Hope……..Less

She looked at me and said, “You know, I would do that for you too.”

August 2017.

It was almost a year after my son was born via gestational surrogacy…my amazing sister carried him for me in 2016.

My dear friend, L, volunteered to be my surrogate for baby #2.

I was speechless. I looked at her and said, “No, no…that’s so generous but it’s too much.” She looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “No, I’ve wanted to do this. I’ve thought a lot about it, even spoke to my husband already. I want to do this for you. I want to carry your baby.”

Wow.

Tears started streaming down my face before I could even move towards her to hug her.

Did she really understand what she was volunteering for? I just went through it with my own sister and it’s not easy. Honestly, I didn’t even think we could afford it again…but now that someone has offered…how could we not? We have embryos left. I’ve always wanted to have more than one child…we’ve got to find a way.

And that was in August of 2017…you read that right. 2017. I kept a secret from you all…and I’m sorry. But what has happened since then, might not be what you expect…so here’s the recap:

August 2017-Friend volunteers and gets IUD removed(wait a couple of months)

November 2017-Fly friend to my clinic and go with her for her “one day workup”: She passes with flying colors, blood tests great, sonohystogram of uterus looks great, records are clear, she’s healthy..so it’s a go for a mock cycle.

January 2018-Mock transfer cycle. She starts Estrace 3 times a day to prepare her lining. Lining check after 13 days of Estrace- 5.5mm(????)…wait, WHAT? My RE calls and is confused. Did she take the medication correctly?  Might just be a fluke…let’s try again next month.

February 2018– Mock Transfer #2. Starts Estrace again. 15 days later-lining measurement 4.5mm(???!!) Wait…this isn’t ME…it’s my friend who gets pregnant EASILY…like, when she wants…what is going on?? Maybe take a month off and try again? Ok..

March 2018-Same

April 2018-Same

And I won’t bore you with the rest friends….but you get it. Month after month…for the entire 2018, we tried it all. Mock cycles, Natural cycles, procedures, different meds, etc….and nada…

Her lining wouldn’t make it past 5.5mm at any point………just…..like….mine.

I couldn’t help but believe that I am the curse. I mean seriously….how does this happen?

My RE wasn’t comfortable putting in one of my two embryos into a lining that’s 5.5mm(and I wasn’t either)

So this week………at the end of 2018…..we both called it quits.

We talked about it, cried and then I thanked her for offering to carry my child but we won’t even get that opportunity.

My sweet friend L felt so bad….but I felt really bad too. Not only throwing myself a pity party about the bad luck I constantly have with thin lining but also for what I put her(and her husband) through for over a year. I mean, every month they had to make sure they didn’t accidentally get pregnant too…using condoms and timing things out correctly, I’m sure it wasn’t easy…and all of the tests and medicine I put her body through….for nothing(but more out-of-pocket bills for us)

We both expected everything to work out. I mean, why wouldn’t it??

But to no avail…

No matter how hard we tried…..

A spark…a flicker of hope….gone before it even had a chance at being light

So here we are…back to square one…

I would say I’m back in the dark….but that’s not true. I was in the dark from 2011-September 2016….then in October 2016, my miracle was born. The true light of my life.

See, because my very worst day now…is still better than the very best day I ever had before my son.

And so, it’s ok…more disappointments, more time gone, more money gone, more opportunities gone, more hope gone…but I’m ok.

Maybe I should just hope……less. Not become hopeless….just simply hope, less.

Would that help my heart? Would that help all of our hearts?

To hope a little less in 2019?

I guess we will just have to see…….

 

 

PGS Testing And What No One Is Telling You

PGS testing. Everyone is doing it…right? I mean, our RE’s are offering it to us like an “add-on” feature for a brand new car. “For $5,000 more you have a 95% better chance at getting pregnant!”

Sign me up…right?!?

BUT…is that actually true? Is PGS testing really all it’s cracked up to be? Can we really trust the results?

Now, I’m not FOR or AGAINST PGS testing. I think it may be necessary in some situations but I just want to put this information out there and help you make a decision with information I present(and that you also research on your own.) What I hope you can take away from this is knowledge. We simply cannot trust what Dr’s tell us or suggest as 100%. Things don’t work for everyone. Be an advocate for yourself. So here we go…..

For some, it might not be news, but for others, it may open your eyes to possibilities you did not know.

PGS testing of embryos.

PGS testing is fairly new. It’s only been around since the 1990’s. I don’t want to go into detail about the history but feel free to read about it here.

So when our RE’s are suggesting using it, you would assume a lot of things(safety, accuracy, etc)…but a lot of assumptions are not always true.




Myth #1: PGS tested euploid (“normal”) embryos are 100% viable and will produce a pregnancy. FALSE.

Do you know that even if you have a PGS tested “normal” embryo that there’s still a 5-10% chance(by certain clinical reports) it is still “abnormal”. PGS cannot test for everything. And as we have seen time and time again, PGS embryos do not always produce a pregnancy.

Myth #2: There is no risk to biopsy an embryo for PGS testing…it is always safe. FALSE.

There is always risk to damaging an embryo during biopsy. It’s called “human error” folks…and think about it…we are all human and humans make mistakes occasionally. Whoever biopsy’s your embryo could accidentally take too many cells, or take them from the wrong place, or(I could go on and on) etc…. Haven’t you ever wondered why some PGS normal embryos don’t take? Could be that they are a part of the 5-10% I mentioned above, but it could also be that it “was” a “normal” embryo but because of the biopsy, something went wrong and changed it’s progress.

Myth #3: There is no harm to your future child by having the embryo PGS tested. MAYBE…

Because PGS is a relatively new and emerging technology, the detrimental effects of embryo biopsy, especially those related to late-onset disorders, may not be evident until children born as a result of this technology become older. Therefore, there may be unidentified risks to the future health of the child associated with PGS.

Remember, this has only been around for over 25 years or so(and a shorter amount of time for public use). We don’t know if taking certain cells will cause problems with children from PGS tested embryos…there just hasn’t been enough time to study them all yet.

Myth #4: If all of my embryos come back “abnormal” then I should discard them all and either start another full IVF cycle or move on to donor eggs. FALSE.

Please read This study  It is what ultimately changed my mind about PGS testing.

Here is an excerpt:

“Eight transfers of previously reported aneuploid (abnormal) embryos resulted in 5 chromosomally normal pregnancies, 4 delivered and 1 ongoing. Three patients did not conceive, though 1 among them experienced a chemical pregnancy.”

5…yes FIVE out of 8. Five chromosomally normal pregnancies. When PGS detected they were “aneuploid” or abnormal in layman terms.

Mind blown.

Wow.

That hit me like a ton of bricks.

Those embryos should have been discarded. They would have been discarded if it wasn’t for this study…and they are now healthy, growing babies.

I’ve seen so many women do PGS testing on their embryos, all of them come back “abnormal” and then move on to donor eggs or adopt or be forced to live child-free. But what if some of those “abnormal” embryos were not “abnormal” at all? Maybe they would have “self-corrected” themselves and grown to be healthy children?

Now, obviously, not all abnormal embryos will self-correct and create healthy children….but maybe some will. It has been proven. And, for me personally, if there was even a 0.000001% chance I could be discarding my child, I couldn’t do it.

So, if you decide to do PGS testing, here are some tips:

When you receive the results, go over them with your RE. Talk about what they found. Certain types of abnormalities are less likely to self-correct, while others have been proven to self-correct. Why not freeze those? Especially if you are staring down the barrel of having to use donor eggs?   Might be worth a shot.

Re-test the “abnormal” embryos at a different lab. As you can read from the research article I mentioned above, only 2 out of 11 embryos were identically assessed at different PGS laboratories…only 2 out of 11 were assessed the same….wow. So, there might be something with getting a second opinion before you discard any embryos….at all.

And finally, please do not be afraid to ask questions, tons and tons of questions. This is your choice. Don’t let RE’s convince you to do something one way or another. You decide after researching for yourself and weighing your options.

Anyways, I could probably write 10 more pages about this but I don’t want you to get bored and I just wanted to get my point across.

All the rage is PGS testing…and I get it. You want to give yourself the BEST possible opportunity to have a child, especially after you’ve been through hell and back with IVF. Totally get it. But what if (and it’s just a what if) you might actually be doing the opposite?

More articles:

https://www.aab.org/images/CRBSymposium/Gleicher-accuracy%20of%20assesing.pdf

https://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/transferring-allegedly-chromosomally-abnormal-embryos-comments-on-todays-article-in-the-new-york-times-by-kira-peikoff-422079.php

https://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/fertility/possibility-selectively-transferring-embryos-preimplantation-genetic-diagnosis-pgdpgs-determined-chromosomally-abnormal/

 

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