On Monday, February 17, we had our “what the heck just happened?!” follow-up appointment with our fertility clinic after our first transfer via embryo adoption failed. Our clinic offers this appointment for free after a failed transfer, which is incredibly generous and obviously very helpful in a time like this. The whole drive down, I was a ball of nerves. Gone are the days of having peace about anything. We went with many questions and bruised hearts.
Oh, and we only have one embryo left, so we went feeling super defeated upfront. I know it only takes one embryo to have a baby, but our track record really stinks so it’s not very encouraging.
But can I be truthful for a second? I am incredibly thankful that we didn’t transfer both at the same time, because knowing our new plan, we could have lost both of them at the same time and that would have been even more devastating.
Also, before someone says “why are you still trying to grow your family this way when it failed the first time and you’ve already been through so much loss?” Listen to me. It’s up to us and God how we grow our family… thank goodness it’s not up to someone else. We adopted TWO embryos and both deserve a chance at life. We love them both. And statistically, your chance of success goes up with more transfers. That’s not super encouraging when you first start this journey, but it is encouraging when you’ve already had one failed transfer. Truthfully, statistics are in favor of your third transfer. It’s most likely to take, and I don’t know why other than changes in protocol, but that’s the science.
So back to our follow-up appointment…
We sat down with our doctor and expressed our concerns about this being our last embryo and what if I go through all of this body prep only to show up on transfer day to find out the embryo didn’t survive the thaw. He was very encouraging and explained that their freezing process and their standards for what they freeze are very high, and they don’t typically see this happen. It doesn’t mean it can’t, but it was encouraging to hear that they just don’t see this happen, and we can expect to show up the day of the transfer to a healthy 4AB day-6 embryo.
We discussed my allergic reaction to the sesame oil in the PIO. I showed him the picture of my reaction and he winced. We talked about the fevers I was getting from it and how my reaction was super itchy and hot to the touch. He confirmed that I absolutely cannot use it again and that we need to change to ethyl oleate next time. It’s more expensive but will be worth it for my safety. I can’t go through that again.
I brought up whether an endometrium scratch was a good idea because based on the research I’ve done, it doesn’t look like it improves the odds of success enough so I wanted to know his experience with his own patients. He didn’t seem convinced that it would be a good idea either. Sure, we could do it, but there just isn’t enough research to make that pain and cost worth it. We also discussed the ERA (an endometrium biopsy to determine receptivity to progesterone), and again, based on the fact that I have been pregnant several times now, it doesn’t seem necessary. He typically does it on people who aren’t getting pregnant at all and said he could do it if I’d like the peace of mind, but since he didn’t seem convinced, neither did I. So that was a few things we kicked out the door right off the bat.
But when I brought up intralipid infusions as an option, he was totally on board!
An intralipid infusion is an IV administered a week before transfer and afterward that blasts you with fatty acids to help ward off any natural killer cells that could attack the embryo. After you’re pregnant, you continue these sessions every 4 weeks to help prevent miscarriage. Here is more about it: This May Be the Miscarriage Breakthrough We’ve Been Waiting For
Intralipid infusions are expensive. They will cost $250 per session and I will need several. However, I found out some good news from the clinic when we met with the financial advisor! Number one, the second transfer won’t cost as much. Since the embryo is already mine and we don’t have the backend administrative work of transferring them from a donor to my name, it’s a cheaper FET by like $800! Number two, I apparently have a $400+ credit with the clinic because insurance unexpectedly paid for something I had already paid for! A blood lab or something… we have no idea. Since my insurance changed in January, we can’t even go back and see what it was, but I don’t even care at this point. That $400+ covers almost two of the intralipid infusions!
In terms of the rest of my protocol, nothing else needs to change. I responded beautifully and exactly as he wanted me to the entire time we prepped for the last transfer. I’m talking textbook perfect. A change at this point is really unnecessary, but adding the intralipid infusions could help give my body the boost it needs to be more receptive to the embryo.
In terms of paying for another transfer, we have all the money we need as of right now, which is a HUGE blessing. We unexpectedly had some money come in that we didn’t think would arrive anytime soon (if ever), and it helped fund the last half we needed for another transfer. This was without touching our tax return, so now we can save that for any other unexpected expenses that may arise.
When I got my negative blood test on February 7, I had already taken progesterone that morning so I stopped it the next day. My fevers immediately stopped, and within 2 days, I started a new cycle and birth control. So this means we’re already lined up for a new transfer! The doctor gave me another prescription for the birth control just in case I need it for timing, but I am hoping I won’t have to fill it. As of right now, I am waiting on my next schedule from my nurse, and hoping to be told to stop birth control this weekend and to schedule my baseline. Here’s hoping…