I Always Knew Robert and I Had A Lot in Common

I thought I’d go ahead an give a bit of an update, since we have received some additional information that is going to affect our attempts to conceive. Tuesday one of the labs that we had done was received by the doctor’s office. I don’t know if the other two are completed yet, but this one came back in and provided some answers for us. As well as introduced, or I should say educated us, on a hurdle that we are going to have to overcome in this whole baby making process.

Of the “optional” tests that we opted to have run, one of them was to test our DQ Alpha/HLA. Basically it is checking to see what two genotypes each of us carries – which is probably a super simplified explanation of what it really involves. As I understand it, generally speaking each couple will have four distinct genotypes. When the sperm and egg meet, and create an embryo, that embryo will subsequently inherit two genotypes – one from the mother and one from the father.

Well, it turns out that Robert and I share one of our indicators. This means that instead of having four genotypes between us, we only have three. So what does this mean? Well, it’s complicated and I’m not sure I fully understand everything yet (we have about 10 questions for the doctor), but the short answer is basically that one of every two embryos (50%) will be incompatible with my body, causing my body to attack and reject the embryo.

As I said, a hurdle. And while it is going to be difficult to overcome, it’s not insurmountable.

Well, this all sounds rather unfortunate, doesn’t it? (I agree!).

Because Robert and I only share one of our two genetic indicators, we have what is considered a “partial” match, meaning that only 50% of our embryos will be unsuitable. This means that we still have a 50% chance for a successful pregnancy. It would be a whole lot worse if we had a complete match, meaning that 100% of our embryos would be unsuitable (requiring a surrogate or adoption). But, it will still be challenging.

After emailing with the nurse yesterday with some questions, it seems that there is apparently a lot of controversy about the treatment options amongst the medical reproductive community on how to best treat for success. Based on what the nurse told me yesterday, I suspect I know which side of the fence my doctor is going to fall on – but we see him this afternoon and I hope to be better educated at the end of that meeting. I have an entire list of questions written out for him.

Of the things that we are going to discuss with him is his opinion on just jumping into IVF next month (assuming this IUI isn’t successful), given the new information that we have. Robert and I were originally decided on doing one more letrozole/IUI cycle since I have another round of letrozole at home still – but given this new information, I think I’m ready to just pull out the big guns and get down to business. Additionally, given this new information, I think we are pretty decided on going forward with the PGD testing (although we had some additional questions for the doctor today). Our thought is that if we are already at a 50% chance of success, it is probably in our best interest to make sure that the embryos going in have at least that 50% chance and are otherwise genetically sound.

Granted, our insurance won’t cover the PGD testing (I have a call in to confirm that the DQ Alpha/HLA results are not sufficient for coverage, but I’m pretty sure something needed to come back in the Karotyping tests to be eligible for  insurance coverage for the procedure) so there is going to be a finite number of times that we can afford to undergo this extra step. But we are going to run with it as long as we are able. I also have to find out from the insurance how many IVF treatments are covered – I don’t know if there is a set number or if my plan allows unlimited treatments.

Anyhow. I should have more answers and information after my appointment this afternoon. I’m also glad to have at least some insight into why this has been so hard for us, and (potentially) why I am experiencing recurrent losses. I know that having answers doesn’t necessarily solve problems – but for some reason an explanation helps me understand, which subsequently makes me feel a little more in control. And for now, I’ll take that.

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