Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reproductive Immunology - To Test or Not To Test?

The world of assisted reproductive technology is not an exact science, controversy abounds and there seems to be boat loads of money to be made. In my 2.5 years of seeking the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist, I have consulted with a grand total of 5 REs - not including my 2 surgeons who did my lap and my appendectomy and the NaPro OBGYN.  Since proving my doctors wrong with my stage 4 endometriosis, I have developed a deep sense of distrust in any one or two medical opinions.  This is a double-edged sword. 

I am exhausted from requesting, copying and mailing my medical records.  I am exhausted from scheduling and attending appointments.  I think I am exhausting E by dragging him around to all these appointments with me.  Some REs have disagreed and some have agreed with certain aspects of another doctor's treatment - but certainly the difference of opinion is staggering in this medical arena.

Probably one of the most controversial aspects seems to be the immune system's role in infertility.  Most REs prescribe to the view that if you test enough things, you're bound to find something wrong OR the opinion that immunology tests aren't standardized enough yet OR the presence of immune markers don't necessarily point to worse outcomes with IVF.  Whatever the case may be, it's tough to find a "believer" if you don't go to one of the top clinics like Cornell, SIRM or CCRM.

I have always felt more comfortable making decisions about our treatment having more information - it's why I pushed for the lap.  That and surgery was covered by insurance where IVF was not.  I want to know the WHY.  So we embark now on the path of immune testing.

I had no idea it will take so freaking LONG to get the results! The first thing RE #4 said was that you have to be patient. Gee, boy - if there's something an infertile shouldn't have to be told it's to "be patient."

Here's the plan:
After I get a negative beta (Friday I hope), E and I come in for immunology blood work 2 weeks later. HCG has to be out of my system.  The results will be in about 2 weeks after testing.

When I get my next period - hmm let's see...about 3 weeks from today, I need to call the office to schedule an endometrial biopsy for cycle days 24-26 of that cycle.  No trying to get pregnant on our own this month or next because if we accidentally get pregnant, that will mess up the test. HAHA accidentally, right.
2 weeks after the biopsy is done, we will get results and formulate a plan.  Say mid-April.  OMG!

I am truly hoping and praying that I have nothing going on in there that would suggest I need immune therapy.  RE #4 seemed to think there could be a chance I don't have any additional issues and all we need to do is adjust the protocol - Long Lupron and add ICSI.  That means I would be cycling again say April/May or May/June.

But if I do have immune issues and they have to be treated before we cycle (which happens) then we're looking at a July/August timeline. Holy heck! How will I ever wait that long? 

We will decide in April whether or not to solicit for a birth mother or to do one more IVF.  We have a long road either way.

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