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Fertility Network UK
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Testing after two IVF failures

Hi

I have just completed my second IVF cycle which sadly failed again. We are v lucky that we will be funded for a further cycle under the NHS which will probably be FET this time.

I was wondering for anyone else who has been in this position of repeat failures whether they did further testing such as immunology testing / Natural Killer cell testing? We would have to do this testing privately. Is it worth the expense as I hear it is a lot of ££££ to do this testing? xx

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Emily near me in Coventry they do it and it's not that pricey I'll find you the clinic xx

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We had literally everything tested after our second failure except sperm fragmentation (cos the treatment for that is vitamins so we bought the vitamins). It cost £3000. Which is loads. It feels worth it if the find something.

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Ps if it's fet then it would only really be worth testing things which could affect implantation. You can have nk cell testing as a blood test or in Coventry as a uterine cell test as oliverl suggested. Have a look at the hfea website as they have a section on the evidence so far about some of the treatments available for conditions found through extra tests.

Also did you ever have a laparoscopy in your early stages of investigation? This can also help and can be done on the nhs xx

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And ps again before you shell out for anything, check what the treatment is for anything that comes back positive and make sure it's something you can do on an NHS round. For example, my tests came back saying I should have steroids but I can't have them on an NHS round as you are not allowed extras like that.

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No I have never had a laparoscopy. I will ask in our follow up appointment whether that's something I can have done xx

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Could I ask which vitamins need to be taken for sperm fragmentation? X

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My clinic recommends two varieties, both expensive. I can only remember the name of the ones my hubbie takes, Condensyl. We got them online. They're a complete preparation, saving having to take loads of different tablets. Not sure what's in them tbh, just following clinic advice!

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Thanks Lizzie xxx

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I know how u feel and we considered testing further after our 2nd bfn however I would be cautious. A lot of these tests have no scientific evidence based to suggest they are the cause of your infertility. While we were desperate to know the cause of our infertility I worried that more testing whichay or may not show something could cause more stress. I feel that as hard as it can be we do need to sometimes accept in this ivf world things are often unexplained. I guess I have accepted it is most likely my age xx

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Chromosome testing is scientifically recognised though @vic77. We were advised that 2% of the general population have a chromosome disorder but this figure is much higher in the case of infertile men. It's about £250 for the blood test per person. Turns out my hubbie has a chromosome translocation which has opened up different avenues of treatment for us. His sperm tests were all very positive but they can't see chromosomes in sperm. Just mentioning it in case you decide it's worth doing for you guys.

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Ps I totally agree about the potential of more tests causing more stress though... and we also worried about causing guilt and feelings of failure if something were found.

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I was thinking more the nk killer cell tests after that panorama show that highlighted no scientific evidence based for expensive testing xx

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Thanks vic77. Best of luck for your test tomorrow. I have all my fingers and toes crossed for you. Xx

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I think it's definitely something you could discuss with your consultant, I asked mine about NK testing but he isn't keen on the tests as doesn't believe they give accurate enough results - he did however agree for me to go on steroids which is the same treatment.

Have you had an endo scratch before? Lots of women share many success stories after having them and they are meant to help with implantation, it is something you'd have to pay for but maybe not looking as much as other tests xx

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Thank you v much all for your advice. We will have our follow up appointment in about a months - 6 weeks time so will discuss with the doctor then and will go armed with questions. No I haven't had an endo scratch but that's something our clinic recommends after two failed cycles. Also I want to try glue as well assuming you can do that with a FET.xx

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Hey, I'm assuming that you got some to freeze after your second round of IVF which is a good sign in terms of egg quality. Have you had any issues with numbers of eggs or quality of eggs so far?

The scratch is good idea, albeit painful, glue isn't proven to actually work but i found you throw whatever you can at it to try to make it stick.

Other tests I had were bloods, one test which revealed I had Prothrombin Factor 2, which is where my blood has a higher propensity to clot vs the average. For this I have to now take an aspirin every day and then inject blood thinners during IVF. This is to help with blood flow to your uterus during implantation.

The other blood test was MHTFR, which revealed that I do not absorb B vitamins or Folic Acid properly and I now take a super strength dose of both. These are really important during pregnancy.

I also had a ERA test to see if Day 5 was my optimal transfer day. They take a biopsy of my lining on day 5 and run it in the lab to see if that's the best day. Apparently about 30% of ladies have a displaced implantation window.

I also take all of the Zita West pre-conception vitamins which you can buy in a pack, this contains Vit D, DHA, plus 2 different multi vits. Who knows if this works but it makes me feel my body is running at its optimal.

There is no silver bullet so it's a bit of test and learn and each time you learn something new and try something different. The only thing I can say is that my last FET (with DE) was the only time that I have been on all the meds listed above and it's the only time I've ever been pregnant, albeit a chemical pregnancy.

I hope that helps a little

Xx

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Thanks Hannah. Yes it's quite good that we have two frozen embryos. One from each cycle. They are only average quality whereas this cycle the embryo was good b+/b+. Still I have heard FET can have better results than fresh. We haven't had to much issue with eggs - 11 on first cycle and 10 on second which is more than the consultant thought I would get due to my low AMH for my age (33). I had to do blood thinners and take aspirin on both cycles. All the best for your journey!xx

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Yes that's a great result, I've never got that many! Well that should help you focus on the other areas that It may be. Good luck xx

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If you search on youtube there was a really good documentary on this called BBC Panorama- inside Britain's Fertility Business 2016. Maybe this can help answer some questions xx

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Thanks Elou. I will look this up xx

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Personally I would ask for Endo scratch before transfer (to help with implantation) and embryo glue. You may have to pay a little more for these but they are well worth it.

Also, on a personal level, I asked my consultant whether NKC (Natural Killer Cells) or my Thyroid may have played a part. She almost laughed at me. However, my oh and I insisted she did a Thyroid Function Test (bloods) to 'rule it out'. My consultant was so laid back that she didn't bother to do the Thyroid Test until 4 days before my FET transfer. Everything up to this point was looking good, paid £500 for the Endo scratch, all scans looking good everything. I phoned up to get results on the Friday (expecting them to be 'nothing... as we expected) and a nurse told me my FET for the Tue was cancelled as my test results came back too high. I'm still waiting 3+ months later (on medication) for my blood count to come down. If it wasn't a "no big deal" why did they cancel it all after 3+ weeks of IVF treatment.

Please ask for Thyroid Function Test as well - even at local GP to hopefully rule this out.

Best wishes xx

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Thanks v much Music1 for your advice. I definitely want to do an Endo scratch and embroyo glue. How frustrating that your consultant only did thyroid testing at last minute. My thyroid is slightly underactive according to the consultant so have been on Levothyroxine for the last 6 months. My NHS doctor doesn't agree it's underactive but I explained to him I have only been told to take it when trying to concieve. I hope your blood count comes down soon and you can do your FET. Best wishes to you too xxx

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I am sorry your IVF-s have failed. Myself I know a few ladies who were in the same boat. From what I know they did karyotyping and vit D tests, as implantation was the issue. One lady combined her 3d IVF with PGS NGS, and one another did acupuncture before and during her cycling. Both got pregnant, and gave birth to a healthy baby. Good luck

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Thank you. I have done acupuncture both cycles so might give up on that and try reflexology. I definitely felt like the acupuncture helped improve my lining before collection.xx

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