Diminished Ovarian Reserve & Low Morphology: Joanna’s Story [SUCCESS]

February 8, 2021

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Today’s journey story of a woman named Joanna. She is a 34-year-old teacher who enjoys baking, reading, and listening to podcasts. Joanna and her husband waited a year after getting married before they started trying to conceive. A year later when they still weren’t successful, she consulted her OB/GYN. She was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. All of their initial testing came back normal except for elevated thyroid levels. After unsuccessful timed intercourse and IUI cycles, they moved on to IVF. Their first fresh transfer ended in a missed miscarriage. Their second retrieval resulted in 2 normal embryos. Prior to transferring, they did an ERA, which showed she was receptive, but the FET still failed. At a low point in their journey, they consulted with me about the next steps. I recommended they switch to a specific clinic and doctor. They did 2 retrievals, which resulted in 7 normal embryos. Their first FET ended in a blighted ovum. Join us to hear how Joanna did one more transfer and is now in her second trimester.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Joanna was naive to infertility struggles and thought anything could be achieved with hard work
  • How she met her husband online, but she delayed responding to him because he was younger; later, they met and hit it off right away
  • As a couple, they are opposites, and he adds fun and variety to her more serious life
  • How Joanna had a very specific plan for life, which included having children
  • Why she chose a teaching career because it allowed a good schedule for motherhood
  • In 2016, they married, but they waited a year before trying to conceive; Joanna tracked her cycles and saw her Ob
  • Initial testing showed low progesterone levels, and her Ob referred her to a reproductive endocrinologist
  • After an HSG, MRI, and blood tests, the only problems were high TSH and low AMH
  • How she started with timed intercourse with Clomid, then IUI with Clomid followed by letrozole—no success
  • As they felt desperate, they turned to IVF in 2019; with two embryos, they transferred one, but a positive pregnancy test resulted in a missed miscarriage and a D & C
  • How they had additional testing and got a second opinion with a new doctor who recommended a different protocol and supplements
  • Since Joanna’s doctor was amenable to the new protocol recommendations, they prepared for the next IVF in August
  • With two normal embryos and one low-level mosaic after PGT, their FET was unsuccessful
  • How they took time off to decide on the next steps, and Joanna consulted with Heather in January 2020
  • At Heather’s recommendation, Joanna saw an endometriosis specialist in NYC in February
  • When she went to a new clinic, there were more tests and lifestyle recommendations; the doctor was hopeful but realistic
  • Tests revealed that Joanna and her husband both had the MTHFR gene mutation, so they went on medication
  • They started a new IVF cycle in March; ten eggs yielded two normal embryos, and then another stim cycle yielded ten more eggs and five normal embryos
  • In May, Joanna prepared for a saline sonogram for a polyp that had disappeared
  • One embryo was transferred, and beta numbers were positive; nothing showed on the ultrasound, and a recheck later confirmed a blighted ovum
  • When a recurrent loss panel showed normal results, Joanna prepped for another transfer
  • With a transfer in September 2020, Joanna got a positive result; she’s now 25 weeks into her pregnancy
  • Joanna’s family history of infertility with two maternal aunts and one sister has made her more compassionate and understanding
  • How Joanna’s painful periods prompted her to see a medical professional at the beginning
  • Why Joanna started with her OB/GYN first
  • Why Joanna sought a second opinion after the disappointment of the first cycle
  • Joanna’s experience at the new clinic compared to the first one
  • What it was like to manage a teaching job while going through treatment
  • Why Joanna decided to be open with her co-workers so they could understand what she was going through
  • Joanna’s tips for advocating: educate yourself, get information, and don’t be afraid to call your own shots
  • How infertility changed Joanna: “I’m more empathetic. I realize that people go through things that no one knows about. Infertility has opened my eyes to everyone’s struggles.”
  • Joanna’s advice to her past self: “Go to the RE sooner. Lean on your family for help.”

 

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Thanks for listening!

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