Saturday, September 11, 2010

"What FET Protocol Do You Use For Difficult PCOS Patients?" UK Patient Asks

Dear Dr Ramirez,

Firstly, thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read my question.

Brief History: Dx with PCOS at 17 y/o. HSG clear. My husband has severe m/f, so our only chance of conceiving is through IVF with ICSI. On my fresh cycle in 2008, I had 30 eggs retrieved and due to OHSS, couldn't have an Embryo Transfer. We had 13 embryos, all of which were frozen at the 2PN stage. I have gone through six FET cycles since, but only got to transfer three times, b/c the drugs used to suppress my ovaries (ProstapSR, Buserelin, Synarel) have actually stimulated my ovaries, leading to OHSS a further three times!

My treatment is in the UK and I cannot switch clinics b/c a) my treatment is free and b) since it's free I can't choose where to have my IVF/FET's. The Drs at my clinic have put their heads together to try to come up with an individualized protocol for me, since I keep suffering these rare responses to the suppression meds. I am naturally frightened and sceptical about this new protocol since it hasn't been tried and tested in the UK as yet (but apparently it has in other countries with good success for challenging PCOS patients).

The new protocol would not involve the usual suppression medications. On day 3 of my period, I would inject a long acting Cetrotide shot (sub-q) and also commence 6mg Progynova (estradiol valerate). On Day 5, I would commence daily Cetrotide shots, whilst continuing daily with the Progynova. All in all, this protocol should only take around 13days, then I would commence Progesterone, 3-4days before Embryo Transfer. I am terrified of hyperstimulating again. Is this likely to happen with the Cetrotide at all? Have you had any PCOS patients who have ever responded like I have to suppression medications?

If you were my Dr (I wish you were :D ), what protocol would you suggest for a FET? It may be helpful to add that I have always been a slim PCOSer (BMI 21) and have an AMH of 98.5. I also got pg on our first FET with twins, which I sadly miscarried at 8 weeks. My subsequent two transfers resulted in a negative beta. Thank you so much for reading and for any input you may be able to give! G. from the U.K.


Hello G. from the U.K.,

I have never heard of such as thing as OHSS with an FET cycle. I'll have to do some research on that and see if that actually happens. If not, your docs might want to write your case up as an unusual case. Since you have been using GnRH "agonists (stimulators)" in your previous cycles, it sounds like maybe the dosages were not high enough to suppress the hypothalamus (which is what they are supposed to do and prevent ovarian function), but instead stimulated FSH production and ovarian stimulation leading to the OHSS.

I think the change to an "antagonist" is certainly the best way to go. I converted to using the antagonist, Cetrotide and now Ganerelix, over 5 years ago (mainly because it is less injections). I have not used it with an FET cycle (because it is more expensive), but it can work just as well with the protocol you have outlined. The antagonist will definitely suppress any ovarian function, so you should not be able to mount an OHSS response. This is definitely a good plan.

I thank you for the compliment :) and wish that you could be my patient as well. For many reasons, such as the fact that some like you can get IVF for free where they live, patients feel that they are stuck in the clinic near their home. This cannot be further from the truth. I have a patient from Serbia and South Korea in my IVF cycle this month. I have patients come from out-of-state, one from as far as Montana, which is like the difference between the UK and Poland. You can travel to the best center to do your IVF, thereby saving you years of frustration & grief. I had one patient who failed five times at a Los Angeles center only to succeed the first time with us. It is not that difficult to do or arrange IVF afar. There are additional costs involved, which is the biggest factor, but heck, you could plan a vacation at the same time. The IF community calls this "Reproductive Tourism" or "Cross-Border IVF", I believe.

An IVF cycle can be done so that you only have to come here for the minimum necessary time, which for an FET cycle would be 1 week or less or 10 days for a fresh cycle. Also, remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for." Free cycles are all well and good, but as you mentioned above, you are stuck with one center, one protocol, one embryology lab (and there quality can differ greatly), governmental restrictions and that is unfortunate. In the U.S., particularly in California, we have few restrictions and can do embryo donation, donor egg, donor sperm, frozen eggs, surrogacy, and are given leeway on the number of embryos we can implant. I wish that I could just outfit a 747 jet with an IVF clinic and jet all over the world where patients want to see me. I think that would be fun as well :D !!!

Good Luck,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails