Sunday, January 22, 2012

an infertility answer... maybe

One of the most frustrating parts of this infertility journey for us has been the unknown. Even after every test under the sun (and you know what, there are LOTS of them, each more painful and expensive than the last) our REs still said that it was "unexplained". More than kind of sucky after investing so much in order to figure things out, and at (almost) 40 really feeling like our time is about up. I don't remember exactly how we finally ended up hearing about immune causes for both unexplained infertility and pregnancy loss, but we eventually decided to look into it and... what do ya know... they found some things.

Reproductive immunology is still a relatively new and somewhat controversial field....but it's growing really fast and has had some incredible results... and we've looked into everything else. Since there is a family history of immune problems, and before we decided whether or not to move forward with any ARTs (artificial reproductive technologies), we thought we'd give it a shot. Through some great ladies on a yahoo board and a book by Dr. Beer, a pioneer in the field, I realized that I may very well have stumbled onto something.

To make a long story short, we had a consult with a reproductive immunologist (one of only a few in the country), did the bloodwork... TONS of bloodwork on both of us... and found that there are several issues that could be/are preventing us from both conceiving and carrying our baby to term. It feels good to finally, possibly, have an answer.

Seems that in addition to some mild clotting issues, and high Natural Killer cells (NK cells) which can attack an embryo and prevent it from implanting, there are also 8 HLA matches between the two of us. Eight is incredibly significant and may also be what's causing my NK cells to be elevated. Presumably, this can cause big issues with pregnancy. Who knew.

[If you want to read more about HLA matching you can check out Dr. Braverman's site here.]

What does all this mean for us? For now we are going to try some of the less expensive meds that will suppress my wonky immune system,  and see how that works. We are prayerfully hopeful about this, as the one time I actually did get pregnant was when I was on prednisone (immune suppressant) for a sinus infection.  I guess our next step would be to see about the more expensive (better) meds that have been recommended. Beyond that... who knows... God has only shown us the next step for now. And we're okay with that.


  1. Just a random thing to also think about. I have rehumatoid arthritis which is an auto immunie disorder. If you take NASISD's daily this could very well be the culprit. Be careful with prednison as it must be monitered very carefuly.

  2. I'm so happy that you have potential answers and some hope. Good luck!