After our second loss we were really starting to wonder if it was a streak of bad luck or possibly something immune related. We were transferring genetically tested HIGH quality blasts – something didn’t seem right.
In March of 2017 I made an appointment with my state side fertility doctor, Dr. Trolice. I thought if anyone could figure out what was going on, it would be him! We drove to Orlando for our appointment and we were SUPER excited; we were FINALLY going to have an answer to our questions! I brought up my concerns and almost immediately I was told that my losses didn’t count as recurrent pregnancy loss because I’ve only lost 2 pregnancies, not 3 (for some reason, with most doctors, 3 is the magic number for “official” recurrent pregnancy loss). It was also during this meeting that I found out he doesn’t support the reproductive immunology idea. He basically chalked my losses up to bad luck/unexplained. We felt he was REALLY pushing us to do an egg donation cycle. I would have had NO problem doing an egg donation cycle IF I would have had a reason as to why I lost two pregnancies in a row, but without that solution, we refused to pay $20K for another blind gamble. He was NOT happy that I went overseas to do a fertility cycle and he told us that “you get what you pay for”, implying our losses COULD be due to an inferior experience. Looking back, I’m still not sure why he said that or feels the way he does about it. We were kind of in shock. Yes, it is MUCH less expensive to do treatment overseas, but I can PROMISE you, it is not an inferior “product” or experience and I personally know multiple women that have had healthy pregnancies and babies from Reprofit. Our health care system here is WAY out of whack – I could go on and on about it, so I’m just going to zip it lol! I do want to say that I LOVE Dr. Trolice, but that day definitely changed the way we viewed him. It was almost like he didn’t want to be a part of our journey anymore UNLESS I was going to cycle with him. We had to push VERY hard for him to agree to do just basic immune testing to see if I had a clotting factor in my blood.
Here’s the deal…if you do any research on how/if your immune system effects your fertility you will find there are two distinct sides – those who believe and those who don’t. There are some doctors that have dedicated their practice (Dr. Kwak-Kim and Dr. Braverman) to helping those of us with immune related fertility problems and yet there are other highly acclaimed doctors that think it’s all hocus pocus (Dr. Trolice). The basic theory is that your immune system sees the embryo as a foreign body and attacks and kills the embryo. After doing a TON of research and speaking to many women that have had successful pregnancies with treatment after multiple losses, I firmly believe that your immune system CAN play a role miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss.
I got my tests back from Dr. Trolice and everything seemed pretty normal as far as clotting goes. I have an AMAZING OBGYN, Dr. Miller, that does believe in reproductive immunology and she agreed to run some additional basic tests for me. Those tests came back ok, but a little on the high side. I also had some genetic testing done and I tested positive for the MTHFR gene mutation!
VERY quick and basic rundown of MTHFR (no, it’s not an abbreviation for a swear word, but it IS a mother f*cker if you have it!) –
MTHFR is a gene mutation that affects the way your body processes folate. It often doesn’t present any obvious problems but many women that have this mutation often find out after repeated miscarriages or stillbirth. Research has shown that the MTHFR mutation can cause blood clots during pregnancy between the growing placenta and uterine wall which prevents transport of nutrients to the baby. It can occur early in the pregnancy when the fetus is super vulnerable causing repeated miscarriages or later in the pregnancy when a clot forms in the placenta or umbilical cord and causes stillbirth.
There was some additional testing that I wanted to have done, but it wasn’t covered under insurance AND was super crazy expensive (over $3k for one test alone!). I also REALLY wanted to be seen by Braverman or Kwak-Kim, but once again, they are NOT covered by insurance (at least in my state with my insurance) and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $5,000 for a Dr.’s visit – one that could possibly still tell me they don’t know what’s wrong.
In doing my research, I learned about a clinic that does embryo donation in Barbados! Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Europe and the Czech Republic, but the thought of a quick flight to the Caribbean was sounding pretty good! I did a phone consult with their Dr. and she reviewed my records and she too agreed that it sounded like an immune issue. She agreed that it would be nice if I could afford to get the extra testing done, but said that regardless, my treatment would be THE SAME!! She gave me her general Immune protocol which consisted of adding Lovenox (blood thinner) and Prednisone (steroids to lower my immune system) and Bromocriptine to my current cocktail of baby aspirin, estrogen, progesterone and antibiotics. I ultimately decided to NOT go with that clinic – partially due to cost (still about $2,000 more than the Reprofit) and I wasn’t crazy about the embryo selection they had available at the time. I DID however hold onto that immune protocol and sent it to my doctor in the Czech Republic. He agreed to do a cycle using the immune protocol and scheduled my next cycle for June!!