Monday, May 5, 2008

A very brief summary on PGD (IVF), amongst other things

I made this post recently somewhere else *taps nose*. After writing it, I discovered it was probably quite a good summation of our history, which I don't think I have anywhere on this current blog. So... FYI's sake if nothing else, here it is. You can find out more about Steve's balanced translocation, from our perspective/understanding, here.

My husband has a balanced translocation and whilst we seem to have no trouble getting pregnant, retaining a pregnancy has so far proven almost impossible.

After enduring three m/c's in a row, we did some testing and it was discovered then that Steve had this chromosomal anomoly. We went for genetic counselling, at which time (in 2002) PGD was still relatively new in Australia and they - the genetic counsellors at the IVF clinic - virtually steered us against doing it.

I had one more miscarriage before conceiving our first daughter, who chromosomally speaking was perfectly normal. She passed away due to completely different issues so we had to start TTC again. After two more failed pregnancies the year she passed ('04), I decided to try IVF - Steve had wanted to do it earlier but I had personal issues with it, it was a big decision for me. We discussed adoption and looked into it extensively, also considering foster parenting at this time too. But because we had conceived and then lost our only child to date, it seemed far too difficult and rigorous an emotional journey for us to contemplate taking on. It seems, in hindsight, that IVF appeared the least strenuous (for us as a couple) option at the time, even though it took far more an emotional, angst-ridden toll on us than we expected.

We tried PGD twice in '05, yielded really poor results - for PGD, where the more fertilised eggs for testing purposes, the better - and ended up with only one normal/balanced emby to transfer both times (only 3-4 eggs fertilised from 6-7 retrieved, both times, despite our high fertility rate naturally, I was devastated I had not "performed better" and of those, most were carrying the unbalanced translocation anyway). There were none to freeze, obviously. The second time I had a chemical pregnancy and we decided we could do that on our own at zero financial expense! So we stopped IVF (we were going to do 3 tries).

I fell pregnant naturally the following month with our only surviving child to date, another daughter. She is a carrier but otherwise healthy in every way.

In my opinion, there was a lot of good to come out of our brief IVF journey including -
* It meant we would not always wonder or regret not attempting it if we found ourselves childless at the end of our years of trying to conceive.
* We made the most of the information that was gathered during our stint. The sperm testing was most important (they offered this as a free non-diagnostic test - as it was then in trial phase and so we would also be helping them with their studies into the accuracy of the data, etc.), as it showed my husband's own specific sperm quality. He was at his peak in health, incl. being on naturopathics to increase chances of the lower volume of healthy sperm being the ones to get to the egg wink.gif so it was a very good indicator for us.

They found approx. 26% of sperm was normal. It was consistent with what we had been informed by the geneticists the whole way through the process so it was good to have it confirmed, it was more than just general statistics. For us, roughly 4 in 6 pregnancies will be abnormal/unbalanced. We've had 11 pregnancies so far.

The decision to start trying again naturally was hard and scary. But as we had no dependants and we were still in our late 20's and early 30's respectively, we agreed that we would live with whatever the outcome (for us, an unbalanced child would result in varied high care mental/physical disabilities so a very serious consideration). That "whoever" came to us in whatever form, we would handle it.

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