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ARGC immune testing

(23 Posts)
Redfinn Fri 01-Aug-14 16:30:15

Hi everyone,
I have recently had a consultation at ARGC and am now starting the initial month of tests. They have offered me the immune test which I am due to have on Monday. I am not sure if I need it and I didn't feel like they looked at my case and then offered it based on the information they already had (i have already had 3 iui's on the nhs so had a lot of test results to show them) they just asked if i wanted it. I have mild endometriosis and my husband has some morphology issues.
I'd love to know how other people decided if it was necessary or not. Its a lot of extra money! Also, if you had it, how did it effect your treatment? What did they give you to treat the over active immune system? Did they tell you what was causing the over active immune system? Does stopping your immune system from working not make whatever underlying illness you might have for it to be over active in the first place worse? I heard about someone having a blood transfusion! Sorry lots of questions but im a bit confused!
Thanks

Dannygirl Sat 09-Aug-14 20:53:15

Hi I will try and give my opinion based on my own experience. I went to ARGC after 5+ failed cycles elsewhere and with no clear diagnosis as to why. They did the immune tests and discovered an issue which was treated with Humira (controversial - not licensed for IVF) as well as steroids and intrallipids at various stages during my treatment. I am totally convinced this treatment was fundamental to my cycle being successful and I now have a 6 month old boy. I believe women who have had multiple failed cycles without a clear reason why should definitely be checked for immune issues and it's this specialism which I think contributes the the high success rates of the ARGC. Personally I think it made total sense to me - I was making brilliant embryos but for some reason they weren't implanting and the ARGC explanation was that my over active immune system was attacking the embryo. They were never able to tell me any underlying cause. I hope this is somewhat helpful! Please feel free to ask me any other questions and good luck with your treatment. ARGC seem chaotic and expensive but they are brilliant at what they do xxx

Dannygirl Sat 09-Aug-14 20:53:59

Hi I will try and give my opinion based on my own experience. I went to ARGC after 5+ failed cycles elsewhere and with no clear diagnosis as to why. They did the immune tests and discovered an issue which was treated with Humira (controversial - not licensed for IVF) as well as steroids and intrallipids at various stages during my treatment. I am totally convinced this treatment was fundamental to my cycle being successful and I now have a 6 month old boy. I believe women who have had multiple failed cycles without a clear reason why should definitely be checked for immune issues and it's this specialism which I think contributes the the high success rates of the ARGC. Personally I think it made total sense to me - I was making brilliant embryos but for some reason they weren't implanting and the ARGC explanation was that my over active immune system was attacking the embryo. They were never able to tell me any underlying cause. I hope this is somewhat helpful! Please feel free to ask me any other questions and good luck with your treatment. ARGC seem chaotic and expensive but they are brilliant at what they do xxx

LairyPoppins Sat 09-Aug-14 20:56:54

We had 5 failed cycles, and prior to that 5 miscarriages and an ectopic before 12 weeks.

We had immune testing with Dr Gorgy in Wimpole Street and I had ivig, clexane and steroids in the 6 th ovulation induction cycle. I got pregnant with twins and carried them to term.

For us, it was worth it.

Heels99 Mon 11-Aug-14 13:40:31

I had a immune testing and treatment after 3 failed cycles, at care nots. Had twins as result. So glad I did it

farfallarocks Tue 19-Aug-14 17:24:47

Out of interest, does anyone know how many people test negative for immune issues at ARGC? Just thinking about going down this route but everyone I know tests positive and its making me a bit hmm

Redfinn Thu 21-Aug-14 12:17:54

Thanks for all the replies!
I have had the test done and just had the results back from my monitoring cycle. Everything seems fine except the immune test. I have high cytokine levels (40.2) so they want to put me on Humira. I am very concerned about the risks involved in this drug. I am also interested to know why my cytokine levels are elevated, does this mean I have an underlying illness? ARGC couldn't tell me.
farfallarocks I agree with you that I have so far heard of no one to have had these tests done and not come back high immune results. Does seem suspicious.
Fee;ing very depressed about this and completely confused as to what to do. I have booked a consultation with Create Clinic, which is pretty much the opposite of ARGC as they do Natural cycles but feel this may be a waste of time and money as if the problem is implantation then i am not sure they can help. sad

farfallarocks Thu 21-Aug-14 17:56:45

Hi redfinn I caught up with a friend yesterday and she took Humira. She said it was fine and had no side effects. She was ultimately unsuccessful but she raved about ARGC.

The immunes issue is still so hotly debated but it makes sense in my mind. The embryo is 50% foreign DNA and a woman's immune system does lower (during pregnancy) or is meant to. So it does make sense to me that a heightened immune system could lead to implantation problems.

There is of info on the Fertility Friends website about immunes and the ARGC. Goodluck!

Dannygirl Thu 21-Aug-14 22:43:53

The raised cytokines was my problem too and it was treated with Humira by ARGC. I was also really concerned about taking it but I was also fine and had no adverse effects. I believe the raised cytokines/killer cells indicates the body may reject the embryo and the levels need to be normalised to encourage implantation. Convinced this treatment was what made the difference for me. All the very best of luck xxx

farfallarocks Tue 16-Sep-14 13:57:27

Just wanted to update this thread and say we had our first consultation decided to go for immune testing, 10 vials of blood winging their way to Chicago as we speak!

redfinn what have you decided to do?

Bleats Thu 18-Sep-14 05:05:35

Just to say that I am at ARGC (and I have tested high on immunes NKs) but I know of a women who had all of the tests there but they didn't pick up on immune issues.

Interestingly there seems to be one test that they do not do looking at the defence side of the body which is uncommon to test as there currently isn't a method they have to resolve this problem. There is the book the Pursuit of Motherhood that goes into this more if you were interested.

In my mind ARGC make a mint from testing everything HOWEVER when you are showing normal / good readings they do not make you do unnecessary tests. It is a comfort that everything is monitored and treatment is then adapted around you.

Best of luck all.

P.S I have never been to Chicago (or America) beyond a good half pint of my blood in the past year.

farfallarocks Thu 18-Sep-14 10:30:45

Good luck bleats!
I have to say I was very impressed with our first appointment, long may it continue!

Annabellaboo Mon 16-May-16 13:01:16

Hi ladies. I know this thread is old but if someone reads this maybe you can answer a couple questions for me. Long story short I can't conceive a 2nd child after more than 2 years of trying (1st was easy). All regular tests are fine. I am looking into the possibly of me having immune issues and am currently seeking info on testing. I need to know roughly how much tests will set me back? We are not too flush with extra money so it's a bit scary to think about spending £1000's on tests. We prob couldn't afford IVF at all and don't want to go down that route anyway. Am I right that depending on the type of immune issue the treatments involved is not always necessary to have IVF? Any experience and info would be much appreciated-
It's such a minefield!

kelly3038 Wed 08-Jun-16 14:15:34

Girls ... advice if poss xx I have had 2 failed cycles of ivf at bridge. I seem to get embies to day 3 and then they slow down or do not implant ! I am thinking of ARGC for the immune testing but do they do sperm fragmentation too ?

cheapredwine Thu 09-Jun-16 06:27:12

Not sure, gut reaction is no, but I'd email them (or phone, afternoons are probably best). I had masses of immunes at ARGC, happy to answer any questions

kelly3038 Thu 09-Jun-16 07:09:45

Thank u x with the immune testing do they just test u or partner to? If they find anything what can they do ? And lastly do u think they were good. I'm scared and feel really desperate now xx

cheapredwine Fri 10-Jun-16 06:25:58

kelly no they don't do immune testing for the male side, there is no need. The initial blood tests are just over £1000 and they look primarily at two things - TNFa (cytokines) and NK cells (Natural Killer cells). The thinking is that both of these types of immune cells can attack the embryo as your body thinks the embryo is something which is dangerous (like a tumour). They treat with four main drugs. Humira for raised cytokines (though also treats NK cells) - this has to be done before you do a cycle; intralipids (mainly cytokines); IVIG (treats both but main aim is NK cells) and then steroids. The steroids are either Dexamethasone or Prednisolone and taken as tablets. Humira is tummy jabs (done yourself), the other two are drips. Be warned, immunes at ARGC can be eye-wateringly expensive. Our cycle there cost around £27,000 because I had such stubborn immunes. The IVIG drip is £1500 each time for example. And after every Humira course or drip of intralipids / IVIG, you have to get your bloods retested. The retests aren't quite as much as the initial assay but it very quickly adds up. Yes, ARGC are 'good' - incredibly close attention to detail, very individualised, very intense. It's very tough mentally and logistically, especially if you don't live in London and / or trying to juggle work etc, but their success rates speak for themselves. I never had a sniff of a BFP until I went there, am now 36+1. Does that help at all? The immunes and London boards at Fertility Friends will help explain things I think but happy to do what I can too. Good luck OP

kelly3038 Fri 10-Jun-16 07:35:19

Thank u so much for taking time to write back. It's hard to know what to do but I think that's the best idea rather than wasting time with another cycle at bridge. I respond well to drugs and get alot of eggs 16 on first cycle and 9 on second. But it's low fertilisation even with icsi so got other half on lots of different things now. So really ARGC work mostly on the women ?

bananafish81 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:11:14

Kelly has your DH had the DNA fragmentation test (Comet) or ROS test? I don't know if ARGC have an andrologist they work with but Mr Ramsey seems to be THE man to go and see for male factor

Low fertilisation with ICSI could be due to egg quality OR sperm quality.

The stims protocol (and to a lesser degree some immunes issues) can definitely affect the former, and ARGC are undoubtedly exceptionally thorough on these points

However it's important not to neglect the other part of the equation, and I'm not sure how much emphasis ARGC put on male factor?

IMSI or PICSI and AOA I believe can be exceptionally effective if the issue is DNA fragmentation - just always important to remember that it takes both a sperm and an egg to make an embryo!

kelly3038 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:22:36

He hasn't yet - I have an appointment with Dr Ramsey on 23rd to go through that as well x do you think its better doing that rather than the sperm improvement protocol with Serum ? its a lot cheaper at Serum ?

thanks

bananafish81 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:37:20

From what I hear Mr Ramsey is incredibly thorough as a diagnostician and is THE guy to go to for male factor

If you're considering the expense of an ARGC cycle I would personally not skimp on the male side of the equation

It may be that there aren't any identifiable sperm issues and low fertilisation is likely down to the egg side of the equation

But I'd want to investigate first to work out what the right course of treatment is and ensure your time and money is directed in the right areas

Good luck with the consultation and hope it is helpful!

user1478536513 Mon 07-Nov-16 17:06:26

Hi All, I know this is an old post but I just wanted to see if anyone could provide any advice / experience. I have just completed the monitoring cycle at ARGC, after wondering whether to do the Immune blood tests we went ahead and did them, I have just received the results back and my Cytokine level is high at 51.2. I have been reading about Humeria treatment and how sometimes it can cause the levels to rise higher, and I might have to have more than 2 injections which increases the price again. I was upset to learn my level was so high as im desperate to get started on the next round, as I feel I am treading water and in complete limbo at the moment. Has anyone else had such a high level and had success after being treated with Humeria. I have done one round of Mild IVF at Create fertility and they were brilliant, very calm enviroment. Whilst under going treatment with Create which did not result in a pregnancy and a disappointing amount of Eggs collected only 3 and one fertilised, we had thought my husbands 1% morphology was the problem, I am now learning I am contributing to the difficulty in conceiving. My last question is does anyone have any insight into the experience at ARGC? I'm now wondering if I can handle the chaotic environment at ARGC as it does seem very hectic. Thank you in advance for any experiences or advice xx

Kate180615 Mon 14-Nov-16 23:36:48

Hello, have you been on fertilityfriends.co.uk? So much information there on argc and immunes. I think the argc forum is under London.

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