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Last ditch attempts before IVF??

(32 Posts)
Ralphstar Fri 22-Apr-16 18:08:37

I'm after any suggestions, however crazy, that we might not have thought of before we sell our house and move to Devon to pay for IVF!
My husband and I have been trying for a second baby for just over two years and I have a diagnosis of unexplained fertility. My hormone tests were fine, my internal scan looked great, my HSG showed I had patent tubes and my husband's sperm test was better than normal - he was delighted!
We have tried cycles of clomid but no luck! Everyone is now pushing IVF. Because we have a 5 year old son already (he is the most fantastic human on Earth - why wouldn't I want another!??!), we cannot get NHS funded IVF and I have looked into egg sharing schemes (and subsequent free IVF) but I have been rejected from those schemes due to an unrelated but genetic health condition.
I find it really hard to accept my diagnosis of infertility - which I know is my problem - but because I have fallen pregnant once (we lost the baby at 5 weeks), I feel like there is still a chance I might fall pregnant naturally!
Has anyone had a similar experience? Can anyone suggest something we could try? We've done ovulation tests, fertility gel, no caffeine, alcohol - I have a sugar free diet! We have also tried the opposite and relaxed the diet, mind, had acupuncture, etc. Nothing seems to have worked so far!
Has anything worked for anybody out there??
I'm open to anything!!

MysticMugBug Fri 22-Apr-16 18:23:04

Ralphstar Fri 22-Apr-16 19:51:30

Oh my gosh - what an interesting read MysticMugBug - thank you! Have you tried the JT clinic? Any success? Thanks so much for the link!

cheapredwine Sat 23-Apr-16 13:02:01

What's fertility gel? Genuine question. You don't mean proseed or whatever it's called? The 'fertility friendly' lube? Because am pretty sure it doesn't actually increase fertility. But apologies if I have the wrong end of the stick.

Have you possibly got immune issues? A very strong immune system? Do you rarely get colds etc? Or an Autoimmune condition like asthma, hayfever etc? If you have an overly responsive immune system In essence the thinking is that your body responds to an embryo as it would if it was a tumour, and goes into attack mode. Immune treatment for fertility in terms of actual drugs (done alongside IVF) is very expensive if you go whole hog (various drips, steroids etc) But there are a few things you can try at home which are meant to lower your inflammation and immune responses. You could try going gluten free. Resveratrol (grape seed extract, buy the proper stuff but it is expensive) and very high quality and concentrated Omega 3 - again as good as you can afford. Solgar are good quality for example. Don't buy crap from Holland and Barrett etc.

I'd strongly recommend you checking out Fertility Friends message board, there's a mass of information on there on everything related to infertility.

Wishing you all the best OP

Ralphstar Sun 24-Apr-16 10:32:20

Dear cheapredwine - thank you so much for your reply. This is so interesting - I had no idea about over active immune systems. I certainly never get ill - or least I haven't since the birth of my son 5 years ago. I never really thought about it - assumed I was just too busy to get sick! Do you know any other common symptoms - I've googled it but there seems to be a lot contradictive information. I've ordered the resveratrol and solgar omega-3 (ouch!!).
Thanks so much for alerting me to this possibility! X X

cheapredwine Sun 24-Apr-16 13:10:01

You're welcome ralph. To be honest I don't think there really are other symptoms, at least there weren't for me, except never getting ill and not getting pregnant (and 2 IVF failures on NHS when everything had gone swimmingly). It turned out I had very high levels of cytokines (TNF alpha) and then latterly also of Natural Killer cells. I had about as much immune treatment as it's possible to get (IVF at ARGC in London) and am currently 29+3 with a little boy. Immune treatment is very controversial, a lot of gynaes and IVF clinics will poo poo it, but we had got to the stage where we wanted to throw everything at a last attempt. The downside is it's incredibly expensive. If I were you, for now I'd go with the resveratrol and omega 3, consider gluten free and have a good read of the immune board on Fertility Friends. If you do go down the IVF route, be aware that you can't get fertility immune treatment on the NHS but you could, for example, go to Dr Gorgy in London who does immune stuff independently. My only experience is through ARGC but am very happy to explain more if you would like. Wishing you all the best flowers

Northernlurker Sun 24-Apr-16 13:39:04

How old are you? I realise two years seems a very long time but as you've ruled out most obviously physical issues and ivf is involving a major upheaval and cost, would you not be better to give it another year first? Obviously your age may rule that out.

shannon1907 Mon 25-Apr-16 11:25:11

Hi, I have also been trying for 3 years to get pregnant and after a miscarriage Sept 2014 the doctor suggested I had borderline low progesterone but gave me nothing for it and the hospital gave me a laparoscopy and hycosy in January 2016 which showed I had a lot of endometriosis and has now advised I try naturally for 6-9 months before seeking private IVF as my partner of 7 years has a daughter from a previous relationship so 1 am not entitled to NHS funding.
Might be worth asking if you can be x-rayed to check your womb and tubes are free from endometriosis too :-) x

mandymoooutoftheblue Mon 25-Apr-16 19:41:48

I'm in the 'unexplained' camp too. Currently ttc #1 and cd16 on my last cycle of clomid, going back to start ivf in September and really desperateto try and get a bfp before that!! Interested to read all your tips ladies.
I'm using cbfm and preseed atm

shannon1907 Tue 26-Apr-16 11:38:32

What is cbfm? I just tried preseed last month for the first time x

mandymoooutoftheblue Tue 26-Apr-16 11:56:47

It's a clearblue fertility monitor Shannon x

shannon1907 Tue 26-Apr-16 14:24:15

Thanks, I use ovulation kits every month x

cheapredwine Tue 26-Apr-16 18:01:56

Preseed doesn't help fertility, it's just a sperm-friendly lube. Unless you need a lube to have sex I'd personally avoid it if I were you...

friends123 Sat 30-Apr-16 08:00:59

Hi Ladies,
I thought i would comment as i'm also on the last ditch attempt before IVf too!
we have no problems so far, husband as low morphology. but they tell me every time this won't be the issue.
so after 27 months of trying I feel like I've tried everything, both me and OH. However I decided to try and improve CM as I don't really see egg white it's just watery. I've started taking 2,000mg of evening primrose oil , everyday up until the day I ovulate whilst also making sure I drink the recommended amount of water. it's improved soo much already. I would give it a try. I'm also trying preseed this month ( I want that miracle pregnancy all those other preeseeders talk about) I Know it doesn't help with fertility but it mimics CM , so my logic is , it's just like giving them a lift. It certainly won't stop it happening so again think it's worth the try.
Cheapredwine, very interesting about the auto immune system, you know i can' t remember the last time I was ill, the whole house can be bad, even at work and it seems to skip me every time . I will certainly have a read up on that. In your experience can this stop you getting pregnant or is it more likely to end in miscarriage?
Thanks ladies and Good luck x

cheapredwine Sat 30-Apr-16 13:06:43

friends in my case I never got as far as implanting, never had a whiff of a positive. I am pretty confident that my body just attacked the embryo from the outset. But I had immune treatment until I was 24 weeks with this IVF cycle, so there is a line of thinking which suggests it causes miscarriage too. Wish you all the very best

bananafish81 Sat 30-Apr-16 19:46:10

BTW having had a baby boy and then experiencing secondary infertility is often associated with immunes issues

Dr Alan Beer in his book 'Is your body baby friendly?', who is the father of reproductive immunology, observed that women with secondary infertility, where their first pregnancy had set off an immunes reaction, were like the 'Olympic team' , with some of the most severe immunologic dysfunction

It's frequently seen in recurrent miscarriage too - but the principle about the immune reaction is the same

cheapredwine Sat 30-Apr-16 20:31:36

Wow, I didn't know that banana, really interesting

bananafish81 Sat 30-Apr-16 20:41:50

Isn't it cheap red wine?

It's fascinating as the three ladies I know IRL who suffer from recurrent miscarriage all have little boys, all conceived and carried easily, and then only began to have issues when TTC for a sibling

They all conceive very very easily but haven't been able to stay pregnant. Two had three losses within the space of a year each.

NHS told them just bad luck, keep trying. Miscarried again

Went private, got prednisolone, clexane, progesterone and aspirin, plus intralipids after their BFP (all TTC naturally) and all are in their second trimester

I had all the main immunes tests done after my recent miscarriage (i had them done via Locus Medicus in Athens, identical to the Chicagos but much cheaper) as my consultant prescribes empirically, but I just wanted the tests for my own peace of mind

Apart from some very very mildly elevated NK cells levels in one of the cytotoxicity assay tests, everything came back normal. We're going to treat empirically with all the above meds (my Dr doesn't use Humira or IVIG) as belt and braces

But my friends are certainly anecdotal evidence for the difference immunes tx can make.

After my miscarriage I lurked on a number of the recurrent miscarriage threads on MN and it's striking how many of the posters who were suffering repeat losses described having little boys, and were only now miscarrying when TTC for a sibling

The plural of anecdotes isn't data, but interesting nonetheless. And the research in the link I posted IS data!!

cheapredwine Sun 01-May-16 08:11:01

Gosh banana, I had no idea about this re boys. I have had masses of immune tx, about the ARGC max TBH (x2 Humira - utterly VILE - x2 intralipids, x6 IVIG plus dexamethasone, clexane, aspirin, cyclogest & gestone) and I am sure itmade a big difference (currently 30+3 with... a boy!). We have 2 frozen but couldn't afford to do immunes again, so I need to read into this more I think... Thank you so much. Am so very sorry about your losses flowers

sparechange Sun 01-May-16 08:40:01

Thanks for the link. That's absolutely fascinating. I wonder how much future research will be done into that area

Solgar is owned by Holland & Barrett. The quality of their supplements is high. We had a consult with a specialist fertility dietician and nutritionist who said that as long as you aren't going for the pound shop or supermarket ones, the quality and bioavailability is similar between H&B own brand vs Zita West and expensive branded things

bananafish81 Sun 01-May-16 10:32:08

cheap not every immunes clinic advocates for using Humira and IVIG - the women I mentioned all got treated without either. Dr Sher doesn't use either. My Dr isn't an immunes specialist but doesn't use either. Dr Ndukwe only uses IVIG if someone is allergic to soy or egg. ARGC absolutely do get amazing results, but not every immunes treatment necessarily involves those drugs and endless retesting. You are pregnant with a beautiful bouncing baby boy - which is amazing!! But it's not necessarily a given you wouldn't be able to get or stay pregnant with one of your frosties with 'gentler' immunes tx (which many Drs seem to get good results with)

And as I say, my RPL friends all had pred / intralipids / clexane / progesterone / aspirin - they are now finally staying pregnant without IVIG or Humira. One friend is with Dr Gorgy who kept trying to tell her to take IVIG. She wouldn't, she's taken intralipids only, and remains pregnant!

cheapredwine Mon 02-May-16 16:54:39

Aye banana you're so right, ARGC are a bit extreme! And I think much is them erring on the side of caution to the nth degree. We debated the IVIGs, especially the last few, but ultimately I couldn't face the idea of turning them down and something (quite possibly completely unrelated!) happening. The Humira is the one thing I regret, and I knew within a day of the 1st jab it wasn't for me, just didn't agree with me (to say the least, ful side effects) and my levels ended up higher. Wish I'd said no to the 2nd course and gone with just intralipids, but hey ho.

spare I was advised the opposite! But ultimately yep, probably just avoiding poundshop type ones is the key thing.

elcamino Tue 10-May-16 16:38:33

Hi all,
I have one DC aged 3.5 who took a year to conceive naturally and have been ttc #2 for nearly two years now, so very interested to hear this! I'm with ARGC right now but tbh got overwhelmed with their intensity and travel restrictions and we abandoned our IVF cycle there after a few days. I did the full immunes testing and everything was in range. All hormones fine, FSH and AMH fine.

Bananafish, can I ask which doctor you're with? They are treating your immunes even though the tests came back mostly in range? And your friends had immune treatment while trying naturally - does that mean injections every day for months on end? I'm so interested in this approach bc we're obviously not quite ready for IVF. We waffled every day even while starting the down-regging and eventually decided to stop. There must be another way! Any doctor recs would be much appreciated.

bananafish81 Fri 20-May-16 07:20:47

elcamino apols, thought I'd replied

The friends who TTC naturally with immunes were with Drs who did the full battery of Chicago tests, and were only allowed to start TTC naturally once levels were in an acceptable range. For one that was prednisolone only, for another that was Humira and prednisolone. They both had progesterone for after ovulation, and intralipids and clexane after a BFP. So no injections before BFP apart from the course of Humira

Both women fall pregnant very easily - they just have trouble staying pregnant. Both had 3 miscarriages in the space of a year - both got pregnant within 2 months of being given the OK to start trying. Immunes plus TTC naturally is only really an option for recurrent miscarriage where the problem isn't conceiving, IMO

My Dr won't do immunes for longer than a couple of natural cycles as he says although the drugs he uses are safe (no Humira or IVIG) it's not practical or desirable to be taking pred or intralipids every month on the never never

My Dr treats empirically for failed implantation or miscarriage, or where there's an indication via autoimmune history. I don't know that 'we can't get pregnant' would just be enough - he's an independent consultant, so I'm not with a clinic directly (although he works with CARE London for IVF, EC and ET are there and it's their lab, but I see him for all scans and appointments at his consulting rooms). PM me if you want more info

bananafish81 Fri 20-May-16 07:24:35

And there are other ways beyond ARGC. I haven't had a single blood test during my cycles - and my Dr has success rates of c. 65% across all age groups. His Jan success rate was 90% (of which I was one, although sadly miscarried). I got a completely individualised protocol and see him alone for all my appointments and scans. Plenty of clinics are excellent bedsides ARGC. They are terrific but they aren't the only way.

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