Looking for stories of hope and any advice about next steps

So we had our 2nd bfn this week and I am now left pondering what now so I turn to you fab ladies as I hit a bit of a Sunday low with so many questions. We had icsi twice both times same long protocol on NHS. Now our funding is finished. I am 39 and have low Amh 4.6 when first tested however tested at a different clinic after first bfn and it was 9.9. I took dhea after first bfn. Our first cycle we had 2 3 day embryos transferred and the clinic said embryo quality was probably the issue. my husbands sperm is fabbyπŸ˜‰. 2nd cycle was better in that we had a top grade 5 day blastocyst transferred however still a bfn. I now wonder where we go from here. Private clinics obviously and I have made two appointments at two different clinics in the next few weeks so am just gearing up my list of questions now. I guess firstly my wee niggle is is it even worth a 3rd try. My mum yesterday put this thought in my head as she is so worried of a 3rd bfn and to be honest now so am I. I do still have hope so think it is worth another go especially given our 2nd cycle seemed better although still bfn. Have people had success on a 3rd shot? Is 3rd time lucky really a saying I want to cling on too? Also I feared trying same treatment protocol again with no difference made by the clinic only me self prescribing dhea and I was right..are there any questions I should be asking about from experience. .I was never offered an endo scratcH, what is a short protocol, is it worth continuing with my eggs given my age, why has my Amh doubled and should I continue with dhea? So many questions in search of the right thing to do next. I know given we have unexplained infertility I may never get answers but I guess I do wonder why we are not pregnant yet and figure there must be a reason and must be something more I can do to get the baby we so desperately want. Thanks in advance of any stories of hope shared and advice given xxxx

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  • It's so hard isn't it, my thoughts are with you. The good news is that you still have options and your AMH would indicate you're still in the game, so don't give up yet! I'm 39 too, 40 in May and my AMH is 5.5. Also remember you got 5 day blastocysts before, that's awesome! So don't give up.

    I would recommend you ask for the blood tests they give to ladies who frequently miscarry, just to check that all is ok. I've only just had mine done and they've found a couple of things that could be why I've had repeat failures before. It's worth you knowing these things before you proceed. If they find something they can add the treatment to your next cycle plan. I wish I'd had these done right at the beginning rather than now, 3 years in and thousands of pounds down!

    I had the same frustration as you, I was going mad doing the same thing every time and expecting a different result. So each time we added in extra things. Glue, scratch, steroids, blood thinners etc.

    I had 2 private IVFs and I FET with the same clinic and after all BFNS I decided to change clinic's. So it's good your looking around.

    Scratches are supposed to help rough up your lining to make it more sticky and you have them done the month before. There is some evidence to say it drives a better success rate, but again they normally give to women with multiple failed attempts so you don't really know if it was that that gave them their BFP. I did it twice and it didn't work for me, but if you're told it may work you'll give your right arm to try it!

    I get on much better with short protocol, so worth you trying that too.

    I'm just about to have my last free go with the NHS and this will be my 6th go!! Previously we decided to go down the donor egg route and went to Spain, I had 2DE 6day blasto transfer and got a BFN!! Devastated is an understatement, so they asked me to have an Implantation Test (where they test to see if Day 5 is the best day for transfer) and these 2 blood tests, which I'm pleased I did as they showed 2 new things!

    If you can afford to go private then go for it, you are still in the game. If you would like any info on donor eggs or clinic's abroad I can send you some stuff.

    Good luck to you sweetie 😘 xx

  • Hope you don't mind me asking but what sort of things did they find that impacted on your cycled do they think?I have never miscarried never ever had two lines so is that an implantation issue do you think?I will ask about endo scatch for sure.what is a short protocol?thanks so much for taking the time to reply once again the advice I get from here is always so invaluable. I would take any info you had on donor eggs and clinics abroad. .thank you so much. We can afford to go private for one cycle beyond that I am not so sure so really feel I need as much info as possible to make the best possible next private shot. I wish you so so much luck for your next cycle πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€xxxxx

  • I've never been lucky enough to see those magic lines either πŸ˜ͺ so when they suggested these tests I rolled my eyes at first and thought but that's not for me! But now I glad i did them.

    One test revealed I have Prothrombin Factor 2 which is a blood clotting issue, which could causes little clots in my uterus and stop my little embie getting its nutrients. The solution is to take Heparin a daily blood thinner injection alongside all my treatment. I'm my day to day life I will take a baby aspirin every day.

    The other is a test for MTHFR, which is a critical enzyme in the body. It's essential to convert folate and Folic Acid into into its biologically active form. This is critical for fertility and getting pregnant. They have prescribed me a super high dose of Folic Acid and B6 to counter act that. One of the side affects of MTHR is infertility. 40% of the population can test positive for MTHFR so pretty common and worth getting tested.

    Short protocol starts on day 2 or 3 of your cycle and you go straight into stimulation without having to do all the down regulation the month before, which I found gave me big headaches and sent me doolally! I also got my eggs from my short protocols vs my long, so I've stuck to that. I've been told short protocol is used for older women, who have lower ovarian reserve as the long protocol shuts the ovaries down completely and they may take a while to kick start again so using the short version avoids this and you go straight into the stims on day 2 or 3.

    We have found a super clinic in Barcelona, they are brilliant. I was matched with a donor very quickly and it was all seamless. They said I had a 70% chance of success rates and a 50% chance of twins! So we were expecting it to work and were totally up for having twins, should we be so blessed. When we got our BfN they wanted to do all these tests, which the results will be now be useful for my IVF here at home and then to use again if/when we use our 3 Frosties back in Spain. If you PM me your email address I can send you all the info I have 😘

    I have no idea if these things are the reason I've never been pregnant but I guess they are all contributing factors and it makes sense that they would have an impact. Who knows!!?! I'll take anything if I think it will help me have my little miracle!

    I hope these little pieces of info help you on your journey, let me know if I can help in anyway xxx

  • This is so helpful thank you so much. I don't know why short protocol was never considered for us and I will be asking about this and these tests at our consultation next week at the private clinics. I will pm you. Thanks so much xxxx

  • Hi @hannah143 we may be looking at treatment with DE now as we've had 2 failed ivf attempts now with my eggs probably due to my age. Pls could you send me the details of the Barcelona clinic as I'd like to find out more. Thanks so much xx

  • Sure thing, no problem at all. If you PM me your email address I'll send you over what I have xx

  • Don't know if my story will help, but I have been through a fairly similar story. I'm 38 with amh of 5.3 when tested over a year ago. 1st cycle no blastocysts but a slow morula put back - bfn. Much better cycle 2nd time and had 4 blastocysts - fresh and frozen transfer both bfn. A year later we had our 3rd cycle - really poor response, 1 egg and 3 day transfer - another bfn. Now know I have high killer cells and on extra meds for that. Our last cycle has more or less confirmed my eggs are no longer any good and further cycles with own eggs would likely fail. However, it has given me peace of mind that icsi is highly likely to never work with my own eggs and enabled me to move on emotionally to use donor eggs. Of course it's been at a cost of experiencing the pain of more bfn's and i know donor may not give us guarantee of success. I think only you can answer if you are ready to leave behind dream of having a child with your own eggs, and financially what you can afford going forward in terms of number of cycles. I think your consultation with the private clinic should help as well in terms of giving you realistic expectations. I would recommend the scratch though as there is good evidence it increases success with repeated implantation failures. And maybe there are other tests you haven't had done yet through nhs? It is so difficult to make such big decisions knowing what impact your decision may have on your emotional well being and balancing this with hope if success. Xx

  • Thanks so so much for taking the time to reply. I am so very grateful. Did you have endo scratcH? I think we need to look into the possibility of donor eggs and we are discussing it. Given our 2nd cycle was better I really want to hold out hope that I might be able to eek another good egg out for one last go which is why I am trying to get as much info as I can for this 3rd private shot to hopefully give it my absolute all. Thanks again xx

  • I did have the a scratch last time and our consultant recommends it for us. He has been really good at not telling us to have lots of add ons but this is the one with most research on it. Also had tests for clottings and immunes so feel I have been tested for everything possible to give me the best shot at success. Completely understand where you are at. We made the decision to give my eggs a 3rd try as knew there was a possibility of success, especially after a better 2nd cycle. It was to be our last, but have decided we aren't ready to give up! So hard knowing which way to go xx

  • Was your 3rd cycle better than 2nd?sorry you got bfn on that cycle that must have been heartbreaking. .are you going for a 4th cycle? This is my fear..when do you stop??thanks so much for the info going to ask about endo scratcH and further tests at clinic neXT week xxx

  • 3rd cycle was dreadful. Only 1 follicle grew. Got to transfer but bfn. Was a year older which must have made the difference. Now going for donor eggs as very low chance of success with own eggs after I responded so badly xx

  • No advice, I'm afraid, as I'm in the same boat as you, Vic77, but following this post to see if there's anything to hope for.

  • We have to live in hope xxx

  • Hey Vic, I had a scratch done for both cycles as I'd heard so much new emerging research that it was good for implantation. It was wasted on cycle 1 as I had nothing to transfer and bfn on cycle 2 but I'm planning on doing it for cycle 3 again. It's not nice but manageable! When we though our last cycle was our last NHS cycle we looked at private clinics abroad for financial reasons and also started thinking along the lines of donor eggs as we could probably only afford one cycle. That's was quite an emotionally hard time for me to get my head around but thought it would give us the best chance and I know it would feel like my baby once it arrived. It's hard to know when to stop with your own eggs and only you would know when that is. We have friends that have a donor egg little one and theyve been great in telling us all about it when they learned of our fertility struggle. Just in case you arent aware egg donation is anonymous abroad but not in the UK. I have seen a few success stories on here with low AMH so I don't think all hope is gone. Diane the nurse on here has a list of questions that you can take to discuss with clinicians if you PM her your email. So much to think about eh?! Good luck at the two clinics, hope your consultations go well.xx

  • Thanks so much for this info. The endo scratcH I am going to ask about for sure. I have lost all dignity now anyways regarding procedures etc. Yeah donor egg..my dh and I have discussed briefly and will ask more about..think I prefer the idea of anonymous not sure I want to know the gorgeous 25 year old donor..their face would be a reminder that I was old and my eggs dud but maybe that is just how I feel right now. I had Dianas helpful list last time so think I will dig that out and add many more. We are paying for this consultation next week so I am taking my full hour!!! Hope you are well Mrs xxx

  • Hey, all good with me! Just a wee update on the anonymity thing. You wouldnt see your egg donor. The info you get is very basic as you pick traits like hair colour, eyes etc. However it does leave the opportunity for any resulting child to track down their donor later in life should they want to. Our friends went abroad as they didnt like the idea of this but everyone is diffferent. Anyhoo, hopefully you guys dont have to go down this route but just wanted you to have the info!xx

  • I just want to give you the biggest hug.

    I don't know what we'll do if this cycle fails. We don't want to end up spending our entire earnings on constantly saving for IVF treatment. But what if we give up and the third time would have worked.

    If it helps... here's where we are:

    We've already moved to DE IVF. With a less that 1% chance it was an option that was offered before we even started our first round with my own eggs. Low AMH could benefit from this; but it needs to be considered with all other results of yours too.

    I want to make sure if we have a family at some point and we've already discussed adoption. Because it's a two year process and I don't want to be in my 40's when we start it this puts everything in to perspective a bit.

    BFN is a constant fear. I don't think it matters how many times you do it - it always will be and I've never even got that far yet. It's hard to make a plan but I think it will help if you both sit and consider what is important and what you want. In our house this conversation is best when it comes naturally and not "we need to talk about IVF" because it's just hard. And I end up crying!

    I don't think I've given you any hope... but I do think speaking to clinics is the best decision before stopping xx

  • Thanks so much. We have two appointments at two separate clinics next week and week after so between then I will be drafting my list..so much for me trying to not think so much about this and have some time out in the hope that who knows what might happen naturallyπŸ˜‰I'd say I am even more obsessed with Google now than ever before..so you are on your first cycle yeah?wishing you so much luck xxx

  • I'm on my second cycle. But it's my first DE.

    Google is both your friend and enemy! ;-) xx

  • Wow you are so brave. When do you start cycle 2?xx

  • Early April. Don't feel too brave today. Humph x

  • I can understand where you are coming from...

    I'll be 39 at the end of this year and was told in 2014 that my amh was low for my age, it has decreased since then.

    Our story at the same clinic:

    First round, long protocol, 10 eggs injected, 4 embryos fertilised. Day 5 blastocyst transferred and 1 frozen.

    BFP with missed miscarriage - no heartbeat at 9+5 weeks.

    Second round, long protocol (starting on lower dosage to avoid mild OHSS again), 6 eggs collected, 3 injected, 1 transferred at day 2, none to freeze.

    BFN.

    FET round.

    Endo scratch.

    BFP with miscarriage at just over 5 weeks.

    Private third round, short protocol to achieve better quality less quantity, 8 eggs collected and injected, 1 fertilised and transferred at day 3, none to freeze.

    Used blood thinners, steroids and embryogen to throw everything at this round.

    Endo scratch.

    BFN - started spotting 5 days before OTD

    I tried DHEA for this round too. They said my eggs showed debris, so I don't know if the DHEA affected me worse than better.

    They normally say they advise people with failed implantation to have the scratch after a couple of attempts.

    At our last review, our consultant said we had a couple of options, go to another clinic to get a second opinion (clinic recommended by him in London) or consider egg donation. The said with own eggs and round history there was a 10% chance and with donor 50% chance. But then we have the risk of another miscarriage.

    We want to try again. I'm happy to use a donor, but there is always that want in the back of your head to have/use your own...

    We are looking at Access Fertility. They only have one clinic that deal with donor eggs in Manchester (not near home), but their packages offer potential refunds if you don't end up with a baby after all your rounds both fresh and frozen. It's a big initial payment, but in the back of your head, knowing if it doesn't work and getting a part refund takes some of the pressure off..

    X

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story ..that has been so so difficult for you and I am so sorry for your losses you are a very strong woman to keep going and I have so much respect for that. I said to my dh during this 2ww I just didn't think we were meant to be one of those couples with bfn after bfn and that this was our time. My biggest fear is a 3rd bfn and when to stop as financially we can do one go but then I fear it might be throwing money at a dream that is dwindling. Just feel a bit fed up with it all to be honest but all this advice is so helpful in compiling my list of questions. Thanks so so much xxx

  • I don't know where we all find that inner strength from to be honest..

    The clinic that our consultant would recommend us to was actually at the fertility show last year and we spoke to one of the consultants. She basically said that sometimes, two people just cannot have a baby genetically together and you then get to the stage where you have to think, what is the best opportunity for us to have a baby to love as a couple...

  • Yeah true. I just don't want to give up yet on my few old eggsπŸ˜‰xx

  • Me either...

  • Must be so hard vic. Hope you manage to decide on your next step. I definitely think third time lucky xxxx

  • Thanks Mrs it is just so shitty as I felt so positive for round 2 and now left totally devestated and digging deep to find energy and money to carry on xxx

  • I am sorry to know yr ivf didn't work. I would recommend you asking a doc about additional tests to find out the reasons why cycles failed and/or discussing combining yr ivf oe with pgs ngs that might increase yr chances of getting pregnant. Good luck

  • Thanks what are pgs ngs? Thanks x

  • I'm afraid I don't have any useful advice as I'm in the same boat but just wanted to send you a big fat hug 😊 xx

  • Big fat hug received and returned your way❀️❀️❀️xxx

  • I think if I was 39 I would be tempted to have a 3rd try with my own eggs!! U may always wonder if not!! When u go to the clinics show then what protocols u were on & how much things improved so they can assess what meds to do this time based on that & defo continue the dhea.i think 3 goes is a fair shot to be able to say u really tried & who knows could be 3rd time lucky xxx

  • Thanks so much and yes you are right give it a 3rd go own eggs and take advice from clinics over next few weeks xxx

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