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Advice on our bumpy / tough road with IVF

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#1 jrivers80

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:33 PM


My husband and I have tried IVF three times  with no success.  I am 36 1/2 years old and my husband is 37.
Our history has been complicated. My husband had a normal sperm count in 2012 and then due to some unknown obstruction his sperm count went to zero in 2014. 
1) Our first cycle was in 2015 --> 20+  eggs were fertilized (Sperm attained through testicular tissue(TESE)),  majority of this embryos  grew well till day 3,  by day 5 only 4 viable  embryos remained.  one was implanted with no success. The lab was able to freeze only one, with no success with FET  three months later.
2) Our second cycle  was in  2016. -->  sperm obtained from  epididymis aspiration, ~15 eggs  fertilized -->  again majority arrested after Day 3. two survived till day 5,  both were transferred,  with no success. 
3) 2017 -->  My husband had a major surgery to determine the source of obstruction and reconstruction.  during surgery it was found that the right epididymis was completely scarred up.  Left epididymis was healthy but obstructed.  obstruction was assumed to be at the epididymis.   reconstruction was done. Following surgery he has had a low sperm count of approximately 1  million/ml.
4)  our third attempt was in 2017,  after the surgery. ~10  eggs fertilized (fresh sperm sample used for ICSI).  5 eggs  survived till day five.  2 were transferred, one frozen.  again no success  With either.
These last three years have been very draining for us emotionally. Our IVF  doctor told us given we have had three unsuccessful cycles,  it is very unlikely <2%  that we can conceive. 
The fact that we cannot have children is very hard to grasp right now.  we have not seen anyone else  and are thinking of getting a second opinion from another physician.  I also wanted to get the opinion of other couples going through similar circumstances and possibly some experts to see if there is anything else we can do?
 My husband's brother  and his spouse could not conceive through IVF after 6+  cycles.  They were eventually able to have children through a surrogate mother  with their  genetic material.  that is something we are also open to. 
I will be very grateful for any help or advice you have.  Also any recommendations  for IVF specialists who might be best suited for us in the northern California area would be great.  Thanks.

#2 mouse


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Posted 08 February 2018 - 09:49 AM


I'm sorry you find yourself on this bumpy road and hope your path turns out to be short and as smooth as possible.  Just as a heads up, the specialists on the site are volunteers and we have been without an andrologist since 2013.  While the site has members from just about everywhere, it is a Canadian site so recommendations on no-Cal specialists may be few and far between. Not wanting to be negative or discourage you from engaging - just don't want you to be left hanging.


Fingers crossed for you!

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Charity gives a meal; justice provides a place at the table.

#3 christinek

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 10:00 AM



So sorry you are going through a bumpy road. My husband and I are going through MFI and he started seeing a urologuist at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto, his name is Dr. Kirk Lo. He is very knowledgable and when a fertility specialist gave us no hope he did. We are now candidates for IVF/ICSI because of him. I wish you the very best of luck!

#4 jrivers80

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 12:19 AM

Thanks for the encouraging words. Right now we are trying to get help from anywhere we can  to figure out what to do next. Thanks again.

#5 Hopeful32

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    1st IVF (IVF Canada) - Sept 2016
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Posted 09 February 2018 - 03:43 AM

It sounds like your problem is getting your own genetic material, which doesn't affect whether you can be the one pregnant. So it's possible that you won't need to find a surrogate.

#6 CrisBelieve

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 07:12 PM

Hello there.


Your story has a lot of similarities with ours.  I am sorry you are going through this.


My DH has children from a previous relationship that were conceived naturally but somewhere along the way, he developed an obstruction.  This was discovered when he did the sperm analysis at the very beginning of our journey and they found zero sperm.  At the time, we didn't know for certain if it was an obstruction or if the testicles were failing.  He underwent a testicular biopsy and sperm was indeed discovered, but it wasn't the greatest quality (sperm only twitching, underdeveloped tails and the heads weren't great either).  It was frozen nonetheless and stored in preparation for my first IVF cycle.


We used that frozen sperm for my 1st cycle and it did yield great fertilization, by day 3 we had most growing well but then things went downhill after that  day 5 and we were left with only 2 morulas to transfer on day 5.   it was a BFN.  Our RE suggested we use fresh sperm for our next cycle so that is what we did.  Sperm was retrieved via TESA on the day of my egg retrieval.  The end result was the same as cycle 1.  We ended up doing another 4 cycles (total of 6) and the results were always the same.  We knew the sperm quality was poor but we weren't sure if this is what was causing our failures.  We also tried the reconstructive surgery.  They repaired the blockage but sperm did not return.  We finally decided to move forward with donor eggs and we did a cycle in April using fresh sperm retrieved via MESA.  We ended up with 2 top quality blasts (first time ever) and I got pregnant with twins. After so many years of thinking the sperm was the culprit, it ended up being my eggs all along.  For us, donor egg was the answer.


In your case, I think there are some stones still left to be unturned.  Have you considered doing PGS testing on your blasts to see if they are normal?  What was the quality of your blasts?  You could also do immune testing to see if there is something that could be contributing to implantation failure.  I don't know which clinics in your area do this but my clinic deals with the Allan E Beer centre for immune tests and they are based in California.  You could also try a DE cycle using your husbands sperm.  Studies have shown that embryos created with young eggs and poor sperm do better than old eggs and poor sperm.  I also think a second opinion would be good for you.


Wishing you all the best.  I know this journey is so hard.  Feel free to PM me if you'd like to chat.  xoxo

More details on our infertility journey in 'About Me' page


Me: 40, DH: 43

TTC for many years - severe male factor - Obstructive Azoospermia


Our 7th cycle brought us the miracles we were looking for.  Our twin girls were born in 2017!  heart.gif heart.gif


Trying for baby #3


Fresh transfer in Feb 2019 = BFN

FET - June 2019

June 25 - transferred one day 6 grade 2 expanded blast

June 29 - POAS...very very faint line!  

July 4 - beta @ 9dpt = 95, beta @ 11dpt = 311, beta @ 13dpt = 646

July 25 - viability scan @ exactly 7 weeks - one baby with heartbeat of 147!  So very thankful.

August 8 - 9 week ultrasound - baby moving around with heartbeat of 170!

August 30 - 12 week NT scan - all looks well with the babe, heartbeat of 155

October 24 - anatomy scan...everything looks great and we are having a babyboy.gif !  So happy!


#7 Tess

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 02:07 PM

I'm sorry you are on a difficult road with IVF and infertility.  We did 3 fresh cycles and 2 frozen transfer, and then turned to a donor egg cycle.  I got pregnant on the first transfer with 2 top quality blasts.


My DH had varying sperm quality throughout the process.  It normalized at some point, but we had considered using donor sperm. 


It seems to me you have a couple of options.  You could try a fresh IVF cycle with half donor sperm and half your DH's sperm.  This would compare the outcomes and see if the donor sperm makes a difference.


Or, you could do a donor egg cycle.  It does not sound like there's any reason you need to be considering a surrogate.  It's much more likely to be a embryo quality issue then a uterine issue, from what you describe.


There's a theory that a healthy egg with good mitrichondria may be able to correct wonky-sperm in the first 5 days of growth.  Studies have shown that very embryos can self-correct.  In fact, there is a recent study that shows abnormal embryos on day 5 can self-correct.  (This has implications for how we handle PGS screening, because they may be tossing embryos that can self correct.)


Anyways, it kind of comes down to time, money, and emotional reserves.  Are you up for another own egg cycle with half donor sperm?  Do you want to go to donor egg?  


I'd ask the embryologist how your eggs look under the microscope.  They can often eyeball a quality looking egg from an older egg that doesn't look so good.  Can you get a phone interview with the embryologist?  This might help you decide if you want to go forward with another OE IVF or move to DE.


I do not think you are at the surrogate stage, unless you have some other issue that could prevent you from carrying.  


Good luck!!