IVF update: A date for cycle 2!

An IVF update from our side:

Shortly before I left work for the Christmas break, I had a call from the nurse at our (NHS) clinic. It was K, the loveliest nurse who seemed genuinely upset for us when I had a miscarriage. In fact, everyone at our fertility clinic (the local hospital) was really nice. I guess if you work for the NHS (National Health Service – publicly funded in the UK – we pay via taxes so it’s not entirely free!) you’re really nice (as you aren’t doing it for the money), but K is the nicest nurse of all. She is very cool and young and wears batwing eyeliner so I reckon she’s awesome.

Anyway after being told that we’d be on a four month waiting list, she said we would be starting again in January! January! An amazing Christmas present. I can’t tell you how dejected I was when I realised we’d be on a long waiting list (a year after our last / first IVF attempt which ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks) so it was really great news as they’d been setting us up for April. I’d been researching private clinics so I’m also kind of still interested in what the underlying causes might be. But I think it would be pointless not to take the chance of a “free” cycle. (I have to pay prescription charges etc but it should be cheaper than going private.)

She said I’ll likely be on different stim drugs this time. Last time we did Gonal F which I responded slowly to. This time we’re going to try Menopur. I’m on a similar protocol apart from that. She said they thought that the egg retrieval was okay and fertilisation rate was okay (12 eggs, 6 fertilised… But only one Day 5 embryo to transfer and no frozen). 

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing although I think it’s worth a go. After the first time, I really felt I couldn’t put my body through it again, but I’ve had a whole year (almost) to recover. If my period starts when it’s due to, it means I’d start the down regulation (buserelin) at the end of January and then have the first scan in mid Feb. I guess that means transfer in March. It would be great timing.

My mixed feelings come from this idea that there is an underlying problem why I’ve not ever gotten pregnant on my own. It’s not a case of trying for a year or two. I was in a very long term relationship, I’ve had several partners since and now I’m in an actively trying relationship of a few years (more than two where we’ve been properly trying). I’ve been young and old; I’ve been fat and thin; I’ve smoked/drank and not smoked/drunk and quite frankly I think there must be an underlying reason why a supposedly healthy person can’t get pregnant after around 16 years of being allegedly able to and not taking precautions for the majority of it. 

Historically I have had endometriosis, fibroid(s?), polyps, blocked tube (apparently okay since the HSG but mentioned in my first laparoscopy for endo). Over the past few years I’ve had increasingly heavy periods to the point now that they’re almost unbearable. I mean, they need the most absorbent tampon AND a night time pad and they still end up with me bleeding all over the place. (Sorry: TMI.) Really I sense there is a problem. Also when I was a lot younger I think something came up in a blood test where they said I might have difficulty getting pregnant – this happened when I was with my ex but it was something always in the back of my mind and so that’s why I didn’t really “not try” too hard. It’s why I feel like there must be a problem.

A couple of my blog friends on here have recommended me some further reading. I read Robert Winston’s book on fertility (main message: we jump too quickly to IVF; it is probably better to use less medication and diagnose the underlying issues which can often be treated without IVF) and a weighty tome by Alan Beer, MD who is the leading voice in reproductive immunology. (Thank you to my blog friends for recommending these!)

What’s interesting, particularly about the Alan Beer, MD book is that I can kind of see my history in some of the case studies. The main thing he’s known for is treating recurrent pregnancy loss but he also treats long term infertility. There are a bunch of reasons why your body might not be what he calls “baby friendly” and interestingly one of those is linked to a history of endometriosis. I’ve always had a lot of lower back and abdominal pain – I take a lot of painkillers (I stopped entirely during IVF even when I had any kinds of pain – I didn’t want to risk it) which is associated with endometriosis. And I have the Periods from Hell. 

Anyway there is a place where they do immunology stuff called the Miscarriage Clinic. It’s not Dr Beer but a different doctor who does his stuff. They have a lot of info and testimonials on their website. I found it interesting and called up (back when I thought we wouldn’t have a chance until April). Their first appointment was in February so they’re in demand! And it’s costly: Β£250 for the initial appointment. But something tells me it would be worth trying to get some of the immunology tests even if we didn’t go with them.

Another clinic recommended by one of my blogfriends is one that does the mild IVF (the type where you work with your natural cycle). That appeals to me too as it is something that Robert Winston recommends in his book, that it is better not to overload your body with drugs – and it has a good success rate. It’s also very close to my work and they do open days so we’ve signed up to one in January.

I guess where I’m at right now is that I’m willing to go for cycle 2 on a similar protocol (though different stim drugs). After all, IVF doesn’t work every time so we might just be unlucky. I do feel that some other tests would be worthwhile as it’s pretty obvious that if I have an immune issue that a successful IVF cycle is unlikely – it means even if your embryo is amazing, your body might reject it. I can’t help thinking 16 years of no natural cycle success seems like a low base to start from. 

So… Cautiously hopeful, but not expecting much. I really want to be a success story in 2016 but I’m also thankful for other things going okay. A friend of mine had a close family bereavement just before Christmas – it was heartbreaking to hear about it, and we aren’t even very close friends. We had a wonderful Christmas with both sets of parents and I’m thankful for that, that they’re all still around and happy to spend the day with their grandchildren-less children! And both sets get on pretty well, so that’s nice. (I may do a Christmas roundup but all I can say is: chaotic cooking dinner in a studio apartment! But fun!) We are okay, despite all of the unfun stuff. So that’s what I’m going to be: cautiously optimistic!

Hope everyone’s Christmases were awesome!



  1. ourgreatestdesire

    I’m happy to hear that you’re going to get to give in another try before April! I’d definitely be interested in what the immune testing says but yes, that’s a lot of money out of pocket. Why does everything have to be so expensive?!


  2. countyourselfunlucky

    So glad that you’ll be starting your NHS cycle sooner than originally expected πŸ™‚ Also it’s great that you have a couple of private options ‘up your sleeve’ if needs be. My periods sound very similar to yours – super heavy and super painful and SUPER frustrating! Hugs to you on that. Good luck for 2016, sounds like it’s going to start in the right sort of way. xx


  3. theskyandback

    Well this all sounds great! I am so, so glad you are looking into everything. Immune issues often go hand in hand with endo, so my gut agrees with you that you probably have something going on. One thing is, do you think the NHS would be open to a frozen transfer? Dr. B says that stim meds trigger the inflammation response in endo patients so he doesn’t recommend a fresh transfers for us ladies. Something to think about anyway! I know the NHS has their own rules and way of doing things, so they might not be into it. I’m keeping everything crossed for you! You now know you can get pregnant — we just need to get these baby(ies) to stick and grow healthy and strong! Also, if you want I can send you my list of endo supplements. They are supposed to help with inflammation and such. Email me at theskyandbackblog@gmail.com if you want it. Xo! And yay for January!


    • Nara

      Thank you! I’m not sure about the frozen cycle. They do it but only if you manage to get excess embryos – I didn’t have any to freeze. I will definitely take you up on the offer… I’m out now but will mail you later. Am typing with one thumb – long story! πŸ˜‰


  4. mamajo23

    Amazing news! I am so hopeful for you. I read an article in the NYT recently that was very encouraging about continuing with IVF even after a failure. I think you have a solid plan- I have a gut feeling 2016 is your year!!


  5. Arwen

    Hugest of hugs to you beautiful lady! It’s hard to be hopeful after what you’ve been through but I will be over here,,hanging out south of the m25 holding your hope for you. Xx
    Ps early March transfers can make awesome November babies πŸ˜‰


  6. TryTryAgain

    This is brilliant news!! Amazing that you don’t have to wait months to get cracking again, I’m so pleased for you. You know I’m all for reproductive immunology, but definitely do what feels best for you, and great that you’ve taken the time to do your research. Really looking forward to hearing how you get on xx


    • Nara

      Thank you and thanks for recommending! I’m seriously thinking of making an appointment with Dr S at the miscarriage clinic. Spoke to receptionist who’s checking if it’s worth doing if I’m mid cycle – the first appointment they have is when I’m due to be down regulating. So I’m waiting to see if they think we should talk during that or after. X

      Liked by 1 person

      • TryTryAgain

        That’s great news. I honestly think it’s worth an appointment just to see what you think of the approach, as it is very different to many others. Keen to hear how you get on xx


  7. Recurrently Unlucky

    So glad you won’t need to wait that much anymore! But I think it’s still good to pursue these tests privately, it’s a small price if it helps you (of course we can’t know before paying, but let’s hope so)! I actually looked into this clinic and I’m still considering making an appointment, so maybe we can exchange experiences!


    • Nara

      I agree! It’s expensive but I do feel it would be worth doing the tests and I won’t get them on the NHS. Sorry I’m slow typing today with one thumb so can’t write much – long story! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. RJ

    OMG great news!!!!!! So glad you get another shot sooner rather than later. I have no advice about immune testing but I think it’s a great idea to get everything checked out. I’m a huge proponent of more information being more helpful than not. Good luck!


  9. flatwhitetogo85

    That’s great news that you’ll be seen sooner rather than later. Best of luck for this cycle! I think it’s definitely worth doing the immunology testing. Yes, it’s frustrating having to pay so much money, but if it helps find a “cause” (and hopefully then a “solution”) it will save a lot of heartache and money in the future. If it doesn’t throw up anything it may feel like wasted money, but at least you’d have peace of mind.

    Good luck!x


  10. 30yr old nothing

    Hey, this is really awesome news!!! Like really awesome. What’s the book by Robert Winston called? Does your husband have sperm issues? We also have a good number of eggs and then end with 1 embryo. I’m thinking that we have a DNA fragmentation issue because things go back on day 3 and 4. So far all I’ve read is that anti oxidants help with DNA fragmentation.


    • Nara

      It’s The Fertility Guide. It’s a good overview. Although I feel my issues are longer running (no sperm issues… It’s all me!) so leaning towards reproductive immunology I think. I’m thinking of getting the tests and seeing if there’s any obvious reason, but waiting to hear back from the clinic whether they think it’s worth seeing them even if I’ve started IVF. We are due to start end Jan and the first appointment is mid Feb. We are also going to the open day for another private clinic that does mild IVF, to see what our options are.


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