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Fertility Network UK
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Natural FET w/ shorter luteal phase?

Hi ladies,

I was recommended a natural FET for my first transfer, which I’m thrilled about. I just have this nagging worry that the embryo won’t have enough time to implant before my Progesterone starts dropping. I usually have 1-2 days of spotting with an 8-11 day luteal phase. I’ve talked to my consultant and nurse directing my next cycle and they’re not worried about it. No one has ever wanted to test me, including my endocrinologist because she said the drugs I’d take for IVF would make it not matter. But neither of us considered I’d be in this position.

Does anyone have experience with a completely natural FET, not even pessaries with a luteal phase like mine? The Progesterone makes me feel rubbish, so it’s probably worth trying all natural to see if it works. I’m very lucky to have enough Frosties if we had to try again. I’m just afraid of loosing one unnecessarily.

I think it’s probably just my anxiety and I should trust my body to do what it needs to. It would help to hear from any of you who have been in a similar situation. Thank you. Xx

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Hi dear, I'm no expert but for what it's worth I would want to push for progesterone support. I've had very light periods while we've been ttc, none of the doctors seemed concerned but I do feel more confident being on the pessaries. I mean don't get me wrong they're pretty awful and messy (messaries?), but you know what I mean! And at least they're not injections. I was expecting them to make me feel more tired and low mood but don't think they have much.

I am a worrier though and I'm sure your clinic must know best. Maybe you could ask for a more thorough discussion with them as a starting point..?

In either case as you say you're in a great position with so many frosties 😃 xx

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Thank you for your thoughtful response. I know I’m a worrier too, which is why I’ve been questioning my worry. Haha, classic, I know.

I want to just relax and surrender to the process, especially because the Progesterone gives me low mood and makes me lethargic, but I’m having a hard time letting this go. As crazy as it sounds, I love all of my Frosties and the thought of loosing one over something that’s potentially preventable is weighing on my heart. I realise I may need to find a way to let that go. Xx

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They will give me pessaries if I insist, so that’s good. I think right now I’m trying to decide if I should insist or let it go. Honestly, if it was just the inconvenience and mess, I wouldn’t hesitate. It’s the fatigue and low mood that get me and it’s not the way I want to start out my journey if I can avoid it. But of course, I’d do anything for my little embryos. Xx

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Surrendering is so important during this process - and so hard. Ultimately we can only do our best in the moment so whatever you decide try not to look back and regret.

I totally get that each embryo is so precious, no matter how many you have. I was very attached to our little blasto as soon as I saw it. We tried to think that if it didn't work this round that little embie would still have played its part in helping us achieve our dream (sorry this sounds pretty cheesy as I write!) Your health is so important too, for its own sake and for a healthy pregnancy.

Hope the right thing for you will become clear. Good luck 😘xx

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Hi Foodie23, I had a completely natural FET with no medications pre & post-transfer and I'm currently 16+5wks now. I had my mind fixed on trying a completely natural FET since we had 'unexplained infertility' and I had read a lot of successful stories from ladies on this forum as well as others on natural FET. I have a reuglar 28d cycle but like you I have a couple of days of spotting before my normal flow starts and even on the month of my FET I had 2 days of spotting. The nurse as well as the consultant in my clinic gave me the assurance that my body will produce the necessary hormones if the embryo implants and so far my body has managed to do it. I had 4 frozen embryos and I was willing to give my body a couple of transfers/chances with natural FET before moving on to medicated FET. As long as you've regular periods and you ovulate I think you can give natural FET a try as I found it easy on the body and mind. Either way I wish you good luck with your FET.

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Hi ninirk. Thank you for your reply and congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s wonderful you found success with an all natural FET.

I’m curious, do you know what your typical luteal phase length was? I looked back at my cycles and this year I’ve been averaging 9 days. From my research, it takes 5-6 days after a 5 day transfer for the body to start producing HCG and signal to the corpus luteum to keep producing Progesterone. I also have quite light periods, which my acupuncturist is a bit concerned about.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I find input from this group extremely helpful and comforting. I hope you have a smooth, healthy rest of your pregnancy! Xx

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Thank you Foodie23. My luteal phase lasts for about 14 days. Is it possible to ask your GP to do a blood test to check your progesterone level in the luteal phase, I think they recommend approx. 6-7days post ovulation, which could reassure you to go pessary free after transfer?

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My average cycle is between 30 and 35 days with 1 to 2 days spotting before flow and transfer is planned for Thursday for a natural FET with no pessaries. I'm very nervous as during my fresh cycle I bled 8dp5dt but consultant and nurses have said that the success rate for with pessaries is no more than without !! Doesn't stop me worrying about it although the pessaries didn't work first time so maybe nature can do it's thing this time 🤞

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Hey Foodie. I know this was a while ago but I am wondering if you got anywhere?? I have spotting too and have long suspected that my progesterone is dropping off too early in my luteal phase. Day 21 levels are all good but the mechanisms are more complex! I wanted more testing but it just isn't done. I also spotted before my OTD on my fresh even on progesterone. xx

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Hi recidwen! I know how frustrated you must be feeling. It's unbelievable the lack of understanding about the luteal phase among doctors and even the fertility clinics. The first thing I did was educate myself by looking through a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the American version. Empowered by this new knowledge, I went back to my private endocrinologist and layed out all the evidence. Thank God she agreed I likely have a luteal phase insufficiency and ordered the tests I'd need to properly investigate.

I'm currently about to wrap up testing. We tested oestradiol on my LH peak day and again on CD3 and I've been getting a Progesterone test every other day since my peak day ending when my period starts. We also tested LH on peak day and I've requested a prolactin test, which could be the cause of a luteal phase deficiency. My doctor might want to wait until the deficiency is confirmed to order that test though. I have another appointment with my endocrinologist on Friday to go over the results and plan accordingly for my FET.

My GP only offered a twenty one day Progesterone test stating they wouldn't know how to analyze a series test. I called both IVF clinics in my area and they said they would take a series of Progesterone tests for me, but I'd have to find someone else to analyze them. No one even knew what I was taking about. The thing is, a twenty one day test is only accurate if it's performed seven days after ovulation. It also doesn't give you a full picture of what's happening in the luteal phase. It's much more effective to do a series test, although you'll likely have to go to a private endocrinologist. However, I figured it would be worth the expense, especially if we find out we'd just be wasting our IVF tries on a faulty luteal phase that has no chance at supporting implementation.

If you're interested in the book I mentioned, PM me and I'll scan and send you the relavent pages. It isn't too many.

Good luck and I'll let you know how this all turns out. Xx

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