【Real case Hsinchu City 42y Public Official】
Thanks for Honji Fertility Team, our dream had come true~
25 times of ovum retrieval and 10 times of transplantation, a 42-year-old’s Amazing Grace~
My husband and I were both born in early 1960s, and we did not use any contraception after we got married. We started to seek medical help for pregnancy since 1992. Initial fallopian tube exams and hysteroscopy were both normal, but until 1994, a total of four artificial fertilizations were unsuccessful. In 1995, I tried traditional test-tube treatment at age 33 and the cause of infertility was found to be combination difficulty of the sperm and ovum (under natural pregnancy, 1 out of 13 available ova was fertilized). I had gone through three times of traditional test-tube treatment from age 33 to 36: ovum retrieval under general anesthesia, 5 transplantation of fresh and frozen embryos, including D2 fallopian tube transplantation, all of these had failed. In the year of 1998, I was 36 and I consulted Doctor Chang in China Medical University Hospital in Taichung. Perhaps I was not aware of the urgency or still dreaming about natural pregnancy, I did not continue with test-tube procedures. Instead, I chose traditional Chinese medicine, nutrition aid, and acupuncture (giving up partly?) Moreover, I visited various major temples around Taiwan relentlessly. I also collected the penetration stone of Hsuehshan Tunnel and the golden shovels of the birth goddess. We tried special treatments, too. For example, my husband received varicocele surgery to improve the quality of his sperm. We also accepted a procedure that required centrifuging his blood and subcutaneously injecting the white blood cells to my arm. But the good news did not happen.
Because of work, I moved to the northern area at the end of 2012. After taking Chinese medicine for many years, my Chinese medical doctor suggested me to confirm ovulation at a western obstetric and gynecologic clinic. Luckily Doctor Chang established Honji Fertility Center in Taipei. Not only were the location convenient and the visit schedule flexible, I also agreed with Doctor Chang’s regimen utilizing natural cycles. Thus, I had my first treatment at Honji Fertility Center at age 39. During this treatment, I took only ovulating medication. 3 eggs were retrieved without anesthesia and 2 were successfully cultured as A-class frozen blastulas (return on investment is pretty high). The two unfrozen blastulas were transplanted during the natural cycle in March 2013, and the pregnancy test showed aβ-hcg value of 71, which meant the implantation was not promising. Subsequently the embryos atrophied, so the attempt was failed.
Since the transplantation of unfrozen blastulas resulted in shallow implantation, the strategy was changed to use fresh ones. My second treatment at Honji Fertility Center in July 2013 (The fifth test-tube procedure in my life) ended up being treated as artificial fertilization. This was obviously unsuccessful. I wanted to retry in September 2013, yet Doctor Chang was on leave. Wishing not to wait until the next cycle, I temporarily shifted to a large hospital in Taipei.
In October 2013, I did traditional test-tube treatment in the above mentioned large hospital (the dose of the ovulating medicine was 2850IU). 4 eggs were retrieved under general anesthesia and 3 were fertilized, then the 3 original-class embryos were transplanted to D2. Looking at the picture of the embryos, I imagined them successfully finding nice places to stay. But after the general anesthesia, I had severe abdominal pain even during the transplantation. Undoubtedly the result was a failure again. Considering that Doctor Chang could perform low-pain ovum retrieval without anesthesia, I went back to Honji Fertility Center at the end of 2013 (Doctor Chang still kindly accepted me as his/her patient). I insisted to receive ovulating injection rather than oral medicine, and the result was only one 8-cell embryo transplanted to D3. The pregnancy test showed HCG remnant. Doctor Chang advised me to reconsider the regimen of transplantation of frozen blastulas during the natural cycle, but I still insisted on my own opinion and refused.
In March 2014, I had been transplanted a fresh embryo and a morula at Honji Fertility Center and this did not work out. Accidentally I found my cut-off value for thrombus significantly raised after transplantation, so I visited the Immunology and Rheumatology Department in another hospital. The immunology doctor advised me not to take chicken essence and bird’s nest, and to inject immunoglobulin and heparin before transplantation.
I finally decided to accept Doctor Chang’s suggestion in May 2014: several transplantation of multiple frozen blastulas. After the collection of 13 cycles, there were 22 embryos and 8 blastulas cultured. Finally in November 2015, the 13th ovum retrieval acquired 1 fresh blastula and 2 unfrozen blastulas for transplantation. After transplantation, I went to the other hospital for heparin injection (Doctor Chang was aware and disagreed with the benefits). The result was successful implantation of singleton. Currently it is 22 weeks, and there are still 5 frozen blastulas stored at Honji Fertility Center. I wish myself blessed to bring them home later.
Episode：During the collection at Honji Fertility Center, I visited another infertility clinic in Hsinchu, which is famous for its laboratory. I had done 4 times of ovum retrieval there, and they offered beautiful pictures each time. The total of 4 embryos were cultured as 1 blastula, but the result of PGS biopsy was abnormal, so I did not have the chance to proceed transplantation. The doctor in Hsinchu thought that I was playing luck and took exception to me. He/She said his/her clinic was my last chance. Furthermore, he/she expressed to stop ovum retrieval for me if there are no available eggs for consecutive cycles or when my age is over 43. In that case, he/she asked me to give up and consider taking others’ ova. I should thank him/her for his/her pride and opinion, and luckily Doctor Chang had returned to practice, so that I could go back to Honji Fertility Center and decided not to opt for the 25% of PGS. During the collection, I had come to realize if my ova will not succeed, I would choose to use others’.
The process of pursuing pregnancy is like the reflection of life!
I was a slow and hesitant person, and I could only concentrate on one thing at a time (That’s why the frozen procedure and singleton suited me well). But why can’t we just bear the question mark and hesitation and keep going with tears and laughter?
For more than a decade, I blamed myself, my husband, and everyone. Every failure was a cause of argument over divorce, but every time my husband and I cried together. We thought that there will be just the two of us, so why bothered for a child? Yet when we knew that someone was pregnant, the feeling was especially unbearable. I remember the very next day of my second failure in the beginning of 1997, we heard that one of our relatives had a second baby through natural pregnancy. I could not help to think that it would have been our baby initially. Recalling from now, the terrible thought existed no wonder the baby dared not to come. Until now, I gradually realize that everyone’s happiness is not to be conflicted. As long as we remain humble and persistent, our good news will happen sooner or later.
As for the difficulties during the collection, I deemed these as the child observing if we are qualified to be responsible parents. Therefore, when we got to know that the same relative accidentally having a third pregnancy along the procedure at the end of October 2015, my instant reaction was true blessing and congratulation. Because I know that our baby is awaiting for us.
Excellent infertility doctors are not few, but you need someone who suits you to have a full discussion. Honji Fertility Center may not offer beautiful pictures, but Doctor Chang does own great skills. Doctor Chang’s theory of black and white hair is actually the easy version of probability. Since my AMH level was as low as menopause, I had to do ovum retrieval almost every cycle to increase the chance of picking up black hair in limited time. Among these, some cycles produced follicles without ova, some were three embryos but no blastula, and some were only 1 egg but eventually blastulas. Thus, every cycle is independent. Don’t get frustrated because of one failure. Consider your own condition (budget, physical and mental condition, work and leave, etc.) to choose what is suitable for you. Adjust your thoughts. You can go for a meal or buy something for yourself when things are difficult. Shorten the complaining time and be grateful for all these obstacles and waiting. Because all these make us more certain and determined, and it provides us strength and gentleness to offer positive love and blessing for the new life.
My last words for everyone working on this: To hold on is easier than to give up. The good news is not bad, it is just being late!