Thursday, October 30, 2008

Egg Quality and Size

Sorry, for some reason I have been publishing articles for another blog here instead of the blog that it belong on. I guess I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.

Now for an article that you may have more interest in. Egg quality and size. What are our doctors looking for when you go for your ultra sound?

What is a good number of egg to retrieve?

For most doctors they would like 5 mature eggs for a retrieval, but no less than 3. Anything less than 3 has a very low success rate of becoming pregnant. "However, the high number of follicles could indicate the presence of polycystic ovaries as well as the possibility of over stimulating your ovaries through the use of fertility medication. There may also be some egg quality issues that need to be looked into." (quote from Pregnancy Info Net)

An average number of mature eggs is between 12 and 20. But all doctors agree that the quality of eggs are much more important than quantity.

What size should the egg for retrieval?

It differs a little between doctors, but on average an egg should measure between 15 - 22 mm. Anything smaller is not mature enough and is highly unlikely to become fertilized.

Of course there is the flip side of the coin. Anything bigger than 25 is considered over mature and will probably be discarded. This happened to me in my last cycle. I had an egg left over from my last cycle and the doctor didn't even count it as a viable egg.

Sources:
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
Fertility Today
IVF Connections
Center for Applied Reproductive Science
Med Help
Pregnancy Info
Malpani Infertility Clinic

FSH Levels and What They Mean

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a hormone that stimulates the body to grow and mature eggs. It is usually tested between day 2 and 4 of a woman's cycle. So what do the numbers mean?

If FSH is to high....

"When a women goes into menopause she is essentially running out of eggs in her ovaries. The brain senses that there is a low estrogen environment and more FSH is released from the pituitary gland in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries enough to produce a good follicle and estrogen. " Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

High levels of FSH may indicate:
Menopause Polycystic
ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Ovarian problems

If FSH is to low...

"An example of how delicate this optimal balance is: While those of us who are learning about infertility tend to worry most about FSH levels that are too high, it is also the case that too little FSH can hamper conception. Hypothalamic anovulation (or lack of ovulation due to a malfunction of the hypothalamus gland) is a result of too little or no FSH production." Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Low levels may indicate:
No ovulation
Problem with pituitary gland functioning
Anorexia
High levels of stress

Some women's FSH level bounces around. One month it is in the normal range and the next it will be high. Women who have this problem are less likely to become pregnant. A steady FSH level produces better quality of eggs.

Remember, in IVF it is not how many eggs produced, but the quality of eggs produced will end in a viable pregnancy.


Sources:
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
FertilityCommunity.com
Justmommies.com
babyzone.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cool Website for Medications

I was doing some research for another post and stumbled across Fertility Lifelines. It lists some of the medications for IVF with printable instructions, video, and prescription information. It doesn't list all the medications, but it does have some.

It has some really good information on IVF and talks about fertility myths.

Please tell us about your favorite IVF related web site.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Done

Well, I have my final results and it was negative. Alan and I will be taking a break for a while and discuss Foster Care and/or Adoption starting late next year sometime or maybe in 2010.

I will still post on this blog, but probably not as much as I have been. I will be concentrating on the Frugal Sister and the Healthy Living blogs more. If we decide to get into Foster Care or Adoption I may start a blog for that avenue.

The only bad thing about having to wait this long is now I will probably start my period on my Anniversary. Such luck.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

56 Year Old Gives Birth To Triplets

Going through the news this morning I found this short article about a women who gave birth to triplets for her daughter.

MSNBC reports that a woman in Ohio gave birth to twins and their sister earlier this month. She was a carrier for her daughter. She decided to give it a try when her daughter and son-in-law were going through the adoption process. They of course went through IVF.

The 3 children were born October 11th by cesarean two months premature. Grandma and babies are all doing fine.

There may be hope for all of us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Home Pregnancy Tests, are they accurate?

Well, I took an HPT this morning to see if my cycle worked. It is still a little early, but I thought that I would check anyway. I got a BFN. My beta isn't until Monday, so I still have a chance that I may be pregnant. I never got a BFP early anyway. I have no idea why I even took the test. So I thought that I would do some research to find out how accurate they are and when is the best time to take one.

The best time to take an HPT is 14 days after ovulation or 1 day after a missed period. Very few HPTs can accurately give results before this time. To get the best results, use the HPT first thing in the morning. Your morning urine has the most concentrated HCG levels that are used to predict if you are pregnant or not.

From Consumer Reports, the best brand and highest rated is First Response. The second was Clearblue Easy. Wal-Mart's brand Equate had failed to work in testing. I would not recommend that one at all. It looks like in this case brand name is the best for your money.

It looks like I will be going to Walgreen's after work today to get a First Response. I have been buying Walgreen's generic brand.

Good luck to you all and I hope that you get the results you are looking for.

Sources:

ConsumerSearch
Baby Center
WomensHealth.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HCG Levels at Beta

I only have 5 more days until beta. Some women on the Fertility message boards have received their BFP. Some have high HCG numbers and some have low number. What do the number mean?

Anything above 5 is considered pregnant. Unfortunately some doctors feel that anything lower than 20 is considered borderline. Most doctors feel anything lower than 10 is not a viable pregnancy. I say don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Some women with low HCG on the message boards have gone on to have a healthy full term baby.

Here is the levels at weekly intervals.

3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml
4 weeks LMP: 5 - 426 mIU/ml
5 weeks LMP: 18 - 7,340 mIU/ml
6 weeks LMP: 1,080 - 56,500 mIU/ml
7 - 8 weeks LMP: 7, 650 - 229,000 mIU/ml
9 - 12 weeks LMP: 25,700 - 288,000 mIU/ml
13 - 16 weeks LMP: 13,300 - 254,000 mIU/ml
17 - 24 weeks LMP: 4,060 - 165,400 mIU/ml
25 - 40 weeks LMP: 3,640 - 117,000 mIU/ml
Non-pregnant females: mIU/ml
Postmenopausal females: mIU/ml

In most cases if your HCG level doubles or close to doubles in 48 hours then the baby is growing and the pregnancy is viable. If the HCG level starts to drop it probably means you will miscarry.


Sources:
American Pregnancy Association
Bobrow
Childbirth
Dr.Spock

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pregnancy Symptoms

Since I am on my second week of my two week wait, I thought that I would post some pregnancy symptoms.

  • Sore Breasts
  • Tired a lot
  • Going to the Bathroom a lot and not urinating very much
  • Cramps
  • Spotting
  • Darkening skin around the nipple
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Cravings
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Mood Swings
  • Higher Basel Body Temperature

The a few of the most embarrassing symptoms is my favorite.

  • Gas
  • Cheeseburger Crotch
  • Memory Loss

BabyMed has a great chart specifically for those of us going through IVF and in our TWW.

Remember some women don't have any symptoms at all. Always wait for the official word from your doctor before you have that glass of wine or a huge cup of coffee.



Sources:
babymed.com
fertilityStories
WebMD.com
Parents.com
Healthline.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IVF Medications

I have found that I was not the only one that was taking the shots and had no idea why I was taking anything. I was blindly doing what the doctors told me to do. So I thought that I would give some information on what medication does what.

Birth Control Pills (BCP) - Used to prepare for cycle. Some clinics use BCPs to help put women on a certain schedule.

Lupron - Causes estrogen levels to rise and suppresses ovulation.



    " For ART protocols Lupron is usually given in either of two ways:

    1. In down regulation (Meldrum) protocols Lupron is started twice daily about 7 days after ovulation has occurred, prior to the anticipated ART cycle. When continuous doses of Lupron are given the pituitary gland becomes "desensitized" and stops producing LH and FSH. Estrogen levels then drop. This inhibition reverses upon cessation of Lupron. When the estrogen levels are low, the daily injections of FSH are begun. This FSH stimulates the development of eggs within the ovarian follicle.

    2. The second method is often referred to at the "Flare" or "Garcia" protocol. In this protocol, Lupron is begun once daily beginning on cycle day 2. FSH is initiated twice daily on cycle day 5 to take advantage of the initial Lupron/estrogen response (Flair)."

Gonol-F and Follistim - Are used to stimulate egg growth.

Pergonal, Repronex, and Humegon - Use with women who have trouble ovulating. Are used to stimulate egg growth.

Letrozole and Anastrozole - Used to stimulate ovulation. "They especially hold promise for the select group of women that have deficient mucus or underdeveloped endometrial lining while on clomiphene citrate. "

hCG - Encourages the eggs' final development prior to retrieval.

Medrol - Prepares the uterus for embryo implantation.

Doxycycline - Prevents infection after egg retrieval and egg transfer.

Progesterone - Ensures adequate amounts of progesterone are in the body following egg retrieval until the placenta begins producing its own.

Clomid - Helps women ovulate.

If I forgot a medication, please add yours to the comments. I will try to find information on it if you don't already have the information.

Sources:

Chicago IVF
DocShop.com
Conceptions
IVF Medication List

Added medication 10/22/08:

A medication to add to the list is Ganirelix - It is to keep you from ovulating before ER.

Sources:
follistim.com
Wikipedia.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Eating Dairy While TCC

One women on the message board was told that she should not eat dairy products while trying to conceive a baby. "The Infertility Cure" agrees. But what about all the other research that says differently?

Some reports have said that eating whole fat dairy can help fertility in women. I know that when I read eating regular ice cream helped women become pregnant, I kind of went a little overboard.

Eating whole fat foods can also help you lose weight better than eating the low fat versions. Why? Because the fat makes you feel full and you eat less than the low-fat or no-fat foods.

Innovation Reports quote:
"Researchers in the United States have found a link between a low-fat dairy diet and increased risk of infertility due to lack of ovulation (anovulatory infertility). Their study showed that if women ate two or more servings of low-fat dairy foods a day, they increased their risk of ovulation-related infertility by more than four fifths (85%) compared to women who ate less than one serving of low-fat dairy food a week. On the other hand, if women ate at least one serving of high-fat dairy food a day, they reduced their risk of anovulatory infertility by more than a quarter (27%) compared to women who consumed one or fewer high-fat dairy serving a week."

Some research says that you should only consume dairy that is organic. Hormones that are fed or given to animals can increase infertility problems. It is best to find a store close by or order food online that is organic.

What do you think? Will you eat or drink dairy while TCC? If so, do you intend to buy only organic foods?


Sources:
Article City
WiseGeek
Innovations Report
Concieve Online
Pregnancy Info.net
Baby Center

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ET, Bedrest, and More

This week has been very active already. Last Saturday I did get a call from my doctors office letting me know that 2 eggs were fertilized and that egg transfer (ET) will be Monday.

Monday came and we did transfer two beautiful eggs and the transfer went very smoothly. I was uncomfortable with a full bladder, but no where near as bad as last time. I have been pretty much laying on the couch the last couple of days. Although I did run a couple of errands yesterday afternoon.

I do feel better about this cycle. I am positive that I will have at least one baby if not two to deliver late next spring.

Monday afternoon I did get a call that my great uncle passed away. He had been very sick with cancer. I am sad to see him go, but glad that he is no longer suffering. One of my sisters also had gal bladder surgery. She is fine and home recovering.

Oh, my doctor did do ICSI and assisted hatching. I have been home drinking grape juice and eating a little bit of pineapple.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ER and a little disappointment

Even after all that I have tried, I still only had 3 eggs retrieved today. I am scared that none will fertilize. This is my last cycle since my insurance only pays for 3 cycles. I am worried that even if I am lucky enough to have at least one egg to transfer that it won't stick.

One thing I can say is that no matter what happens at this point, my life will go on. After this month I will know if I will be a mom or go on to something else.

I will keep you posted on how things go.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Uterus Lining

After going through so many miscarriages I was wondering about a couple of things. How is my egg quality and is my lining good. As I normally do, I did my own research and came up some some interesting information about uterus lining.

The uterus lining measurement for a viable pregnancy changes, depending on the doctor. Most doctors like to see at least 7.0mm. The web sites that I found say that anything less than a 6.0 would be very unlikely to produce a viable pregnancy.

INCIID Information says this about IVF medications and how it affect the lining.

"Overgrowth of ovarian stroma (stromal hyperplasia) that produces testosterone in response to luteinizing Hormone (LH). This occurs more commonly in older women (beyond 40 years); in poor responders to gonadotropins (especially when they are given large amounts of LH-containing gonadotropins (e.g. Repronex, Menopur); and in very high responders to gonadotropin stimulation (e.g women with polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Over-exposure of endometrial cells to increased testosterone production (as might occur in all such cases (especially when high doses of LH-containing gonadotropins are administered, reduces endometrial receptivity to estrogen. This might explain why, when the same women ultimately resort to ovum donation or undergo FET's where no ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins is undertaken, the subsequently thickens normally following treatment with estrogen."

Using nitroglycerine skin patches can increase the lining when going through IVF. In my opinion acupuncture would be the better choice.

Acupuncture can help increase the blood flow to the uterus and increase the lining. It can also help with my self diagnosed poor egg quality.

Some Chinese Herbs can help increase a woman's lining. The Infertility Cure goes into some detail about Chinese Herbs, but it got a little confusing to me. It would be best to consult an herbalist before using any herbs.

Studies have shown that the thicker the lining the better results of a viable pregnancy. Most studies say that the best way to increase the lining is through acupuncture.


Sources:

Acupuncture Infertility
Being Well Healing Arts
Acubalance.com
NCBI
PubMed Centeral

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things You Don't Need

I know that this blogs subject is IVF, but sometime I can't help but put out an article for those who do become pregnant and deliver that healthy happy baby or two.

Simple Mom has an article on her web site that lists things that she feels is a waste of time, space, and money. When I was pregnant the first time, one of the message boards listed a bunch of stuff that they never used or didn't use very often. If I can find that list I will post it in another article. For now, check out Simple Mom's list.

I wish all of you going through any kind of fertility treatment good luck and my prayers are with all of you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

3 dt vs 5dt

There has been a lot of talk about what is the best time to transfer fertilized eggs back into the mom, 3 days or 5 days. Most of the research I found depends on the maturity of the eggs, how many eggs were fertilized, and the clinic.

For most clinics, they will do a 3 day transfer no matter what condition just because it works best for them. Other clinics it will depend on how many eggs were fertilized. If you have a lot of fertilized eggs and they are all dividing at the same rate, the clinic may wait 2 more days to see if some divide better and have less fragmentation. Then they will transfer the best back into the uterus.

If you don't have many eggs that are high quality, the clinic may go ahead and do a 3 day transfer. This is because some clinics believe that the eggs will do much better in the uterus where they belong than in a dish.

One research did conclude that the success rate is about the same for both 3 day and 5 day transfers and the twin rate is also the same.

My suggestions is go with your doctors recommendation. In most cases they will know what is best. Below are some articles that I found out on the web. I hope this helps.

Sources:

Human Reproduction

http://www.infertilitydoctor.com/lab/lab_embryo_blastocyst.htm

http://www.sharedjourney.com/articles/3vs5.html

Advances Fertility Center of Chicago

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cycle #3 Update

I have been on menopour, lupron, and gonal-f for a week now. I am starting to get the dull headache from the lupron. I hope it doesn't escalate into the almost migraines that I had on the last cycle. In the last couple of days I have started to feel full in my ovaries and twinges every now and then. I am very bloated and looking like I am 5 months pregnant. I am glad I kept my fat clothes.

I go back to the RE tomorrow morning for blood work and update on what meds I will continue and how much. This cycle is going very fast. I should be going in or ER the end of next week and ET 3 days after that.

I will post another update next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fertility Diet

A friend of mine gave me a December 2007 Newsweek magazine. It has an article about "Fat, Carbs and the Science of Conception".

More than 18,000 women took part in a Nurses' Health Study. Each women said she was trying to have a baby. Over eight years of follow-up , most of them did. About one in six women were able to become pregnant, while some did have trouble. When diets, exercise habits, and other lifestyle choices where compared with those women who easily became pregnant, some key differences became apparent.

Carbohydrates, such as white bread, potatoes, and sugared sodas, increases the odds that you'll find yourself struggling with ovulation. Eating lots of healthy carbs like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and whole fruits can improve ovulation and the chances of getting pregnant.

Eating less artificial fats and adding healthy unsaturated fats can improve fertility. For instance if you ate 2,000 calories a day, 2 percent of calories is the same as two tablespoons of stick margarine, one medium order of fast food french fries or one doughnut. A diet with 2 percent or more in trans fats can greatly decrease fertility.

Eat less animal proteins. Women who ate a diet high in animal protein was 39 percent more likely to have ovulatory infertility. The reverse was true for women who ate a high amount of plant protein.

The Nurse's Health Study found that two servings of whole milk and foods made from whole milk (full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and ice cream) seemed to increase fertility while low fat versions decreased fertility.

Exercise is recommended to everyone except those who are having trouble getting pregnant. Too much exercise can turn off menstruation and ovulation. For women who exercise hard for many hours a week and who are extremely lean, it is recommended that you slow down to a moderate exercise for only 30 minutes a day. If you are overweight you may need to up your exercise to a moderate pace for 60 minutes a day. Too much and too little exercise as well as not enough body fat or too much body fat can cause fertility problems. The Infertility Cure recommends walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes a day. No sit ups or core body exercise which can cause blood flow to flow away from the uterus.

The bottom line, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat beans and other plant proteins and then top it all off with a small bowl of regular ice cream flavor of your choice (well, no chocolate sorry!!!). Then go for a nice walk (this will also help with stress).

Beta Numbers

There is always a question when you get your beta numbers. If the number is lower than expected or higher, what does that mean?

Well if you have anything that registers above 5 units on the scale that means you are pregnant. The number should double every 30.9 hours. That is why you go in for 3 beta numbers.

Here are some web sites that have charts. Some even have charts for twins and triplets.

HCG Levels
Early Pregnancy
WebMd - This web site doesn't have a chart, but it has some really good information
American Pregnancy Association
Stages-In-Pregnancy

I hope this helps with your questions.