Monday, December 26, 2011
Implantation Problems & Causes Of Chemical Pregnancy
Hi again, it's K. in NY. I have written to you in the past about my difficulties staying pregnant. I have had 7 chemical pregnancies in the past 18 months and one miscarriage at 9 weeks after using femara (you felt it was probably due to a respiratory virus I contrated around 6 weeks). I tested positive for MTHFR mutation heterozygous but also this didn't appear to be the issue.
I guess I have a 2 part question for you. The first would be related to causes of chemical pregnancies. My progesterone levels have been on the low side of normal (even during the pregnancy that ended in miscarrige) and I really thought that was the cause. I was placed on 50 mg suppositories 2 months ago and I did get a positive result this month (8 DPO Hcg 12, progesterone 18.8, took femara and progesterone) but my HCG level was back to <5 on 10 DPO.
Are there other implantation issues that could be my problem besides chromosomal abnormalities and low progesterone that lead to a pregnancy not progressing? I know I shouldn't test early, but I was trying to establish if low progesterone levels were the cause of my losses.
Part 2: is it possible to just have an underlying HCG level that elevates above 5 regularly, and if so, what would that signify? As you may remember, my old RE wrote off the HCG values as me eating too much cereal and developing an antibody to HCG that triggers pregnancy tests. I will be visiting a new RE soon and want to be sure to ask the right questions and supply the best information.Thank you very much for all of your insight and for volunteering your services. Merry Christmas!
Hello K. from the U.S. (New York),
Let me take the second question first since it is the easier of the two to answer. The answer is NO, you can't have an underlying HCG level from cereal or any other source other than pregnancy. Serum pregnancy tests are very sensitive and testing for the beta subtype (bHCG), so there is no cross reaction even if the cows you were using the milk from were given hormones for some reason (I presume that is what your old RE was thinking as a source. A little far fetched if you ask me).
In terms of your chemical pregnancies, that is a difficult problem to answer. If you have already undergone a complete recurrent miscarriage evaluation (hormones, infectious diseases, anatomical, genetic, immunologic) then we may not have the technology to find the exact cause. However, the hormonal is easy to check through blood tests, and I automatically place my patients on progesterone supplementation just in case; anatomical testing would take an ultrasound and hysteroscopy, again an easy test; and infectious diseases and genetic are also easy to test. The only one that is difficult and not completely understood is the immunologic component. Many authorities have looked into many different immune factors.
If you look at a website by Reproductive Immunology Associates, who have made a practice of the immunologic causes of miscarriage, you will see lots of different test that they recommend. Because this component is so difficult to define, experts have conflicting opinions.
If you were my patient, I would put you on a protocol that I use and, for the most part, have been successful with. It involves taking aspirin 81 mg per day starting at the beginning of the cycle, medrol (prednisone) 16 mg per day taken from the beginning of the cycle then decreasing to 8 mg after ovulation, progesterone vaginal suppositories beginning after ovulation and, finally, heparin 2000 units twice per day subcutaneously beginning at the start of the cycle. The aspirin, medrol and heparin treat for subclinical immunologic problems and the aspirin and heparin also help to increase blood flow at the microvascular level at the implantation.
Good Luck & Merry Christmas to you too :) ,
Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
Comment: Thank you SO much for your opinion. I will definitely have to look into these additional things. Glad to hear that I am doing all that I can do on my own and that I am advocating for the right things. It makes a HUGE difference when you have an idea what direction you should be headed so that you can work with a doctor to get there. Merry Christmas!