Infertility/Fertility/Fresh vs Frozen


Hello - I have been reading you blogs for some time now and am so thankful that you take the time you do with such thoughtful answers.
I am 38 and husband is 41. My history is as follows: 2009 wasted time on clomid prescribed by ob, 2010 saw RE and began the real journey. Major issue is male factor morphology but I suspect with my age quality may be issue too.
2010 had 2 Fresh IVF cycles, first was a failure 3 eggs collected, thankfully 3 fertilized and implanted 2 (1 frozen) but no pregnancy, cycle 2 doubled my stim meds to 300 gonal f and 150 repronex, collected 13 eggs but transferred 2 "decent" but beta was very low around 70 the pregnancy continued to around 11 weeks saw heartbeat but clearly there was issues as the size kept loosing ground until miscarriage and D&E. Cycle 3 same meds, 13 eggs, transferred 2 on day 5 and then arrived my beautiful baby girl delivered 12/29/2011.  Fast forward to 2013 where I have done two more fresh cycles same protocol, birth control, 10 lupron, to 5 lupron when stimming, retrievals after 9-10 days of stims. Cycle 4 resulted in collecting 20 eggs, 2 "decent" transferred on day 5 (blastocyst and morula) very low beta resulted in loss about a week later.  Cycle 5 same protocol except menopur instead of repronex, collected 18 eggs, 14 fertilized and transferred 2 blastocysts on day 5. This was a negative. BTW all cycles are ICSI and included medrol, baby aspirin, antibiotics, vivelle patches and  progesterone in oil injections.  
My question is what are your thoughts on frozen ET.  I have 4 frozen embryos 1 from cycle 1, 1 from cycle 4 and 2 from cycle 5. RE and hubby think I should take a break and try for FET. I and concerned as I don't want to "waste" a cycle insurance will cover on the lower cost option but the meds did really affect me this time and see their point about giving my body a rest. I am at a very reputable clinic in Boston and doc said 4 frozen is a lot due to their strict freezing criteria so am optimistic although obviously embyro age has no advantage. Would FET also be something you would recommend at this point? Fresh cycles are a big logistical challenge as my husband travels 70% of the time.

Also if I go back to fresh cycle is ther anything significantly different you would do (btw I am also doing acupuncture). thank you in advance for your time. I also want to say I am very grateful for my daughter and don't want to seem selfish but I would really like her to grow up with a sibling.

Hello Jenny from the U.S. (Boston),

It sounds like you are in good hands.  Your clinic has accomplished several pregnancies, which is an IVF success.  Keep in mind that IVF can only give you the "opportunity" to become pregnant.  It can't make you pregnant because the last three steps (embryo hatching from its shell, attachment to the endometrial lining, and lining growing around the embryo are natural processes that are in God's hands.  That fact that you got a pregnancy (positive bHCG) shows that those steps occurred.  Continuation of the pregnancy is then based on pregnancy factors and not IVF factors.  Because of your age, your chances of a miscarriage are high due to abnormal embryos.  You've shown that you can get pregnant, and your ovaries stimulate very well.  Now it is just a matter of finding the perfect egg/embryo which will then lead to a successful pregnancy.  I wish all my 38 year olds responded as you do.  So hang in there!

I think I would advise proceeding with the FET cycle before another fresh cycle.  It is a much easier cycle on your body, and some newer studies are showing better pregnancy rates than fresh, probably because of the lack of overstimulation of the endometrial lining.  I don't completely agree that FET is "better" but it certainly gives a good chance.  If they fail, you can certainly try fresh cycles again.  I would advise two FET cycles consecutively.  In fact, I always advise my patients to do an FET cycle, if they have frozens, before trying a fresh cycle again.  You never know. . . the frozen might work.

In terms of additional protocol changes, you are doing everything that I have my patients do in terms of supplemental medications, but I also add low dose heparin (2000 U per day).  Not all RE's agree with this protocol, but it is an accepted protocol for recurrent pregnancy loss so you might want to ask your RE.

Thanks for following my Blog.

Good Luck,

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

Monterey, California, U.S.A.

for additional information check out my blog at check me out on twitter with me at @montereybayivf and facebook @montereybayivf.  Skype and internet comprehensive consultations now available via my website for those who want a more extensive evaluation that this site can accommodate.


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Edward Joseph Ramirez, MD, FACOG


I am a specialist in infertility and advanced gynecological care. I can answer questions about infertility, gynecology related ills, menopause...virtually anything that affects women's health. PLEASE tell me where you are writing from as I am always interested.


I have been practicing as an Ob/Gyn and Infertility Specialist for over 23 years. Gynecology, advanced laparoscopic surgery, basic infertility, IUI's, IVF, reproductive surgery, and ovulation induction are all areas of my expertise. I am Board Certified. I have been doing In Vitro Fertilization in my clinic for 19 years.

American College of OB/GYN, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, California Medical Association, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Fellow of The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wall Street Journal, Monterey Herald, SERMO, Women's Health and Fertility Blog

Medical Degree from Stanford University, Residency at Tripler Army Medical Center, Reproductive Training at Pacific Fertility Center, San Francisco

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