Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis-Baby's Beginning

My experiences of concieving our first child using preimplantation genetic diagnosis

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The new plan

After careful consideration, we've decided on a new plan. I've been thinking more and more about all those hormone drugs I would have to take, and thinking how bad that would be for the baby. Doctors say that the baby isn't harmed and turns out fine, but still...I know that can't be healthy. Also, we've found more discouraging statistics regarding IVF procedures (in vitro fertilization - the rest of the process, not specifically including PGD, of fertilizing and implanting the egg). Although the PGD genetic testing is very accurate (98-99%), the actual whole process that includes fertilizing and implanting the egg, and giving birth to a live baby, has relatively low success rates.

Many couples with fertility problems, but not any genetic diseases, do IVF's because they can't become pregnant naturally. So there is a lot of data available to look at since this procedure is relatively common. They say only around 60% of IVF procedures end in a baby being born. The other 40% do not implant or have miscarriages. This is very discouraging. However, I wonder a bit whether these statistics really apply to us, because IVF statistics come from mostly couples with fertility problems, whereas we don't have any fertility problems (at least that we know of), we only have the worry about passing on the genetic disease. We could probably become pregnant naturally without much trouble if we wanted to (although the baby might have IP), whereas other IVF couples often have multiple problems with the woman's cervix or eggs or the man has bad sperm or a low sperm count, or other problems like this.

That might be why the success rates listed for PGD/IVF combination procedures are much higher that IVF alone - because couples going for PGD often might not have any fertility problems, they might only be trying to avoid a genetic disease, like us, compared to IVF alone comples that are only doing IVF because of fertility problems.

Still, all of this really got me thinking. If all of this IVF procedure doesn't work for some reason, we'd be out a lot of money and time and health (they don't give refunds). And there's also the added worry of having so many drugs pumped into my system. We do have a 50% of having an unaffected baby. Perhaps my husband's idea of trying, at least once, is not such a bad idea. It's the same odds as flipping a coin. And if we got lucky, it would be so great. No drugs, no expenses (comparitivly), and all natural. Also, the 60% IVF success rate is not much better than our 50% anyways.

So, we talked about it, and our new plan is this: We're going to take our chances and try naturally once. If I get pregnant, we'll do the 1st trimester prenatal test for the disease. If it's positive, no matter what the sex, we will have an abortion. At that time, we will reevaluate our plan and decide whether we want to risk trying again, or go for the PGD. Although it was a hard decision for the girl, we just can't risk having a mentally retarded child. We'll try for the next 6 months. If I don't become pregnant, then my husband will do a sperm fertility check (since I already had an exam for me), and we'll reevaluate our plan and what to do then. In the mean time, since the PGD takes several months to setup, we'll continue doing our research and planning for it, just incase we're unlucky and the natural method doesn't turn out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what you're doing with this blog is a great idea and an excellent way for couples considering PGD to identify with another couple facing similar choices.

About a year ago, my wife and I were researching PGD and trying to get a handle on what was involved. We are both carriers of Cystic Fibrosis, meaning our child would have a 25% chance of inheriting the disease. Unfortunately, we only learned this after becoming pregnant. My wife learned she was a carrier through pre-natal bloodwork. Then I was tested and learned that I was a carrier as well. After several anxiety-ridden weeks, we got the results of our amnio and discovered the baby did inherit CF. We terminated the pregnancy at 20 weeks.

The experience was utterly devastating. We felt confident in the decision then and stand by it today, but there are few words to describe the depth of the loss and the inescapable feelings of guilt we will feel in varying degrees for the rest of our lives.

We sought counseling and grieved for six months before pursuing PGD/IVF. I'm happy to report that every step of the process went exactly as described. My wife became pregnant successfully last March and we are 6 days past our due date as I write this post tonight. We are literally sitting by our Christmas tree waiting for the baby to come.

The journey has been a long one. The IVF process was by no stretch an easy one, but it was manageable. The expenses were significant but Oxford stepped up quite nicely.

My advice to you and to your readers would be not to underestimate the emotional and spiritual impact of terminating a pregnancy. The science that allows us to avoid this is amazing and available. Don't get too caught up in numbers and statistics. They can work for you as quickly as they can work against you. Get organized, rally your patience and dealing with the insurance companies can end happily.

Good luck with your decision and your future. I'll stay tuned to your blog.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 6:20:00 p.m.  
Blogger PGDMom said...

Thank you very much for sharing your story. Luckily, although our plan resulted in a miscarriage from my disorder, we weren't faced with the decision to terminate. I know that we would have, though, had the baby not terminated on its own, and I'm grateful that it happened naturally.

I hope your baby comes soon! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, October 21, 2007 11:41:00 a.m.  

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