1st post, sorry so long........

1st post, sorry so long........

Joined: September 5th, 2011, 12:16 am

October 23rd, 2011, 7:01 pm #1

I have been an avid reader of this board in the few months since I found it but never posted. We will be doing our 1st DE cycle next month and I have one nagging concern that I cant put to rest. Sorry for length of post but have to provide a little history..TTC for nearly 10 years, turning 40 in a few months, diagnosed with tubal issue & recently DOR but otherwise healthy. Tried 3 OE IVF cycles, got only 5-6 eggs each cycle but had good fertilization and in each cycle had 1-2 good looking embies at day 3, none of which made it to blast. RE feels strongly this is an egg issue & recommended DE. We talked to a couple of other clinics that did not offer any dissenting opinions so we decided to proceed with same RE & DE. We have a lot of faith in our RE as he has great stats and is overall pretty awesome, an opinion that has been validated by others on this board.

However, I have read a lot about good looking day 3 embryos that fail to develop to blastocyst could be male factor. DH has morphology at the very bottom of normal range and a small varicocele that neither RE or urologist think is hindering. He is also a long time tobacco user, a habit hes been trying to kick but it still lurks. I have discussed with RE who feels strongly it is an egg issue but has also said the only definitive way to know is to do genetic testing on our embryos which of course would require another cycle with OE, or to try with a proven donor. Were about to do a DE cycle with a 2 time proven donor. Because of my inability to let the MF concerns go, RE proposed an option of using both DH & donor sperm so that if it turns out to be male factor, we could still end up with good embies from the donor sperm.

I am struggling with whether or not to use this added safety net. DH is not crazy about the idea but would probably concede if I pressed. Perhaps theres still a part of me that hasnt come to terms with the failures of my own body and thats why I cant let the MF thing go. However, I fear that if this does turn out to be MF and DE fails, I will be resentful given the continued tobacco use. I feel I have given up so much in this journey, and that the inability to overcome the tobacco usage and potentially improve our odds is selfish. Dont get me wrong, DH has been unbelievably supportive and yes, the failures have been difficult for him too but if we find out that MF has in fact been at play via another failed cycle, I dont know that I will be able play the part of supportive wife. We are paying out of pocket, funds are tapped and this is our final hoorah. When we first found our donor we were both very excited & positive and finally hopeful again. DH still is all of these things but it seems that the closer the cycle gets, the more foreboding, stressed and depressed I feel. Not a good way to start a cycle. Has anyone used DH & donor sperm in a single cycle and if so did you know which made the better embryos or did you just take the best and not ask whose swimmers made them?

Appreciate any thoughts or insights from anyone that would share.
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thesameboat
thesameboat

October 23rd, 2011, 8:05 pm #2

I went through everything you're going through. Our original dx was male factor but I was a surprisingly very poor responder. DE was supposed to be the cure, but we had failure after failure and could not figure out why. I never got a bfp. Not a hint of one. We started transferring 3 blasts at a time, everything still looked perfect, but no pregnancy. We even did PGD to make sure the embryos were chromosomally perfect.

Finally, I went to a reproductive immunologist to be tested for immune issues. She found some minor things, (double hetero MTHFR, ANAs, chlamydia test was positive in blood although the vaginal swabs had always been negative) and she set me up with some blood thinners, antibiotics and steroids.

DH and I had a long talk and, because we were SO TIRED, decided to, against our RE's wishes, use donor sperm on half of the eggs retrieved from our 4th donor. We transferred 3 blasts, 2 from donor sperm and one from DH, and I got pregnant! But my hcg never doubled properly and the embryo didn't develop properly, just grew and grew but never became a baby. I went off the meds and m/c in the 9th week.

The RI then said that we needed to tweak the meds a bit. She upped the steroids, added other meds and some OTC stuff, etc. I INSISTED on having my progesterone tested, since the last time it was very low after transfer. (Previous tries it had not been tested.)

We once again used donor sperm on half and transferred two from the donor sperm and one from DH's sperm and got a healthy child. We have never tested her to see if she came from DH's sperm. In the end we transferred 18 embryos to get this child. 2 were from me, 16 were from 5 egg donors and 4 of those were from 2 sperm donors.

She could not be more ours. We sometimes forget. I know that sounds hard to believe but it's true.

I wish I had advice for you but I don't. I think your fears are realistic. It might work with your DH's sperm. It might be immune issues. I suppose you COULD ask that just 2-3 of the eggs be fertilized with proven donor sperm and frozen early, so you'd have that as a back-up plan. I probably wouldn't, though, for the first DE try, unless you think you couldn't do a second try.

I hope you find your solution and have a shorter road now to get to your child.

I know there is another poster here who had 4 donors and didn't find success until turning to donor sperm.

Wishing you all the best of luck.
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Joined: August 17th, 2005, 11:44 pm

October 23rd, 2011, 8:12 pm #3

I have been an avid reader of this board in the few months since I found it but never posted. We will be doing our 1st DE cycle next month and I have one nagging concern that I cant put to rest. Sorry for length of post but have to provide a little history..TTC for nearly 10 years, turning 40 in a few months, diagnosed with tubal issue & recently DOR but otherwise healthy. Tried 3 OE IVF cycles, got only 5-6 eggs each cycle but had good fertilization and in each cycle had 1-2 good looking embies at day 3, none of which made it to blast. RE feels strongly this is an egg issue & recommended DE. We talked to a couple of other clinics that did not offer any dissenting opinions so we decided to proceed with same RE & DE. We have a lot of faith in our RE as he has great stats and is overall pretty awesome, an opinion that has been validated by others on this board.

However, I have read a lot about good looking day 3 embryos that fail to develop to blastocyst could be male factor. DH has morphology at the very bottom of normal range and a small varicocele that neither RE or urologist think is hindering. He is also a long time tobacco user, a habit hes been trying to kick but it still lurks. I have discussed with RE who feels strongly it is an egg issue but has also said the only definitive way to know is to do genetic testing on our embryos which of course would require another cycle with OE, or to try with a proven donor. Were about to do a DE cycle with a 2 time proven donor. Because of my inability to let the MF concerns go, RE proposed an option of using both DH & donor sperm so that if it turns out to be male factor, we could still end up with good embies from the donor sperm.

I am struggling with whether or not to use this added safety net. DH is not crazy about the idea but would probably concede if I pressed. Perhaps theres still a part of me that hasnt come to terms with the failures of my own body and thats why I cant let the MF thing go. However, I fear that if this does turn out to be MF and DE fails, I will be resentful given the continued tobacco use. I feel I have given up so much in this journey, and that the inability to overcome the tobacco usage and potentially improve our odds is selfish. Dont get me wrong, DH has been unbelievably supportive and yes, the failures have been difficult for him too but if we find out that MF has in fact been at play via another failed cycle, I dont know that I will be able play the part of supportive wife. We are paying out of pocket, funds are tapped and this is our final hoorah. When we first found our donor we were both very excited & positive and finally hopeful again. DH still is all of these things but it seems that the closer the cycle gets, the more foreboding, stressed and depressed I feel. Not a good way to start a cycle. Has anyone used DH & donor sperm in a single cycle and if so did you know which made the better embryos or did you just take the best and not ask whose swimmers made them?

Appreciate any thoughts or insights from anyone that would share.
You can have a Sperm DNA Integrity test done on his sperm. It will show what percentage have DNA fragmentation his sperm has. The tobacco use alone, can be damaging to sperm. We were able to turn Dh's DNA problem around with an antioxidant protocol. BTW, his basic SA analysis was completely normal. We did the test through Millenova in Chicago. They shipped us an nitrogen tank and his sperm was overnighted from the west coast.

Here is the protocol:

500mg of Vitamin C 2x/day
400mg of Vitamin E 2x/day
Proxeed 2x/day (can be purchased from freedomdrug.com, without a presciption)
100mg of Pycnogenol 2x/day

It takes about 90 days to turn the sperm issue around.
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minniet
minniet

October 23rd, 2011, 9:45 pm #4

To ease your mind, it makes a lot of sense to do the SCSA. Doing genetic testing on embies is not the only way to discover MF, in fact, it seems indirect.

Why don't you do the SCSA? It is only about $400. We did this with my DH before moving on to a new donor.
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Joined: August 6th, 2011, 6:43 am

October 23rd, 2011, 10:13 pm #5

I have been an avid reader of this board in the few months since I found it but never posted. We will be doing our 1st DE cycle next month and I have one nagging concern that I cant put to rest. Sorry for length of post but have to provide a little history..TTC for nearly 10 years, turning 40 in a few months, diagnosed with tubal issue & recently DOR but otherwise healthy. Tried 3 OE IVF cycles, got only 5-6 eggs each cycle but had good fertilization and in each cycle had 1-2 good looking embies at day 3, none of which made it to blast. RE feels strongly this is an egg issue & recommended DE. We talked to a couple of other clinics that did not offer any dissenting opinions so we decided to proceed with same RE & DE. We have a lot of faith in our RE as he has great stats and is overall pretty awesome, an opinion that has been validated by others on this board.

However, I have read a lot about good looking day 3 embryos that fail to develop to blastocyst could be male factor. DH has morphology at the very bottom of normal range and a small varicocele that neither RE or urologist think is hindering. He is also a long time tobacco user, a habit hes been trying to kick but it still lurks. I have discussed with RE who feels strongly it is an egg issue but has also said the only definitive way to know is to do genetic testing on our embryos which of course would require another cycle with OE, or to try with a proven donor. Were about to do a DE cycle with a 2 time proven donor. Because of my inability to let the MF concerns go, RE proposed an option of using both DH & donor sperm so that if it turns out to be male factor, we could still end up with good embies from the donor sperm.

I am struggling with whether or not to use this added safety net. DH is not crazy about the idea but would probably concede if I pressed. Perhaps theres still a part of me that hasnt come to terms with the failures of my own body and thats why I cant let the MF thing go. However, I fear that if this does turn out to be MF and DE fails, I will be resentful given the continued tobacco use. I feel I have given up so much in this journey, and that the inability to overcome the tobacco usage and potentially improve our odds is selfish. Dont get me wrong, DH has been unbelievably supportive and yes, the failures have been difficult for him too but if we find out that MF has in fact been at play via another failed cycle, I dont know that I will be able play the part of supportive wife. We are paying out of pocket, funds are tapped and this is our final hoorah. When we first found our donor we were both very excited & positive and finally hopeful again. DH still is all of these things but it seems that the closer the cycle gets, the more foreboding, stressed and depressed I feel. Not a good way to start a cycle. Has anyone used DH & donor sperm in a single cycle and if so did you know which made the better embryos or did you just take the best and not ask whose swimmers made them?

Appreciate any thoughts or insights from anyone that would share.
I only have a quick minute to post but how much does your husband smoke? Or does he chew tobacco or both? There is also an interesting article posted on this board about a week ago about the correlation between healthy diet and sperm. I can't remember if it takes 60 or 90 days for sperm to grow, I'll have to look it up. I'm just wondering if there is anything your DH can do over the next 90 days or so and if you could put off your cycle until then.
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Joined: August 6th, 2011, 6:43 am

October 24th, 2011, 12:11 am #6

If you use donor sperm as well as DH sperm could you apply donor sperm to half the mature eggs and DH sperm to the other half of the mature eggs and then see which ones make it to five day blasts? If DH embryos make it to five day blasts then implant those instead of the donor sperm embryos and freeze those. Well hopefully you would have a lot of mature eggs to work with. It is a hard decision to make and while the DH's tobacco use is a factor it may not be a huge factor.

What does your RE think you should do? We trusted our RE and embryologist.
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Joined: September 5th, 2011, 12:16 am

October 24th, 2011, 2:10 am #7

Our RE feels strongly that ours is an egg issue. I think he only suggested the donor sperm option because I kept wanting to talk about MF. I did ask about SCSA but he doesn't give it alot of weight. I've read conflicting reports where one RE says its a must do and then another says they often see patients with high fragmentation find success. I brought it up twice with our RE but let it go after the last discussion. Now I'm second guessing all of the decisions we've already made. I have my cycle coordination meeting next week, already paid for most of the cycle so I don't know that waiting is really an option at this point. I think DH & I need to have another conversation about donor sperm. It feels like that might be the only option at this point that might make me semi-sane.

Thanks for the input!!
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Joined: September 13th, 2008, 5:13 pm

October 24th, 2011, 3:09 am #8

Unless, as TSB suggests, you can really only afford one DE cycle, then I would give your DH's sperm a chance, but with the testing and supplementation others have suggested. I ended up using DE+DS due to marital conflict with my DH, and it is a hard thing to lose that genetic connection to your husband (we ended up reconciling). I think it may bother me more than him, though. If you do end up using DS, there is one good thing, though: it does create a more egalitarian relationship between you as a couple and the kids. There have been some horrendous stories on the pink board from ladies involved in divorce situations where the husband has told the kids that the wife isn't really their mother, told other people in the kids life the same, etc. Take care, Maggie (in VA)
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Joined: June 28th, 2008, 7:01 pm

October 24th, 2011, 3:57 am #9

I have been an avid reader of this board in the few months since I found it but never posted. We will be doing our 1st DE cycle next month and I have one nagging concern that I cant put to rest. Sorry for length of post but have to provide a little history..TTC for nearly 10 years, turning 40 in a few months, diagnosed with tubal issue & recently DOR but otherwise healthy. Tried 3 OE IVF cycles, got only 5-6 eggs each cycle but had good fertilization and in each cycle had 1-2 good looking embies at day 3, none of which made it to blast. RE feels strongly this is an egg issue & recommended DE. We talked to a couple of other clinics that did not offer any dissenting opinions so we decided to proceed with same RE & DE. We have a lot of faith in our RE as he has great stats and is overall pretty awesome, an opinion that has been validated by others on this board.

However, I have read a lot about good looking day 3 embryos that fail to develop to blastocyst could be male factor. DH has morphology at the very bottom of normal range and a small varicocele that neither RE or urologist think is hindering. He is also a long time tobacco user, a habit hes been trying to kick but it still lurks. I have discussed with RE who feels strongly it is an egg issue but has also said the only definitive way to know is to do genetic testing on our embryos which of course would require another cycle with OE, or to try with a proven donor. Were about to do a DE cycle with a 2 time proven donor. Because of my inability to let the MF concerns go, RE proposed an option of using both DH & donor sperm so that if it turns out to be male factor, we could still end up with good embies from the donor sperm.

I am struggling with whether or not to use this added safety net. DH is not crazy about the idea but would probably concede if I pressed. Perhaps theres still a part of me that hasnt come to terms with the failures of my own body and thats why I cant let the MF thing go. However, I fear that if this does turn out to be MF and DE fails, I will be resentful given the continued tobacco use. I feel I have given up so much in this journey, and that the inability to overcome the tobacco usage and potentially improve our odds is selfish. Dont get me wrong, DH has been unbelievably supportive and yes, the failures have been difficult for him too but if we find out that MF has in fact been at play via another failed cycle, I dont know that I will be able play the part of supportive wife. We are paying out of pocket, funds are tapped and this is our final hoorah. When we first found our donor we were both very excited & positive and finally hopeful again. DH still is all of these things but it seems that the closer the cycle gets, the more foreboding, stressed and depressed I feel. Not a good way to start a cycle. Has anyone used DH & donor sperm in a single cycle and if so did you know which made the better embryos or did you just take the best and not ask whose swimmers made them?

Appreciate any thoughts or insights from anyone that would share.
Given everything that you have said, I actually think that splitting the upcoming cycle with 1/2 of the mature eggs being fertilized with your Dh's sperm, and 1/2 with donor sperm. If you think that you will only be able to afford to do one cycle, I think that is the way to go. Especially because of the underlying feelings of resentment you might have, and it just may eat away at you every time that he smokes.

And, you can maybe do what sameboat did, and put in one of the best of each embryo. Or, if the embryos all look good with the ones with your DH's sperm, use those first. That way, you will have a built in backup plan without having to worry if you will be able to ever cycle again. And, it sounds as if, at this point, there is no time for additional testing, diet changes, etc. To help make your DH's sperm more 'powerful'.

I will admit, I might be quicker than most to go to donor sperm as, being single, my cycles were all DE/DS (and a donor embryo cycle thrown in there too). BUt, if you think there is going to be resentment on your part if there is a failure, and that you may not be able to do another cycle, I would really lean towards splitting the cycle with half DH and half DS. I will say, that DE ups you chances significantly, but it takes many of us more than one cycle, without any sort of MF issues. I just want to avoid your feeling any resentment towards your DH.

Whatever you decide, I wish you luck with your upcoming cycle.And feel free to come post here your fears and excitement and when you need support. This is an awesome group of ladies here.
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Joined: September 26th, 2008, 9:06 pm

October 24th, 2011, 5:39 am #10

Our RE feels strongly that ours is an egg issue. I think he only suggested the donor sperm option because I kept wanting to talk about MF. I did ask about SCSA but he doesn't give it alot of weight. I've read conflicting reports where one RE says its a must do and then another says they often see patients with high fragmentation find success. I brought it up twice with our RE but let it go after the last discussion. Now I'm second guessing all of the decisions we've already made. I have my cycle coordination meeting next week, already paid for most of the cycle so I don't know that waiting is really an option at this point. I think DH & I need to have another conversation about donor sperm. It feels like that might be the only option at this point that might make me semi-sane.

Thanks for the input!!
I still think, though, that in my case it was the immune issues more than sperm issues. (And my RE didn't believe in reproductive immunology very much.) But it did certainly color how seriously I can take the opinion that it's always the egg.

Wishing you luck whatever you do. (And I agree that if you can get your husband on the vitamin supplements, do. Even if you don't have the whole 90 days, it certainly can't hurt.)

Good luck.
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