Posts Tagged ‘FSH’

Unexplained Infertility Explained


Well, all the official IVF prescreening has been performed and the results have been delivered. Everything seems to be normal, except for the FSH which is borderline. The RE said that she would have liked that number to have been lower (yeah me too), but was very pleased with the antral follicle count. The higher FSH result just means that I will be started out on a higher dosage of medication. I can live with that and am trying very hard not to Google FSH 12.8 during any given moment of the day. Hopefully, I’ve gotten that out of my system and can just concentrate on the positive antral follicle count.

But then I start Googling antral follicle count only to look at the clock and realize that I’ve been Googling for 3 hours.

All the other tests are normal, though I forgot to ask for an exact number for the TSH. I assume it’s normal or the doctor would have said so otherwise  I also have no infectious diseases though there was a slight scare when one of the tests for Hepatitis B came back positive. The IVF coordinator assured me that those tests always come back false positive and that I shouldn’t freak out. Amazingly, I hardly freaked out at all, but yes, I did have a little Googlefest when I got home.

Hepatitis B is contacted through sex and blood and I logically convinced myself there was no way I could have it. Keep in mind that logic is not my strong suit. But then that little nagging voice reminded me of all the blood work I’ve had over the years. Was it possible that I got stuck with a contaminated needle? Did I have an open cut somewhere on my body when I went to the doctor? A week and a half later, the IVF coordinator called back to say that the original result was a false positive and the second test had indeed come back negative. Cue the sigh of relief just the same.

I also got the results of the mega-expensive anti-nuclear antibodies test and the Natural Killer Cells tests. Both negative. These tests aren’t routinely run for the most part, but the RE was trying to figure out the reason why it had taken me two and a half years to get pregnant and why I had four IUI failures. I’m glad that she was willing to run them because there’s a reason I haven’t gotten pregnant, even if that reason hasn’t been obvious.

Then we got the results of my husband’s semen analysis.

The test revealed that only 2% of his sperm sample was mature!

The RE believes that this is the reason for our four IUI failures and lack of success. Now, my husband has had a semen analysis before with our previous RE, but those tests only measured count, volume, shape, and mobility, not maturation and antibodies. If sperm aren’t mature, they cannot attach to and penetrate the egg (no matter how many IUIs you try). Hence, the reason for my infertility.

I have mixed feelings about this news, but it mostly sets me free. I’ve spent the last couple of years blaming myself for my lack of being able to get pregnant. I listened to my old RE whose standard answer to my questions about my lack of success was “Maybe it’s just your age.” I can’t tell you how many times he answered my questions with that response.  It left me nowhere and now that I look back, I had a gut feeling that there was something incomplete and even unprofessional about his responses.  I wasted a lot of time, money, and emotion going to him. I could go on here, say more, but I’m not. I have my answer (from someone else I should have gone to in the first place) and that’s what’s important.

The good news is that this problem is easily treatable through ICSI. As you have all heard, it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, and any of the 2% of a million sperm can do the job. It just takes a little medical assistance for those 2% to reach and penetrate the egg and that’s where the ICSI comes in. Obviously, if I had this information years ago, I would have gone straight to IVF, no matter how expensive or scary it seemed. I believe that has been the answer all along; I just didn’t want to see it. I’ve proven that I can get pregnant without IVF, but who’s to say when that would come around again with such a small percentage of mature sperm.

So for all you ladies out there with unexplained infertility, makes sure you have a doctor that will run a complete semen analysis on your husband. Ask the doctor to make sure that a significant number of the sperm are mature and antibody- free. If your husband has already had the basic semen analysis, ask your doctor to do a more comprehensive one. You won’t regret it.





A Beautiful Uterus and Time to Obsess



I’m a worrier–as you know from my last post. My worrying is by nature and by the circumstances of the last several months.

One of my most recent worries has been about the state of my uterus. It carried one baby for 7 weeks and carried something that should have been a baby for about 6.

Then, there were the D & C’s.

Two within 5 months.

So, I’ve spent the last couple of months imagining the worst–scarring, adhesions, and other bad things.

But that’s not the case, because my new RE performed a saline sonogram and called my uterus beautiful!

Cue the great, big sigh of relief!

After much consideration, and if all testing comes back normal, we will proceed with an October/November IVF. This is still months away and I am both excited and nervous. I have months to obsess and worry, and true to my character, I am already doing so.

Particularly with my ovarian reserve. In April of 2012, the level was 6.5. A little over a year later it is a whooping 12.8!  How could it rise so quickly?  Did I worry all my eggs out of me? I know that fertility starts to drop off in your mid-to-late 30’s but this is ridiculous! I almost feel like it has to be a clinical error. 12.8 isn’t catastrophic; it’s borderline. Still it concerns me. But, there is good news. . .

My antral follicle count was 14 which the nurse and IVF coordinator thought was excellent, especially for someone my age.  It’s one point from ideal, but the nurse said that there are a lot of 20-somethings who don’t even have a level like that.  When I brought up the high FSH, she tried to reassure me that the good antral follicle count was what mattered most.  I just hope she’s right because this is pretty much a one-shot deal for me.

Plus, I’m wearing myself out from googling the hell out of 12.8 FSH level.

I want to spend these next several weeks in peace; visualizing the best outcome. I’m just afraid that my negative thinking will start to creep in. I want this to work. I need this to work. I really feel like my mental state can affect the outcome.

When I look back over the last couple of months, I think about my husband, the doctors, my family. Even when things were going wrong, they all stayed so positive. I’m the one who fell apart and couldn’t pick myself back up. Even when we knew that pregnancy number two was a bust, my husband, who I know was suffering as well, kept saying to me, “Don’t worry; we’ll have our baby.” He still says it. Even the ob-gyn, who knew I had been trying for years and witnessed my losses said, “A bad egg came up this time, but it’s just a matter of time before a good one comes up.”

People like this amaze me. They’ve kept me holding on even when my world was falling apart. How do they do it? How can I be like that? Is it even possible?