Friday, October 29, 2010

Four Weeks Post First IVF & Positive BHCG: Not Rising Adequately & Possible Ectopic

Hi Dr. R. -

I am 39 years old and we have male factor infertility. In our first completed IVF cycle we had 27 eggs retrieved, 20 good, 14 fertilized, and 3 - day 5 blasts transferred. I had a very light implantation bleed and a positive Hcg at day 14 post retrieval.
1st Hcg 132 14 days post retrieval (this was 2 days early as I had to go out of town)
2nd Hcg 183 19 days post (this was a few days late since I was out of town)
3rd Hcg 278 21 days post (also requested a progest test which was 119 or so, can't remember exact #).
4th Hcg 479 23 days post

Had a u/s 23 days post which showed nothing other than very large ovaries. I understand the data on Hcg doubling but am curious about the 10-20% of women who do not have doubling - not a lot of literature on these patients. My RE said there is zero chance of the pregnancy progressing and said it was a chemical pregnancy and would monitor for an eptopic, I was advised to stop progesterone supps. Also, I had preg symptoms day 12-18 post but they have become less this past week. I have had no bleeding or cramping during the entire process. Any thoughts on my prognosis would be appreciated. Are my levels just too low and too slow?

One other question, my ovaries are "as big as grapefruits", is the only option to wait until they resolve and how long can that expect to take? Again, I am 4.5 wks post retrieval.

Thank you! J. from the U.S.A.


Hello J. from the U.S.,

The minimum requirement for HCG rising in a normal pregnancy is an 80% rise, not 100% (doubling). However, your bHCG's have not been rising adequately. For example, the first bhCG at 132 should have risen to 238. The fact that your bHCG's are not rising adequately means that it is unlikely to be a normal progressing pregnancy, but you are still pregnant. In addition, an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy cannot be ruled out yet because the level is not high enough to see a pregnancy in the uterus. The level generally has to be above 2500. It is wise to keep a close eye on your situation.

The ovarian size is due to the increased stimulation you received. It will take up to two weeks to resolve in size from the cessation of the pregnancy. Remember, even though your first cycle has not been successful, you and your husband were able to go through all the steps needed to accomplish IVF, with some good embryos to transfer. I hope that you will consider trying again.

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.

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