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Young Canadian With Hydrosalpinx And Endometriosis Complicating IVF Cycle

Posted May 19 2012 9:14am
Question Hello Dr. Ramirez,

I am 27 years old and last year stage 4 endometriosis was discovered and I had 2 large cysts removed from both my ovaries, one was 12cm and and the other was 5cm. My left ovary is almost completely gone and both my tubes are not functional. My hormones as far as I know it are normal and my antral follicle count is 8.

My first IVF with ICSI (my husband has blood in his semen due to unknown reasons) was last November with an antagonist estrogen priming protocol. I had 10 eggs retrieved, 5 mature, 3 fertilized, and ended up with 1 good quality day 3 embryo to put back. The cycle ended with a chemical pregnancy. I was on 400 puregon and 75 repronex.

I did my second IVF cycle with ICSI this month on the exact same protocol. They saw 11 follicles before my retrieval and 6 was retrieved, but none fertilized at all. My RE said that egg quality was very poor and may not suggest another cycle for me.

My questions are 1. Is my endo the cause of bad eggs?

2. Will changing the protocol help better egg quality?

3. They noticed 2 small cysts on a recent ultrasound, and also a hydrosalphinx on the left. Would it help to have another surgery?

4. Do I have any hope in becoming pregnant with my own eggs?
Thank you so much for your information!

Thanks... A. from Canada


Hello A. from Canada (Ontario),

I don't think that endometriosis is causing the egg problem, but that is certainly debatable. There are some studies showing better results if the IVF cycle is preceded by 3 months of Lupron depot in stage 3 and 4 endometriosis. There is definitely an effect if there are endometriomas that are penetrated at the time of egg retrieval. These endometriosis debris has been found to be detrimental to egg quality. Because of that, I am very careful to avoid the endometrioma at the time of retrieval, or if it is penetrated, I replace the needle and tubing before continuing.

In terms of protocol, you certainly seem to be stimulating well, which is the goal of the protocol and there are many variations that can be used. Each doctor has their own preferences. There is not one protocol that is better than another. However, I would probably use a stronger protocol if you were my patient (you are currently using a 475 combination protocol# such as a 600 IU combination protocol #450 FSH + 150 FSH/LH (Menopur)). Changing the protocol will not improve egg quality, but having more eggs may help with getting more embryos to work with.

If you have a hydrosalpinx, you definitely need to have that surgically removed or excised from the uterus. Numerous studies have shown a reduction in pregnancy rates with IVF by 50% if a hydrosalpinx is present. In the U.S. it is now considered the standard of care. The cysts are not an issue.

I am always hopeful for my patients, in terms of your last question, even those that have a minimal chance because they are way too old. I see exceptions all the time and believe in miracles.You are only 27 years old. Your chances should be much much better and I am leery of the results you have had thus far. Frankly, it doesn't make sense to me, but I would have to review your medical records to see what might be going on. At your age, you should not have an egg quality issue and fertilization should be at least 60%. In my clinic, your age group has a 76% chance of pregnancy per attempt. That makes me worried about the quality of the clinic you are going to. You may want to seek a second opinion.

Good luck and don't hesitate to keep me updated,

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