IVF, Miscarriage, Pregnancy

To IVF or not to IVF?

After two miscarriages, at the age of 39 I was referred to the recurrent miscarriage clinic at my local hospital. 

9 months, an array of blood tests, multiple scans and another miscarriage later, I finally got to meet with a clinic consultant. I was told that my blood test results had come back normal, so they couldn’t tell us why we had miscarried the first two times. The third time was due to our baby having Down’s syndrome, so we knew that was probably bad luck and due to my age – I was 40 by then at which point rates increase to around 1 in 100, from 1 in 1,500 at age 20.

I’d been treated during my third pregnancy with some general medications that are prescribed to women who have recurrent miscarriage, when no physical reason can be found. We were also told that, if we chose to, next time we’re pregnant we could be prescribed a type of steroid which is used to treat high levels of uNK cells. This is a controversial treatment and I was surprised we could try this without taking the uNK test, but it’s another avenue that could potentially help us, so we won’t write it off without giving it serious thought. 

During that meeting with the consultant, we were also referred for IVF treatment. This was something I didn’t think we’d be eligible for, given that we could get pregnant relatively easily (it took us between 3-6 months on average to conceive). But she assured us that, as we had no living children, we would be eligible. 

We received a copy of a letter six weeks after our appointment from the recurrent miscarriage consultant to the IVF department asking us to be fast tracked for treatment (due to my age). We then received a further letter from the hospital’s IVF department, asking us to complete some paperwork, after which we would be scheduled for baseline fertility investigations. 

Our appointments are all due to take place on 1 November. I’ll have my AMH levels tested, some other blood work and of course, there will be the obligatory encounter with the ‘dildo cam’ (the wand used for internal scans that I’m more than well acquainted with now). My husband will have a semen analysis, which he’s not had before.  

So we thought it was all systems go. We were starting to feel some excitement alongside the understandable apprehension. It felt like we were being offered a lifeline and we hoped this might be the procedure to help us to get – and finally stay – pregnant. 

But recently I’ve been doing some reading online, and have seen posts on Twitter, that suggest that we won’t be eligible for IVF at all. 

What strikes me as odd is that the consultant would refer us when we’re not eligible. Why would she raise our hopes, only to have them dashed? Does she not know the policy? Or did she just refer us so we could have the additional tests, which will allow us to rule out problems with my husband’s sperm or a low ovarian reserve (which might suggest lower quality eggs) being the cause for our miscarriages? If that’s the case, I wish she would have been up front. 

I feel disappointed. Where we felt like we were going forwards, it now feels like a sidestep. A sidestep that has taken 4 months, during which we have still not got pregnant.

And what makes it worse is not knowing for sure how it will pan out. We’re unlikely to be refused until we have our consultant appointment, which will be several months down the line. And in the meantime, that little spark of hope just refuses to be extinguished.

It’s all just so frustrating!

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