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Has any one had positive IVF despite low follicle count?

(22 Posts)
Shellster52 Tue 26-Nov-13 23:31:17

I am in the midst of my 3rd IVF. Usually, I only start with 2-3 follicles on each ovary. I tried some new things before this IVF and was very hopeful when I started the cycle with 6-7 follicles on my right ovary and 8 on my left.

However I went for a scan today (cycle day 8) and while the right side has responded okay, only 2 of the 8 follicles on my left ovary have responded. I am very disheartened. My last IVF I produced 5 eggs, 4 mature, 3 fertilised, 2 were okay quality and transferred back two days after retrieval, but no success.

After todays scan, I am thinking that I will probably get about 5 eggs again and this IVF will follow the same path as my last - failure.

I know that feeling depressed and anxious is not going to help my stress levels and that will be bad for IVF, so I am hoping that others might be able to share successful IVF stories even though they did not produce many eggs.

I just need some encouragement to help get me through the next few days please!

Shroomboom Thu 28-Nov-13 20:38:32

Hi Shellster,
I was in a very similar position to you, at the most only got 4 or 5 follicles each side, and one cycle was cancelled due to complete lack of response. Do not lose hope - our last cycle (4th not inc cancelled one) resulted in 8 eggs, and 3 embryo's. I am now almost 32 weeks pregnant with the frostie. I was in the depths of despair, never believing that it would work, and then amazingly it did. I hope the same miracle happens for you smile
Good luck!

lozster Thu 28-Nov-13 22:38:57

Three follicles. Three eggs. One baby. Fourth time lucky at 41. DS is 18 weeks now. Repeat as often as necessary 'it's the quality of the egg not the quantity'.

eurochick Thu 28-Nov-13 22:44:01

Hi Shellster,

On my first cycle of natural IVF (so only 1 egg) I got a BFP. I sadly miscarried, but it really does only take one.

Shellster52 Fri 29-Nov-13 04:58:48

Thank you for your stories and taking the time to reply to a stranger on the internet. You have no idea how much it means to me and is getting me through.

Eurochick, can I ask, did you decide to do a natural IVF because you had a poor response to a stim cycle and so decided one natural egg would be better quality. Just something for me to consider as a back up plan so I don't fall to pieces if this fails. I have never miscarried so I can't imagine the pain - this whole journey sucks!

Shroomboom You have some strength to go back four times (and more inc cancelled cycle!). I had a repeat scan today and it seems like I will be lucky if I get 5 eggs, perhaps 6 if another smaller follicle catches up. So I will have less eggs than you. I just have to hope that as you say lozster, the quality is there this time as the quantity certainly isn't.

I usually start a cycle with 4 to 6 follicles. I took Aspirin in the lead up to this IVF and this time started with 15 follicles! I was so excited and really expected more eggs, so todays scan was really upsetting. I have just finished work and spent the morning trying to hold back the tears. I guess I am just being negative because all I know if failure in IVF, so I am thinking 'Here we go again, not many eggs, the embryo's are all poor quality and another BFN'. After reading your stories, I am trying to tell myself to be more positive. I know that stress isn't going to be helpful for the few eggs I am currently growing so I am going to go away now and repeat positive mantras to myself.

I had ER on day 16 last time (hospital was booked out on day 15). My estrogen levels dropped the day before ER which statistically reduces the chances of conception by over 50%. This time I am having ER on day 14 to reduce the chance of this happening and then I will have better embryo quality.

I have been taking DHEA in the lead up to this IVF which studies have shown to improve embryo quality so again, this time I will have better embryo quality.

Sorry for the long rant. It really is cathartic to get this off my chest.

HeadlessHeadmistress Fri 29-Nov-13 07:21:33

I'm currently pregnant from 3rd Ivf cycle. I only have one ovary which produced 10 follicles but only 4 eggs of good enough quality from those.
3 fertilised and 2 were good enough to put back and I'm pregnant with one baby smile

On my very first cycle I had 12 eggs, 7 embryos and 2 put back I didn't get pregnant! And the embryos weren't good enough to freeze....

Second cycle similar.

in fact in terms of number of eggs my 3rd cycle was my least successful, but resulted in pregnancy.

It's all about quality not quantity I think, and luck/chance as well.

lozster Fri 29-Nov-13 15:33:59

Glad to hear you have taken dhea. I did too for 3 months before my final successful cycle and think that is what made the difference. My consultants (I had one nhs and one private) think this too. I was going to mention this in my previous post but decided not to partly as it would have been too late for you and partly because I have posted about this so many times I don't want people to think I am some sort of evangelical dhea pusher!

Try to be positive about your eggs. I never had more than 4 on all my rounds and to be honest wasn't too worried as I always had an embryo to put back and I heard (on fertility friends) of people getting 10 or 18 or some such only to end up with exactly the same number of embryos as me as the additional eggs were not mature enough to be viable.

When I was in your position I did take heart from one poster on here - she commented that most people in this day and age who want to become parents do achieve this albeit by different routes (eg egg donation or adoption) or by following difficult paths. I mention this only as it gave me some reassurance at a difficult time. Apologies if it doesn't have the same effect for you as I empathise so much and hope your outcome is the same as mine.

lozster Fri 29-Nov-13 16:04:57

Also agree with headmistress that there is a strong element of chance too

Shellster52 Sat 30-Nov-13 03:12:34

Yes, you are both right Headless and lozster, my new mantra must be it's the quality not the quantity. I guess I was just hoping for more eggs to improve the odds of getting at least two good embryo's. And I had reason to have high hopes with double the amount of antral follicles at the start of the cycle.

Has anyone else experienced this???? I think that my left ovary has not recovered from the last IVF in Sep 13 and that is why I will only get 1 egg from my left despite it having 8 antrals to begin with. I had some tenderness on my left side a few days of the month, and now again this IVF cycle, despite the fact that it growing much. No pain in my right side and most of the follicles on that side responded to the meds.

If I have to do IVF again, should I wait longer so that it has time to recover and then more of the antrals will grow next time???? But if I leave it 6 months, I am only getting older and my antral count will be worse!

Okay, focus on this round for now. Lozster, you are right when you say that many women produce much more eggs than us but still only have 3-4 quality embryo's. I must remember that. It is also very reassuring to hear you say that the DHEA seems to have worked for you. I was already taking it before my last IVF and there was a slight improvement in embryo quality. Here's hoping that the DHEA will have had more time to take effect and the quality will be even better this round. Please God!

I am just a nervous wreck at the moment because my embryo quality has always been bad so it is an anxious wait until next Friday to find out about quality this round. Sorry for the long rant. I just find it helps so much to let it out and have no one here who understands to talk to.

THANKYOU so much for taking the time to respond. I went to bed last night with a churning feeling in my stomach and an empty feeling in my heart. I woke up and read your replies first thing this morning and you have no idea how much it has helped me to get through today.

lozster Sat 30-Nov-13 08:32:21

Antral follicles were never mentioned to me in any of my rounds - probably for the best as I'd have been panicking as its unlikely it would have been good news for me. I suspect my nhs and private clinics didn't feel it was helpful information.

I haven't heard that the ovary needs time to recover between cycles. It was never mentioned to me and I had cycles pretty close together due to my age and the fact I got bogged down in nhs red tape that delayed my nhs treatment. In fact one if the questions I asked my private consultant back at the start of 2012 was 'how many treatments can I fit into a year?' This was as I was 39 about to turn 40. He didn't recommend leaving gaps but of course his opinion may have been driven by my circumstances. In all between November 2011 and November 2012 I had three full cycles and one frozen transfer. I've just had to work those dates out and it's actually only now I see that that is only 13 months so quite a lot of treatment.

On the first two cycles I produced 4 or maybe 5 eggs of which 3 fertilised and were transferred at 3 days then just two with both fertilising but only one being ok to put back at 3 days again. I had one frozen transfer then with an embryo from cycle one. On the fourth (third full) cycle I think I got 3. They all fertilised and you could have knocked me down with a feather when on day 3 I travelled to the hospital (I was a satellite patient at Liverpool Women's) expecting a transfer and they just scanned my lining and said they couldn't choose between the embryos yet as they all looked good so were going to grow them on. One died, one went to morula and one to blasto. I had both living embryos transferred.

My strategy during ivf was always to assume that it wouldnt work and to have the next step clear in my mind and my partners. My last cycle was a surprise nhs one - we had already decided to go for donor treatment in Cyprus (70% success) and to start making contact with adoption agencies. I had done enough research on both options to know I would probably be ok with both. The possibility of anonymous and instant donor eggs really took the pressure off me as it stops the clock ticking (not sure if your age is an issue) as it doesn't really matter what age you are. I guess you may feel differently about both donor and adoption options but I have always been very much in the nurture not nature camp and don't think my genes are any better than the next persons! In terms of adoption we were also happy to forgo the baby stage and go with a toddler or older child. You might feel differently but I think what is key is being open to options - knowing there are alternative routes out there helped me to remain positive.

It's a throughly nasty place to be and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. During my pregnancy I recorded a documentary about the fertility centre I attended. I couldn't bring myself to watch it until recently and it brought it all flooding back, as has your post. You can forget surprisingly quickly to the extent that I've even had a pang of regret that my ds will be an only which is quite ridiculous - I will cherish what I have. I have my fingers crossed for you but if it doesn't work out there may be other ways.

MewlingQuim Mon 02-Dec-13 15:42:51

When I conceived DD I only had 5 follicules. 4 eggs were retrieved, 4 fertilised, 2 blastos put back, BFP, 1 baby! My last attempt I only had 2 visible follicules but 4 eggs were retrieved, 4 fertilised, 3 embryos put back, BFP but sadly mc at 6 weeks.

Even if there are few follicules you can still get a BFP.

Shroomboom Mon 02-Dec-13 20:32:56

On my cancelled cycle only 2 follicles started to develop. After that I insisted on not taking the down regulating medication and went with an antagonist protocol so was starting straight off with the stims. It got a much better result! Would that be an option for you do you think?

MrsHY1 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:37:05

Shellster hopefully my story will reassure you that it is a case of quality and not quantity and sometimes plain old luck... I was overstimulated in my IVF cycle, they collected 30 eggs at EC (!!) and we took 9 embryos to blast- 4-5 were top quality and the rest were good. I developed OHSS and was hospitalised so couldn't have a fresh transfer. I then had three subsequent FETs with 2x embryos transferred each time and it was the final FET with the final embryo that worked- I'm due tomorrow! So, just goes to show- in this funny old game you can have a shed load of eggs but no better/worse chance than anyone else smile. Best of luck xx

eurochick Wed 04-Dec-13 12:38:03

shellster I went for natural IVF without trying a stimulated cycle.

The reason was that I started my NHS long protocol round and the downregging drugs sent me a bit loopy (anxious, depressed - they were really affecting my mental health). At the end of downregging they asked me to take the drugs for another week to fit in with the clinic's timing, and I decided I just couldn't so we took the decision to walk away from the cycle. We had a few months off, did some research, discovered natural cycle IVF and went for that instead. I've done 3 cycles now (one BFP and two chem pregs) and this is my first fully stimulated cycle (short protocol so no horrid downregging!). I'm quite unusual though - most people end up at natural after not responding well to stimulation.

SoullessButSunny Wed 04-Dec-13 12:52:22

I had 7 follicles, 6 eggs, 4 fertilised, only 2 good enough to put back.

Resulted in a BFP with twins. They're nearly 6 yrs old now smile

My cycle was stimming straight away, no downregging.

Good luck OP!

Shellster52 Fri 06-Dec-13 04:25:55

I just have to thank each and every one of you who gave me hope with your stories of not many eggs and you still had success. I read your stories while my hubby drove us to the hospital for egg collection two days ago. I needed some hope before I woke up from the procedure and told not many eggs were collected - and you guys really helped.

They got six eggs and I am not back in the hospital waiting to be called for my embryo transfer. I am quite nervous as I don't yet know the quality of the embryo's or how many of the 6 have survived and they will tell me now at my appointment.

Last cycle, I had two embryo's transferred at day 2. Both were still 2-celled and the doctor said they like to see them at 4 cells by day two. If I find out today my best embryo's are still at 2 cells, I am going to feel like this transfer is not going to work again and it is game over.

So I am anxiously waiting to see if I will walk out of this hospital elated with good news or wanting to cry!

lozster Sat 07-Dec-13 08:04:21

Six! That's a half dozen! Hope they were good ones and the transfer went well. smile

Shellster52 Sat 07-Dec-13 22:13:12

Thank you so much for your support and well wishes lozster. Your story gives me hope. Of the 6 eggs, it turns out only 3 were mature and had ICSI performed on them. Of those 3, only one fertilised and is back inside me know. The up side is that this embryo is better quality than last time. Last time, the embryo was 2-cells and the dr said it should be at 4 cells by day two. It also had fragmentation. This time the embryo was at 4 cells by day two when it was transferred.

This morning I woke up and thought I could feel like a very mild period type cramp. The embryo is only 4 days old so I know it can't be implanting yet. But maybe it my body recognising the embryo and preparing for pregnancy because I read that the embryo emits something to lower the mothers immune system so that the uterus doesn't reject the egg - or maybe it is my mind imagining things and over analysing every little twitch - perhaps I just need a bowel movement?

Did anyone else have any feelings to indicate they were getting pregnant while they counted down the 2 week wait????

lozster Sat 07-Dec-13 22:58:39

I did have period pain type cramps but I also had this each time it failed so I should not be encouraging you to symptom spot! I have my fingers crossed for you ...

Shellster52 Sun 08-Dec-13 09:25:01

I have had one embryo transfer before as well, and never had period type cramping then like I did today.

I know that I really shouldn't be symptom spotting and when I read about anyone else over analyzing every sign and symptom, I think they should relax. But I just can't help myself! Today is day 4 of my embryo's life so I think it is too early and I am just over analyzing.

I am just curious if you felt the cramping before day 6 of the embryo's life (when it implants)??

Smallhottea Thu 03-Dec-15 15:30:54

We're 1 week into stimulation. My wife got exams today and they only see 3 follicles on the right 18mm. How unusual or worrysome is this?

Layla7878 Thu 09-Jun-16 23:46:08

How did you get on Shellster52?

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