Late night thoughts- twins, immunology and egg donors

16 Jul

I am staying up late (and should really go to bed).  I’ve had this crazy obsession all day with twins.  I am fantasizing that somehow this would be wonderful.  Everyone I know who has had twins has talked about how it’s more than twice the work of having 1.  I find myself stressing out not only about having one, but what if I want another?  Surely my child bearing age window will close before then!  With my biological clock ticking the thought of twins somehow sounded more attractive, and considering we are looking to go to IVF, the odds are slightly higher.  I think the real reason I am interested is because if we ever manage to have one child I am afraid we will be too burned out to try for another.  I also don’t think my husband (an only child) will be on board for another.  Somehow magically twins seems to solve this as there is no choice in the matter.  While you can’t try for twins, I think if we had two good embryos I would be happy with that. (until they arrive and reality kicks in)

Mr. Star came home today from his primary care doctor’s office with the suggestion to look into immunology.  He mentioned that maybe my A+ antibodies are fighting off a baby that may have his O- blood type.  It sounds a bit out there, but considering the suggestion came from a doctor it perked my ears up.  He specifically recommended taking Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis drug.

I’d considered researching immunological causes of miscarriage before, but dismissed it because both RE’s that I’ve consulted were strongly against it.  Several members of my RESOLVE group are completely on board with it, willing to try anything to get their IVF treatments to work.  One member even went to Mexico to do the controversial blood transfusion treatments in which they infuse his blood into her in an effort to cut down on her immune response against it.  I am not sure I am ready to go that far, but I am willing to do some research and consider the tests.

Specifically I am considering a consultation at the Alan Beers Center in Los Gatos, CA.  Their website is full of optimism for patients like me which I totally ate up. I’d checked it out before but was scared off by the steep initial consultation fees and lengthy new patient process.  It started speaking to me today as I totally fit  their typical patient profile.  Here is the description:

The patients that we see are an average of 38.6 years old plus or minus 2 years. They have been unsuccessful 4.4 plus or minus 2 times and are near the end of their reproductive career, bruised, abused, and often without hope. 

Hey, that’s me!  I’m 38 with 5 failed pregnancies, bruised, abused and running thin on hope.  Sign me up!  I know some studies say it is just as good as a placebo, that may be good enough for me at this point.  We have so little information and doctors have yet to find a reason why we are having recurrent losses so I am pretty open to anything.  I think I proved that by waving moxa herbs over my head and giving up cold foods and drinks like ice cream and lemonade in June/July for our last pregnancy.   What unproven treatment do I get to try next?  I wonder!

To further hedge my bets I scheduled a consultation with the Stanford clinic to discuss third party options like egg donor and surrogacy next week.  If the problem is my body or my eggs, I would like to know if/how I might be able to use third party options like these.  Even embryo adoption has some appeal at this point.  While I am optimistic there are more tricks we should try before going for third party options, I’d really like to be informed of what these options are (and how much they might cost).  My gay friends are gearing up to have their second child with egg donor and surrogate and I am a bit jealous. It sounds incredibly attractive to step out of the equation and hire someone else to do the baby carrying, esp. on days when I feel like throwing in the towel.

These are my crazy late night thoughts.  Off to bed!

……………………….

It’s the next morning and maybe I wasn’t that crazy!  My results came back from the lab as normal (46, XY).   In the message from my RE she thinks that the fact it was normal may help explain why it was thriving with a heartbeat to the bitter end.  The lack of growth may be a sign of immunology issues.  Now that she is even talking about immunology I am definitely on board (and I feel a lot less crazy for considering it).  Even though immunology is very out there and controversial I recently read some anecdotal stories that claimed it helped them. I am running out of options at this point, so I am feeling more ready to play guinea pig and explore this path I was previously warned against pursuing.

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8 Responses to “Late night thoughts- twins, immunology and egg donors”

  1. Nicole July 16, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Have you looked into the Sher Institute. They are very big on the immune testing and treatment plans. http://www.haveababy.com or Dr. Sher’s blog is http://www.ivfauthority.com They have free consults and they will do them over the phone.

  2. jjiraffe July 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    I felt the same way you did about twins after going through IVF and the toll it took on me. Now I have twins and it’s…difficult. I’m thrilled, don’t get me wrong. But it’s hard.

    Have you looked into Dr. Zooves? He does IVIG therapy. He’s in Burlingame.

    • starfishkittydreams July 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      I’ve definitely heard of him and his clinic. Several people from my support group are patients with him. However, I thought Dr. Zooves was only for IVF patients. I am not sure if we need IVF now. I’ll have to give them a call on Monday to find out.

  3. Another Dreamer July 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m a big believer in immunology issues. I’ve had several friends with recurrent miscarriages test positive for NK cells, received IVIG or intralipids along with Lovenox, and have success. We never tested for it because our insurance wouldn’t cover it, and the testing/treatment costs out of pocket was just not an option for us (and no doctors around here do this). My RE did mention possible immune issues for me with this pregnancy, she admitted it’s controversial but that in my case it’s possible, which is part of the reason she was so adamant I not stop my Lovenox despite the SCH and all the bleeding- she really felt it would do more harm than good.

    I don’t think you being Rh+ has anything to do with it though, the Rh factor only comes into play if you are Rh- (my sister had major issues with this, her body kept attacking her babies and her Rhogam shot failed in her third pregnancy causing all sorts of issues). So in Rh- instances I know the body (not having Rh) can see the Rh+ baby as a foreign body and attack it. If you are positive for Rh it shouldn’t cause issues- I’ve never heard of it anyway.

  4. Kristen July 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I go back and forth with twins…one minute I think it would be so awesome to get everything taken care of all at once and not have to do any more of this fertility stuff (we definitely want 2 or 3 if we can). Also, I really don’t want to be any older than I am when having my kids (I’m 41…and I don’t mean in any way to judge anyone else, or advise anyone else, but I personally am having some reservations about being an “older mom” and want to be as close to 40 as possible when I have my babies).
    But then I think one baby vs twins wouldn’t be so hard…at least one baby is portable by me (I could put him/her in a baby backpack and go hiking, for example)…two, I don’t feel like it would be very easy to get around.
    Good luck with exploring the immunology, etc. I don’t have any experience/suggestions but since last summer I have really been a guinea pic for my clinic (they’ve been doing experimental stuff on me) and for me it’s felt good to be on the cutting edge of things/in kind of controversial territory. Like I’m doing everything I can.
    Best of luck as you move forward and keep us all posted!

  5. Amy-Lynn July 18, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I believe in immunology issues. I really think the intralipid therapy is what helped me keep this pregnancy. I’m at 20 weeks now, and starting to believe this might happen. Like you I had heartbeats and normal chromosomes. I felt like we had tested for everything else so why not try immune issues. NK cells were the only thing I have ever tested positive for. I have heard great things about Dr. Beers Clinic, as well as the SIRM clinic in Las Vegas. I went to Dr. Coulam at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Chicago. I found her through INCIID. I think it’s worth investigating.

  6. Foxy July 18, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Late night thoughts are often more rational than we give them credit for. These next steps that you are considering are really big decisions ahead of you, promising and exciting and hopeful, but really big!

    I might have mentioned this but I wish that we would have looked into embryo donation as an option. As you meet with the stanford team it might be worth asking them about it.

  7. Mo July 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Hey hon, just catching up. I think it’s great that your RE is on board. A lot of docs discount it, but there seems to be at least a little sound science behind it.
    As for twins, when my husband and I were thinking we may get referred to IVF, he joked around that this may lead to twins and said: “Have three miscarriages, get a second baby free!”
    I think you should definitely qualify for that discount after 5. 🙂
    (sorry I’m in a dark humor kind of mood today)

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