Fertility Network UK
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So upset! "egg batching" &3-day transfers/poor responders

Hello all,

We had our first round of IVF/ICSI earlier this year, which sadly resulted in a late miscarriage of twin boys from severe TTTS. I was labelled a 'poor responder' in the first round of treatment as only 4 eggs were collected (this was secondary to our problem which saw us go for IVF as my husband has a very low sperm count), so I had a 3-day transfer, which got me pregnant. There were no embryos for freezing.

At our recent follow-up appointment (the first after the miscarriage) we were told by the consultant that as I had responded poorly to treatment the next round of IVF/ICSI would need to be through "egg batching" where I would need to do two simultaneous months of stimming/taking eggs in between, the eggs would then be frozen as they would want to grow them to a 5-day transfer (as "5-day transfers are more likely to work than 3-day transfers"). There would be no guarantee throughout that any of our eggs would grow to 5-day embryos, and we wouldn't "be allowed a 3-day transfer" so would have to be aware that this was the risk we were taking.

This procedure would cost us over £20,000. I asked for statistics, which the embryologist then sent me. This procedure has been performed so few times by the clinic over the last few years and the statistics aren't a lot better than their statistics for normal rounds.

Are clinics now routinely refusing 3-day transfers? Is it even right to let the embryos all die off if it looks to the embryologists as though they won't make it past 3 days so the patient has nothing to transfer?

We were just so surprised by the consultant's reasoning (especially as I had got pregnant on a 3-day transfer the first time around).

Has anybody been in this position before? In all honesty, my husband and I were very shaken up as we felt that our position was being taken advantage of (especially as we were coming from this second round from a very vulnerable place having had a very traumatic miscarriage).

We have put in a complaint with the clinic (the embryologist herself was surprised that this was the only option being offered to us as the clinic should agree to do what we wanted even if it meant a 3-day transfer and I don't know why Natural IVF couldn't have been offered to me as an option - the clinic also has this on their treatment plans) and will raise it with the HFEA but we are feeling awful that we are now in the process of starting everything again with another clinic.

A miscarriage after IVF is just so horrendous in any case because of everything you have to go through to get there and now it just feels as though we are back to square one (but worse than that).

Is there any hope for me now being a poor responder for any future IVF rounds? The way the consultant was speaking, and offering such an expensive and stressful procedure, just knocked me for six.

14 Replies
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Hi there, I know very little about ivf/icsi in comparison to other people but I've got to honest your post astounded me in terms of what consultant said, I've not heard anything like that in the other posts I've read and a book on ivf I've got. In my (very humble) opinion I would've thought that if you got pregnant in those eggs then that's great and there's no reason why you shouldn't again. Be interesting to see what others comment?

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And the whole 5 day versus 2 or 3 day isn't the be all and end all. From what I've read it can help see how the embryos develop to then choose the best one(s). Lots of people did, and do, get pregnant on 2 and 3 day embryos. I would think this consultant shouldn't be allowed to bully you into a set treatment. In the book i read one consultant wrote that as long as a woman had eggs why shouldn't she try. You got pregnant so they can't be that bad? I would consider another clinic. Xx

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Thanks Bibble-2016 we are indeed looking at another clinic it's just so demoralising to go through all the new tests at another clinic and get to know them and it will delay our ivf cycle by a few months - we were all geared up to start again.

We think that the clinic is doing some sort of clinical trial into this new procedure and to recruit us we were told it was the only option left for us (and wow at what a hefty price tag...)

TTC and the whole IVF malarky is just so awfully stressful and when you feel you are misadvised/taken advantage of by the people who are meant to be helping it just make the entire journey feel so much more lonely, awful and distressing. xx

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Are there any other consultants there, or are there other clinics within the same 'brand' you could go through so as not to have to start again? It is very disappointing and hard work having to be on top of all this when you just want someone to help and advise you right and on a fair way. Infertility and ivf is hard enough without these extra hurdles and battles ☹️ Xx

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No unfortunately not - we changed from our original consultant at the same clinic for a similar issue (we made it clear on our first round that we didn't want IMSI added to our treatment as it was an extra £600 and it's not scientifically proven and when we got our bill for IVF it had it included anyway - of course we got it removed straight away...) It's a major shame as the clinic is one of the best with fantastic statistics but our trust in them has been completely and utterly destroyed. Yes it really is so hard without these battles it's so incredibly lonely and hubby and I feel so completely crushed after this latest setback xx

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I would get a second opinion from a different clinic

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It's a news to me too. Have not ever heard or read about it. So sorry you are experiencing this. Do you mind me asking what TTTS means?

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Thanks mupcake. TTTS is a very rare condition only affecting identical twin pregnancies - it's something to do with the way that the placenta forms - one twin gets too much blood, the other too little blood. It was just pure bad luck :-(

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Hi, I am in similar position - recently had a miscarriage after icsi and we are truly devastated. However having done a lot of reading and research in the last week I am certain that our icsi led to miscarriage due to chromosome/genetic issues. For this reason we may go for natural ivf on next round - I don't like the idea that icsi is forcing pregnancy and not giving the ability for the natural selection of both the egg and the sperm. I have no idea if it will work but the clinic I am looking at focus on quality over quantity so it doesn't matter if you only get one fertilised egg as long as it's a good one. I am horrified by a £20k price tag with little or no evidence it will work. Have you looked elsewhere for options? I do agree that you are being taken advantage of, I am not sure at how many weeks you had the miscarriage but surely if you got that far that's a good sign?! Consultants make me so angry sometimes, after my mc I am only angry that it took us over 2 years to get to treatment stage and they wasted so much time with nonsense! Sorry for rant, hormones all over the place..... 😢 xxxx

Ps just saw one of your replies above, the clinic I am looking at offers fertility mot in one day (all together) then treatment within on next cycle. I don't know where you live but I can send details over?

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Lilli you might want to get chromosome tested together with your partner before your next round- it's only about £500 for you both to be karotyped and it's a simple blood test x

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Never heard of that, thanks Lizzielizzielizzie we might try that. I'm nervous of going for icsi again although appreciate it works for some people second time around. I am avidly again against medication so looking forward to seeing what happens on a much more gentle (& incidentally cheaper!) cycle xx

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So sorry to hear that you have had a miscarriage too - it really is a devastating thing to go through, especially when you have had to go through so much to get pregnant in the first place. I am with you on the ICSI thing - I am sure that's what caused our egg to split and cause identical twins in the first place (it can make it more likely) - we only lost them because they were twins (a problem with unequal blood flow with 2 babies sharing the same placenta)- if the egg hadn't have split in all likelihood we would still be pregnant with a singleton - we got to 16 weeks. Thanks yes it was a good sign we got pregnant in the first place. There are some good consultants out there I know but I think that we had bad luck to stumble into a few wrong 'uns unfortunately (very scary as this clinic is very good) and it just leaves me feeling very awful indeed that there are people out there who are trying to cash in to the fertility thing - they are taking advantage of the fact that we are going through this and using their centres as a platform to do research and charge you exorbitant fees on top of it. If you're going to use me as a guinea pig for your research don't charge me £20k for it! We are in London but have made an appointment with another clinic now that specialises in poor responders to see what they say. Yes, we felt that the beginning of our fertility journey was delayed by doctors not taking concerns seriously, so I understand why you are angry at the consultants.

I really hope that you're taking care of yourself in the aftermath of your miscarriage it's such a terrible time it sounds like it might still be early days for you, sending you a big hug xxx

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I only got three mature eggs on my first round and the clinic changed all my drugs and the timing of my trigger shot (37 hours before instead of 36). I got 9 eggs on my second go and 6 fertilised. Seems ridiculous to me that they won't try that first. X

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That sounds really positive - just goes to show! Yes, I'm sure that there is stuff the clinic could do rather than this "embryo batching" - it really is a case that they are doing some studies into it I think and using their clients to further their interests. I was still taken aback that the consultant sat there telling me this was now the only option (seeing as I'd been pregnant with twins from whatever protocol they had used on me the first time around!!) x

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