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Secondary Infertility Patient With Seven Miscarriages: Cannot Afford IVF

Posted Aug 18 2011 9:58am

Question:

Hello-I am 33 and have a healthy 3 1/2 year old daughter who was conceived naturally. I have had 7 miscarriages (1 before my daughter and 6 consecutive since her birth). I have had 4 chemicals, 2 confirmed blighted ovums and 1 xxx69..this one had a heartbeat and all hormones were great, heart stopped at 8 weeks and did a karyotype on fetal tissue.

I've been to an RE and have had the following tests: Karyotype, HSG, Day 3 Hormone Panel, Clotting Disorder Panel, ultrasound to measure lining of uterus and to check for any abnormalities...all results are "normal". I have also supplemented with progesterone after a positive pregnancy test as well, my LP is usually 11-12 days. My hubby has only had a karyotype and he is "normal" as well. The RE said that our XXX69 was more than likely due to a mutated sperm containing an entire extra set of chromosomes. He has recommended we do IVF (in vitro fertilization) with PGD (pre genetic determination).

Our insurance doesn't cover ANY fertility, so that is really not an option for us.The RE wanted to me to try a monitored clomid cycle as a plan "B". In doing some research, I just don't think clomid will help with unknown recurrent pregnancy loss...what is your opinion? I "O" just fine without any meds. What else would you recommend? I am in excellent shape, eat organic whole foods, don't consume any alcohol or caffeine..

I take prenatals and fish oil daily. Do you think that all my miscarriages could be a sperm issue? I'm really at a loss....what do you think our chances are of having another healthy child without doing IVF/PGD? Thanks, S. from Maryland.

Answer:

Hello S. from Maryland,

I am sorry for your losses. You certainly have recurrent abortion as a diagnosis, but the exact cause is unknown. Granted that the fetal tissue from the last miscarriage showed a genetic abnormality, but if your husband's genetic testing was normal, then I would not expect that all the miscarriages were for the same reason. I would think that it is more likely to be a spontaneous genetic abnormality occurring with division of the embryo. Hopefully that is the case because that means that there is still a good chance of having a normal pregnancy. If the problem is a sperm abnormality causing a genetic problem, then there is very little that can be done to change that other than using donor sperm.

One alternative would be to try IUI (intra uterine insemination), since the sperm will be washed and the best sperm will be made available for fertilization. There is no guarantee with this but it is an option. Your RE is correct in that the only way to make sure that a normal embryo is available for implantation is to do preimplantation genetic screening with IVF. Since you cannot do IVF, then the only option is to continue to try and hope/pray for the best. I do not think you need to do Clomid either. It doesn't help with this problem. The good thing is that you are still young and have time to keep trying. Hopefully with continued trying, you will be successful.

If you were my patient, I think I would add low dose aspirin 81mg per day, PNV with folic acid, Medrol 16 mg per day, progesterone supplementation in the luteal phase (Crinone or Endometrin) and low dose heparin 2000 unit injections twice per day with each cycle. These are more to cover the immunologic causes of miscarriage, but have been shown in numerous studies to help. Since we cannot be sure exactly why the previous miscarriages occurred and can't conclude that it is ONLY a genetic problem, I would favor covering those bases.

Good Luck,

Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
http://www.montereybayivf.com/
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
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