty good and reasonably priced. Admin a tad chaotic but fine once you got used to the system. ARG are the gold standard though and specialise in difficult cases, if it's the place I'm thinking of- in Marylebone, right?

The Rebecca Fett book is really good, and you might be interested in trying DHEA as she recommends. I did (micronised, mail order from the US) but I have no idea if it was a contributory factor in the eventual success. Best of luck x

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