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by Dr. Geoffrey Sher on December 1, 2015

You are not alone. Dr. Sher is here to answer your questions and support you.

If you would like to schedule a one on one Skype, telephone, or in person consultation with Dr. Sher, please fill out the form on the right and our team will get you scheduled right away.

Dear Patients,

I created this forum to welcome any questions you have on the topic of infertility, IVF, conception, testing, evaluation, or any related topics. I do my best to answer all questions in less than 24 hours. I know your question is important and, in many cases, I will answer within just a few hours. Thank you for taking the time to trust me with your concern.

– Geoffrey Sher, MD

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  • Katie - March 4, 2018 reply

    Hey Dr Sher, how important is aligning cycle day with day of starting estrogen priming for an FET? Is starting estrogen on any of cycle days 1-4 acceptable?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 5, 2018 reply

    Probably OK, but I like to start as early as possible.

    Geoff Sher

  • Andrea - March 4, 2018 reply

    My RE agreed to run the DQ Alpha Gene test for myself and my husband. I just got the results from the lab today. Just wondering what you think.
    My results: 3:01, 3:01
    My husband’s results: 3:05, 5:01
    Background info: I’m 34, husband is 32. I have PCOS. I had 3 chemical pregnancies with IUIs in 2017. We moved on to IVF with PGS testing. Our first frozen embryo transfer failed. We did the ERA biopsy after and learned I needed an extra day on progesterone before transferring. Our second transfer was successful. However, I had to have a D&C at 8 weeks, 2 days. The D&C results say our embryo had Turner syndrome and was mosaic. We have four more frozen embryos, 3 males PGS normal, 1 unknown because there wasn’t enough DNA in the cells when it was tested. We did a thrombiphilia blood panel and everything was normal. NK cells seems to be at normal levels. No translocations between me or my husband. We also checked my uterus for anatomical issues and everything is normal. I asked my RE to run the DQ Alpha Gene test because I want to make sure there are no autoimmune or allo- immune issues causing my pregnancy losses.

    My RE is confident my next transfer should be successful particularly because I have make embryos.

    Please let me know what you think.
    Thank you.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 5, 2018 reply

    I do not reacall whether you were tested for NK cell activation using the K-562 target cell blood test and/or using endometrial biopsy for cytokines. If you do not have NK cell activation, I would feel more comfortable agreeing with your RE here.

    Geoff sher

    Andrea - March 5, 2018 reply

    I don’t know what type of NK cell test my RE ran. I don’t think my doctor did the endometrial biopsy for cytokines. My lymphocytes, absolute were 2935. My cd3-cd16+cd56 (abs) was 355. My cd3-/cd16+cd56+ (%) was 12. Would you recommend a different NK cell test? Or an endometrial biopsy to test the cytokines?

    Were my DQ Alpha gene results normal in relation to my husband’s results?

    Thank you very much Dr. Sher.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 6, 2018 reply

    There was no apparent DQa match.

    There are several methods by which NK cell activation (cytotoxicity) can be assessed in the laboratory. Methods such as immunohistochemical assessment of uterine NK cells and/or TH-1 and TH-2 cytokines have been used with some success. However, use of the K-562 target cell test remains the gold standard. With this test, NK cells are isolated from the woman’s blood using Flow Cytometry and are incubated in the presence of specific “target cells”. These are then incubated together. The percentage (%) of “target cells” killed through exposure to NKa/CTL-TH1 cytokines is then quantified.

    Currently, there are less than a half dozen Reproductive Immunology Reference Laboratories in the U.S.A that are capable of performing the K-562 Target cell test reliably. I have for 20 + years been working with Reprosource in Boston, MA and preferentially recommend them to my patients.

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

    Andrea - March 6, 2018

    Thank you very much!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 7, 2018

    You are very welcome, Andrea!

    Geoff Sher

  • ema Zozo - March 4, 2018 reply

    44 yrs old, have a baby. the doctor is using double stimulation technique with me. i am undergoing the second IVF with double stimulation technique. During the first phase of the first ivf, one egg was visible to be aspirated, it was damaged during collection (fractured zonas ). during the second phase 3 eggs were aspirated and two embryos were returned, The third did not show finalization) —no pregnancy
    during the second ivf, the mature two eggs of the first face were also damaged during collection. what are the possible reasons. is it related to the dr and the mechanical aspiration forces or to my age or the utilized technique of stimulation or what?

    ema Zozo - March 4, 2018 reply

    Thank you so much in advance Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018 reply

    Sure!

    Geoff Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018 reply

    Hi there,

    Respectfully, there is no doubt that at 44y of age, regardless of ovarian reserve you should be looking exclusively at IVF-egg donation. The chance of success is far too small no matter how you perform stimulation or conduct the technical procedures involved. However, if you are insistent on trying with own eggs then please consider the following:

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    ema Zozo - March 4, 2018 reply

    Thank you so much, do you think that trying normal pregnancy is better than ivf in my case. i am asking because i got pregnant twice, last year – one was spontaneous and the other was on clomid. none of them completed

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 5, 2018 reply

    I cannot make that deduction based upon the information you provide. We would need to talk.

    Geoff Sher
    800-780-7437

    ema Zozo - March 5, 2018

    Thank you so much

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 6, 2018

    You are most welcome.

    Geoff Sher

  • KHarper - March 3, 2018 reply

    Dear Dr. Sher, First, than you so much for all you do. The information here is amazing and is probably the reason we finally have a viable pregnancy! We have been working with a fertility clinic for 5 years. We have tried many IUIs and IVF cycles. My partner ,who is now pregnant, began the journey with fibroids and endometriosis. She had surgery to remove fibroids. Even at the beginning of our 7 IVF cycles, she had low numbers of eggs or none, for retrieval (5,5, empty follicles, empty follicles, disintegrating eggs 2x) after ovarian stimulation, eggs that disintegrated upon retrieval, and twice had completely empty follicles. She had low AMH. We did have 2 chemical pregnancies from her own eggs. Making a very long story shorter, our clinic finally recommended donor eggs. We purchased 6. Our first two transfers resulted in an “implantation rash”, but failed immediately. This caused us to begin to research immunity as a factor in our many failed attempts. We used your information to create a protocol for ourselves. We asked for IVIG a week before transfer plus weekly IL after, low dose prednisone (20mg/day), we added Lovenox 60mg/day. We added the Lovenox because my partner”s maternal grandmother had thrombophilia. We honestly had little hope of success after so much failure and were amazed and overjoyed to get a positive pregnancy test after our FET on January 4th, 2018! The embryo is going strong, growing, strong heartbeat, and very active. Last week we had a scare when my partner had a very bad bleed. It turned out to be a hemorrhage from a subchorionic hematoma. Our clinic did not measure it or mention its location, though now we know that would be good information to have. The bleeding has stopped after several days of bed rest and the embryo is still fine. My question, in light of the subchorionic hematoma and the immunological risks, how would you support this pregnancy? Since we created the protocol and our RE is responding to our suggestions, we have to make some of these decisions.

    *Should we continue the Lovenox through the entire pregnancy? If yes, at 30mg or continue at 60mg/day?
    *How much progesterone would be best or what blood levels should we maintain? (now on 1.5mg of Progesterone in Oil injections)
    *Continue low dose prednisone longer due to SCH or wean off at 12 weeks?
    *We have stopped estrogen, is that ok?
    *Any other ideas?
    Once again, thank you for your kindness and generosity. Your site and blog has been invaluable to us! Kendra Harper

    KHarper - March 3, 2018 reply

    Oops, I apologize for the confusion at the beginning of my post and some muddled edits. Also, I never mentioned that my partner was 35 at the beginning of our journey and is now 40. We are using donor sperm and eggs.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Copy!

    Geoff Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Thank you for your kind sentiments. It is people like you that make my contribution so satisfying

    The following input is subject to your treating doctor making all final recommendations.

    1. I would tail the pednisone down after 8 weeks and stop by 10w.

    2. If all vaginal bleeding has stopped for at least 1week and the SCH is showing no signs of expanding, and subject to the type of thrombophilia, I would advocate continuing 30mg Lovenox throughout pregnancy.

    2. I would stop estrogen at 10 weeks.

    4. I prescribe 100mg PIO daily + vaginal suppositories of progesterone through the 10th week and then stop.

    G-d bless!

    Geoff Sher

    KHarper - March 4, 2018 reply

    Thank you so very much for your rapid and thoughtful response! I really can’t fully express our gratitude! We will consult our RE. I forgot to ask about Intra Lipids. Is there any merit in continuing them? We are currently at 10 weeks and 6 days pregnant and have had them every week so far since transfer.
    Many Blessings to you, Dr, Sher

    KHarper - March 4, 2018 reply

    I think I found the answer in your blog: “Treatment of autoimmune implantation dysfunction requires that IL (with corticosteroids) be administered only twice, once 7–14 days prior to embryo transfer and then one more time when the beta hCG blood level has shown evidence of an appropriate rise, thereby suggesting that healthy implantation could be in progress.” So, it looks like the 8 weeks we’ve done should be sufficient, right? Kendra

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018

    Copy!

    Geoff Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018 reply

    In the absence of alloimmune implantation dysfunction (DQ alpha/HLA matching), I advocate only 2 infusions of 20% Intralipid. The 1st is 10-14 days prior to ET and the second (final) is with the initial detection of a +ve beta hCG blood test….none thereafter. The treatment is combined with daily low-dosage corticosteroid which, in the event of a pregnancy is continued to 8 weeks and then tailed off over the ensuing 2 weeks (by 10 weeks).

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

    KHarper - March 4, 2018

    Thank you!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018

    You are very welcome!

    Geoff Sher

  • Val - March 3, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr Sher

    I am currently undergoing a medicated fet. I have been on 8mg estrogen since day 1 of cycle. I had my first scan on day 11 and lining was 7.4mm and follicle under 10mm. Today I had another scan on day 15 and my lining has gone down to 6mm. What could be the possible cause of this?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    I really would need to have much more detail to comment authoritatively.

    Feel free to call Julie at 800-780-7437 to set up a Skype consultation with me to discuss.

    Geoff Sher

  • Kim - March 3, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher. I am 37 and my husband is 43. My AMH is 9.5 pmol/L, D3 FSH 5.1 IU/L. I’ve gotten pregnant naturally 3 times all ended in miscarriage (1st blighted ovum found week 10 ultrasound and D&C was performed, 2nd and 3rd was early chemical pregnancy but likely due to scarring found from D&C). I just went through a mico flare cycle with 450 Gonal F, 10,000 HCG trigger, with PGS testing. I had 12-14 good size follicle (range 12mm-24mm) with E2 level of 11,000 pmol/L at trigger. A bit surprised we only retrieved 6 eggs out of all the good size follicle and high E2 level. 4 were mature and fertilized. All 4 made to day 5 and 2 that graded 5BA and 3BC were normal in the PGS testing. We are doing another round as I would like 4-6 normal embryo frozen before moving to FET as we don’t have any children and ideally would like 2. For the next cycle, we are trying to decide between doing another round of micro flare protocol which we know what the likely outcome will be. Or try an antagonist cycle with 400 gonal F and 150 menopur, 10,000 HCG and triptorelin for dual trigger in hopes of trying to get more of the eggs out of the follicle. I would love your thought on whether you think we should stick with the micro flare protocol given we know what the outcome will be or should we take the unknown by trying a different protocol where we don’t know what the result will be in hopes of better outcome and retrieval?

    Kim - March 3, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher. Sorry there was a typo, it should say 300 Gonal F and 150 menopur for the antagonist cycle. Also, if Antagonist is the way to go, do you recommend day 1, day 5 of flexible antagonist cycle? Any recommendation on protocol approach would be greatly appreciated.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Here is the protocol I advise for women, <40Y who have adequate ovarian reserve.
    My advice is to use a long pituitary down regulation protocol starting on a BCP, and overlapping it with Lupron 10U daily for three (3) days and then stopping the BCP but continuing on Lupron 10u daily (in my opinion 20U daily is too much) and await a period (which should ensue within 5-7 days of stopping the BCP). At that point an US examination is done along with a baseline measurement of blood estradiol to exclude a functional ovarian cyst and simultaneously, the Lupron dosage is reduced to 5U daily to be continued until the hCG (10,000u) trigger. An FSH-dominant gonadotropin such as Follistim, Puregon or Gonal-f daily is started with the period for 2 days and then the gonadotropin dosage is reduced and a small amount of menotropin (Menopur---no more than 75U daily) is added. This is continued until US and blood estradiol levels indicate that the hCG trigger be given, whereupon an ER is done 36h later. I personally would advise against using Lupron in “flare protocol” arrangement (where the Lupron commences with the onset of gonadotropin administration.
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.
    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas
    • Should IVF Treatment Cycles be provided uninterrupted or be Conducted in 7-12 Pre-scheduled “Batches” per Year
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • “Triggering” Egg Maturation in IVF: Comparing urine-derived hCG, Recombinant DNA-hCG and GnRH-agonist:
    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    When it comes to reproduction, humans are the poorest performers of all mammals. In fact we are so inefficient that up to 75% of fertilized eggs do not produce live births, and up to 30% of pregnancies end up being lost within 10 weeks of conception (in the first trimester). RPL is defined as two (2) or more failed pregnancies. Less than 5% of women will experience two (2) consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% experience three or more.
    Pregnancy loss can be classified by the stage of pregnancy when the loss occurs:
    • Early pregnancy loss (first trimester)
    • Late pregnancy loss (after the first trimester)
    • Occult “hidden” and not clinically recognized, (chemical) pregnancy loss (occurs prior to ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy)
    • Early pregnancy losses usually occur sporadically (are not repetitive).
    In more than 70% of cases the loss is due to embryo aneuploidy (where there are more or less than the normal quota of 46 chromosomes). Conversely, repeated losses (RPL), with isolated exceptions where the cause is structural (e.g., unbalanced translocations), are seldom attributable to numerical chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy). In fact, the vast majority of cases of RPL are attributable to non-chromosomal causes such as anatomical uterine abnormalities or Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID).
    Since most sporadic early pregnancy losses are induced by chromosomal factors and thus are non-repetitive, having had a single miscarriage the likelihood of a second one occurring is no greater than average. However, once having had two losses the chance of a third one occurring is double (35-40%) and after having had three losses the chance of a fourth miscarriage increases to about 60%. The reason for this is that the more miscarriages a woman has, the greater is the likelihood of this being due to a non-chromosomal (repetitive) cause such as IID. It follows that if numerical chromosomal analysis (karyotyping) of embryonic/fetal products derived from a miscarriage tests karyotypically normal, then by a process of elimination, there would be a strong likelihood of a miscarriage repeating in subsequent pregnancies and one would not have to wait for the disaster to recur before taking action. This is precisely why we strongly advocate that all miscarriage specimens be karyotyped.
    There is however one caveat to be taken into consideration. That is that the laboratory performing the karyotyping might unwittingly be testing the mother’s cells rather than that of the conceptus. That is why it is not possible to confidently exclude aneuploidy in cases where karyotyping of products suggests a “chromosomally normal” (euploid) female.
    Late pregnancy losses (occurring after completion of the 1st trimester/12th week) occur far less frequently (1%) than early pregnancy losses. They are most commonly due to anatomical abnormalities of the uterus and/or cervix. Weakness of the neck of the cervix rendering it able to act as an effective valve that retains the pregnancy (i.e., cervical incompetence) is in fact one of the commonest causes of late pregnancy loss. So also are developmental (congenital) abnormalities of the uterus (e.g., a uterine septum) and uterine fibroid tumors. In some cases intrauterine growth retardation, premature separation of the placenta (placental abruption), premature rupture of the membranes and premature labor can also causes of late pregnancy loss.
    Much progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms involved in RPL. There are two broad categories:
    1. Problems involving the uterine environment in which a normal embryo is prohibited from properly implanting and developing. Possible causes include:
    • Inadequate thickening of the uterine lining
    • Irregularity in the contour of the uterine cavity (polyps, fibroid tumors in the uterine wall, intra-uterine scarring and adenomyosis)
    • Hormonal imbalances (progesterone deficiency or luteal phase defects). This most commonly results in occult RPL.
    • Deficient blood flow to the uterine lining (thin uterine lining).
    • Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID). A major cause of RPL. Plays a role in 75% of cases where chromosomally normal preimplantation embryos fail to implant.
    • Interference of blood supply to the developing conceptus can occur due to a hereditary clotting disorder known as Thrombophilia.
    2. Genetic and/or structural chromosomal abnormality of the embryo.Genetic abnormalities are rare causes of RPL. Structural chromosomal abnormalities are slightly more common but are also occur infrequently (1%). These are referred to as unbalanced translocation and they result from part of one chromosome detaching and then fusing with another chromosome. Additionally, a number of studies suggest the existence of paternal (sperm derived) effect on human embryo quality and pregnancy outcome that are not reflected as a chromosomal abnormality. Damaged sperm DNA can have a negative impact on fetal development and present clinically as occult or early clinical miscarriage. The Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) which measures the same endpoints are newer and possibly improved methods for evaluating.

    IMMUNOLOGIC IMPLANTATION DYSFUNCTION
    Autoimmune IID: Here an immunologic reaction is produced by the individual to his/her body’s own cellular components. The most common antibodies that form in such situations are APA and antithyroid antibodies (ATA).
    But it is only when specialized immune cells in the uterine lining, known as cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells, become activated and start to release an excessive/disproportionate amount of TH-1 cytokines that attack the root system of the embryo, that implantation potential is jeopardized. Diagnosis of such activation requires highly specialized blood test for cytokine activity that can only be performed by a handful of reproductive immunology reference laboratories in the United States.
    Alloimmune IID, i.e., where antibodies are formed against antigens derived from another member of the same species, is believed to be a relatively common immunologic cause of recurrent pregnancy loss.
    Autoimmune IID is often genetically transmitted. Thus it should not be surprising to learn that it is more likely to exist in women who have a family (or personal) history of primary autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus (LE), scleroderma or autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease), autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Reactionary (secondary) autoimmunity can occur in conjunction with any medical condition associated with widespread tissue damage. One such gynecologic condition is endometriosis. Since autoimmune IID is usually associated with activated NK and T-cells from the outset, it usually results in such very early destruction of the embryo’s root system that the patient does not even recognize that she is pregnant. Accordingly the condition usually presents as “unexplained infertility” or “unexplained IVF failure” rather than as a miscarriage.

    Alloimmune IID, on the other hand, usually starts off presenting as unexplained miscarriages (often manifesting as RPL). Over time as NK/T cell activation builds and eventually becomes permanently established the patient often goes from RPL to “infertility” due to failed implantation. RPL is more commonly the consequence of alloimmune rather than autoimmune implantation dysfunction.
    However, regardless, of whether miscarriage is due to autoimmune or alloimmune implantation dysfunction the final blow to the pregnancy is the result of activated NK cells and CTL in the uterine lining that damage the developing embryo’s “root system” (trophoblast) so that it can no longer sustain the growing conceptus. This having been said, it is important to note that autoimmune IID is readily amenable to reversal through timely, appropriately administered, selective immunotherapy, and alloimmune IID is not. It is much more difficult to treat successfully, even with the use of immunotherapy. In fact, in some cases the only solution will be to revert to selective immunotherapy plus using donor sperm (provided there is no “match” between the donor’s DQa profile and that of the female recipient) or alternatively to resort to gestational surrogacy.
    DIAGNOSING THE CAUSE OF RPL
    In the past, women who miscarried were not evaluated thoroughly until they had lost several pregnancies in a row. This was because sporadic miscarriages are most commonly the result of embryo numerical chromosomal irregularities (aneuploidy) and thus not treatable. However, a consecutive series of miscarriages points to a repetitive cause that is non-chromosomal and is potentially remediable. Since RPL is most commonly due to a uterine pathology or immunologic causes that are potentially treatable, it follows that early chromosomal evaluation of products of conception could point to a potentially treatable situation. Thus I strongly recommend that such testing be done in most cases of miscarriage. Doing so will avoid a great deal of unnecessary heartache for many patients.
    Establishing the correct diagnosis is the first step toward determining effective treatment for couples with RPL. It results from a problem within the pregnancy itself or within the uterine environment where the pregnancy implants and grows. Diagnostic tests useful in identifying individuals at greater risk for a problem within the pregnancy itself include:

    • Karyotyping (chromosome analysis) both prospective parents
    • Assessment of the karyotype of products of conception derived from previous miscarriage specimens
    • Ultrasound examination of the uterine cavity after sterile water is injected or sonohysterogram, fluid ultrasound, etc.)
    • Hysterosalpingogram (dye X-ray test)
    • Hysteroscopic evaluation of the uterine cavity
    • Full hormonal evaluation (estrogen, progesterone, adrenal steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, FSH/LH, etc.)
    • Immunologic testing to include:
    a) Antiphospholipid antibody (APA) panel
    b) Antinuclear antibody (ANA) panel
    c) Antithyroid antibody panel (i.e., antithyroglobulin and antimicrosomal antibodies)
    d) Reproductive immunophenotype
    e) Natural killer cell activity (NKa) assay (i.e., K562 target cell test)
    f) Alloimmune testing of both the male and female partners
    TREATMENT OF RPL
    Treatment for Anatomic Abnormalities of the Uterus: This involves restoration through removal of local lesions such as fibroids, scar tissue, and endometrial polyps or timely insertion of a cervical cerclage (a stitch placed around the neck of the weakened cervix) or the excision of a uterine septum when indicated.
    Treatment of Thin Uterine Lining: A thin uterine lining has been shown to correlate with compromised pregnancy outcome. Often this will be associated with reduced blood flow to the endometrium. Such decreased blood flow to the uterus can be improved through treatment with sildenafil and possibly aspirin.
    Sildenafil (Viagra) Therapy. Viagra has been used successfully to increase uterine blood flow. However, to be effective it must be administered starting as soon as the period stops up until the day of ovulation and it must be administered vaginally (not orally). Viagra in the form of vaginal suppositories given in the dosage of 25 mg four times a day has been shown to increase uterine blood flow as well as thickness of the uterine lining. To date, we have seen significant improvement of the thickness of the uterine lining in about 70% of women treated. Successful pregnancy resulted in 42% of women who responded to the Viagra. It should be remembered that most of these women had previously experienced repeated IVF failures.

    Use of Aspirin: This is an anti-prostaglandin that improves blood flow to the endometrium. It is administered at a dosage of 81 mg orally, daily from the beginning of the cycle until ovulation.
    Treating Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction with Selective Immunotherapy: Modalities such as IL/IVIg, heparinoids (Lovenox/Clexane), and corticosteroids (dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone) can be used in select cases depending on autoimmune or alloimmune dysfunction.
    The Use of IVF in the Treatment of RPL
    In the following circumstances, IVF is the preferred option:
    1. When in addition to a history of RPL, another standard indication for IVF (e.g., tubal factor, endometriosis, and male factor infertility) is superimposed.
    2. In cases where selective immunotherapy is needed to treat an immunologic implantation dysfunction.
    The reason for IVF being a preferred approach in such cases is that in order to be effective, the immunotherapy needs to be initiated well before spontaneous or induced ovulation. Given the fact that the anticipated birthrate per cycle of COS with or without IUI is at best about 15%, it follows that short of IVF, to have even a reasonable chance of a live birth, most women with immunologic causes of RPL would need to undergo immunotherapy repeatedly, over consecutive cycles. Conversely, with IVF, the chance of a successful outcome in a single cycle of treatment is several times greater and, because of the attenuated and concentrated time period required for treatment, IVF is far safer and thus represents a more practicable alternative
    Since embryo aneuploidy is a common cause of miscarriage, the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), with tests such as CGH, can provide a valuable diagnostic and therapeutic advantage in cases of RPL. PGD requires IVF to provide access to embryos for testing.
    There are a few cases of intractable alloimmune dysfunction due to absolute DQ alpha matching where Gestational Surrogacy or use of donor sperm could represent the only viable recourse, other than abandoning treatment altogether and/or resorting to adoption. Other non-immunologic factors such as an intractably thin uterine lining or severe uterine pathology might also warrant that last resort consideration be given to gestational surrogacy.
    The good news is that if a couple with RPL is open to all of the diagnostic and treatment options referred to above, a live birthrate of 70%–80% is ultimately achievable.

    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.
    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management:(Case Report
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; How it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Connie - March 2, 2018 reply

    Hello,

    I’m looking for some guidance….. I am 39 y/o. I just transferred 2- 37 Y/o I am 9dp5dt today. Beta negative.
    Past medical history:Psoriasis, Endo, partially blocked tubes,amh 1.3, fsh 8.8, est 191. I have random hives showing up on my stomach x6 months. I’m wondering if it’s happening in the luteal phase. I have to pay more attention.
    IVF cyles 3 retrievals, total of 12 embryos (all transfers were with 2). None PGS tested.
    IVF transfer 1- fresh negative, 2- FET intralipids, aspirin, medrol 12mg x5 days and lovenox- BFP one baby!
    3rd and 4th transfer same protocol negatives.
    5th transfer apsirin, intralipids 5 days before, medrol 12mg x5 days then prednisone 10mg daily, lovenox, benadryl 25mg 3x a day, pepcid 20mg 2x a day. On 7 and 8 dpt i developed hives despite the antihistamine protocol. My temperature this cycle tmax was 37.8. I should mention in cycle number 2 with my daughter 4dpt I had an allergic reaction, severe body aches and a temp of 38.0.

    What are we missing? Also given my age and numbers should I try to retrieve again.

    Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    I would not give up. First order of business is to determine the reason for failures.

    Whenever a patient fails to achieve a viable pregnancy following embryo transfer (ET), the first question asked is why! Was it simply due to, bad luck?, How likely is the failure to recur in future attempts and what can be done differently, to avoid it happening next time?.
    It is an indisputable fact that any IVF procedure is at least as likely to fail as it is to succeed. Thus when it comes to outcome, luck is an undeniable factor. Notwithstanding, it is incumbent upon the treating physician to carefully consider and address the causes of IVF failure before proceeding to another attempt:
    1. Age: The chance of a woman under 35Y of age having a baby per embryo transfer is about 35-40%. From there it declines progressively to under 5% by the time she reaches her mid-forties. This is largely due to declining chromosomal integrity of the eggs with advancing age…”a wear and tear effect” on eggs that are in the ovaries from birth.
    2. Embryo Quality/”competency (capable of propagating a viable pregnancy)”. As stated, the woman’s age plays a big role in determining egg/embryo quality/”competency”. This having been said, aside from age the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is the next most important factor. It is especially important when it comes to older women, and women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) where it becomes essential to be aggressive, and to customize and individualize the ovarian stimulation protocol.
    We used to believe that the uterine environment is more beneficial to embryo development than is the incubator/petri dish and that accordingly, the earlier on in development that embryos are transferred to the uterus, the better. To achieve this goal, we used to select embryos for transfer based upon their day two or microscopic appearance (“grade”). But we have since learned that the further an embryo has advanced in its development, the more likely it is to be “competent” and that embryos failing to reach the expanded blastocyst stage within 5-6 days of being fertilized are almost invariably “incompetent” and are unworthy of being transferred. Moreover, the introduction into clinical practice about a decade ago, (by Levent Keskintepe PhD and myself) of Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS), which assesses for the presence of all the embryos chromosomes (complete chromosomal karyotyping), provides another tool by which to select the most “competent” embryos for transfer. This methodology has selective benefit when it comes to older women, women with DOR, cases of unexplained repeated IVF failure and women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
    3. The number of the embryos transferred: Most patients believe that the more embryos transferred the greater the chance of success. To some extent this might be true, but if the problem lies with the use of a suboptimal COS protocol, transferring more embryos at a time won’t improve the chance of success. Nor will the transfer of a greater number of embryos solve an underlying embryo implantation dysfunction (anatomical molecular or immunologic).Moreover, the transfer of multiple embryos, should they implant, can and all too often does result in triplets or greater (high order multiples) which increases the incidence of maternal pregnancy-induced complications and of premature delivery with its serious risks to the newborn. It is for this reason that I rarely recommend the transfer of more than 2 embryos at a time and am moving in the direction of advising single embryo transfers …especially when it comes to transferring embryos derived through the fertilization of eggs from young women.
    4. Implantation Dysfunction (ID): Implantation dysfunction is a very common (often overlooked) cause of “unexplained” IVF failure. This is especially the case in young ovulating women who have normal ovarian reserve and have fertile partners. Failure to identify, typify, and address such issues is, in my opinion, an unfortunate and relatively common cause of repeated IVF failure in such women. Common sense dictates that if ultrasound guided embryo transfer is performed competently and yet repeated IVF attempts fail to propagate a viable pregnancy, implantation dysfunction must be seriously considered. Yet ID is probably the most overlooked factor. The most common causes of implantation dysfunction are:
    a. A“ thin uterine lining”
    b. A uterus with surface lesions in the cavity (polyps, fibroids, scar tissue)
    c. Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID)
    d. Endocrine/molecular endometrial receptivity issues
    Certain causes of infertility are repetitive and thus cannot readily be reversed. Examples include advanced age of the woman; severe male infertility; immunologic infertility associated with alloimmune implantation dysfunction (especially if it is a “complete DQ alpha genetic match between partners plus uterine natural killer cell activation (NKa).
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Marie - March 2, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher: Thank you again for all that you do. I’m going through a scary situation right now. My FET w/ PGS tested embryo led to low HCGs. (12dp5dt – 25; two days later 40, then 113.) Along with our RE we decided to stop meds on 2/23 for fear of another ectopic. I started a heavy period this past Wed., 2/28. Went I went in for my beta yesterday, it came back at 900 (instead of 0). Today I had a f/u beta and my HCG rose to 975. Ultrasound today found nothing. Curious if you’ve encountered this? HCG rising despite heavy period and meds stopped. I’m leaning towards methatrexate over MUA. What are your thoughts? Thanks so much.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    I would m give it another few (4-5) days and then if the uterine cavity is still empty, I would assume an ectopic and go onto MTX. needless to say, any sudden pain, light headedness or fainting, go in to the emergency room stat.

    Approximately 1 out of every 100 embryos will implant and grow outside of the uterine cavity (almost always) in a fallopian tube. This is defined as an ectopic pregnancy. Infrequently, an ectopic pregnancy attaches to an ovary or to one or more other pelvic organs. On very rare occasions (1;1,000), one twin attaches and grows in the uterine cavity with the other growing outside the uterus (i.e. a heterotopic pregnancy).
    There is an ever present risk that a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy might rupture causing potentially catastrophic internal hemorrhage. Accordingly any symptoms suggesting that such bleeding has started, requires immediate confirmation of the diagnosis followed by emergency treatment.
    While on rare occasions, an extrauterine (ectopic) can proceed well into pregnancy, it almost always happens prior to the 8th week. There is an increase in the incidence of ectopic pregnancy after IVF conceptions where it reportedly occurs in about 3% of cases and a woman who has had one ectopic pregnancy has almost four times as great a risk of an ectopic in a future pregnancy. In fact with every subsequent ectopic this risk of a recurrence increases dramatically.

    The fertilization of the human egg normally takes place in the fallopian tube. The embryo then travels into the uterus, where it implants into the endometrial lining 5-6 days after ovulation. Anything that delays the passage of the embryo down the fallopian tube can result in the embryo hatching and sending its “root system” into the wall of the fallopian tube and initiating growth within the tube. One of the most common predisposing factors is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in which microorganisms, such as Chlamydia, and Gonococcus damage the inner lining (endosalpinx) and eventually also the muscular walls of the tube(s) by the formation of scar tissue. The endosalpinx has a very complex and delicate internal architecture, with small hairs and secretions that help to propel the embryo toward the uterine cavity. Once damaged, this lining can never regenerate. This is one of the reasons why women who manage to conceive following surgery to unblock fallopian tubes damaged by PID, have about a 1:4 chance of a subsequent pregnancy developing within the fallopian tube (ectopic).

    Congenital malformations of the fallopian tube, associated with shortening of, or small pockets and side channels within, the tube are capable of interrupting the smooth passage of the embryo down the fallopian tube, is another cause of an ectopic pregnancy.

    Since the lining of the fallopian tube does not represent an optimal site for healthy implantation, a large percentage of pregnancies that gain early attachment to its inner lining will usually be absorbed before the woman even knows that she is pregnant. This is often referred to as a tubal abortion.

    The advent of advanced sonographic and hormonal monitoring technology now makes it possible to detect an ectopic pregnancy much earlier than previously, …usually well in advance of it rupturing. A decade or two ago, the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, ruptured or not, was an indication for immediate laparotomy to avoid the risk of catastrophic hemorrhagic shock. This often resulted in the affected fallopian tube having to be completely removed, sometimes along with the adjacent ovary. In the late 1980’s, early conservative surgical intervention by laparoscopy began replacing laparotomy (a wide incision made in the abdominal wall) for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy, often allowing the affected fallopian tube to be preserved and shortening the period of post-surgical convalescence. In the 90’s, early detection combined with the advent of medical management with methotrexate (MTX) has all but eliminated the need for surgical intervention in the majority of patients. If administered early enough, MTX will allow spontaneous resorbtion of the pregnancy and a dramatic reduction in the incidence of catastrophic bleeding. This was especially true in ectopic pregnancies arising from In Vitro Fertilization, where the early progress of pregnancy is usually carefully monitored with hormone levels and ultrasound.

    Classically women with an ectopic pregnancy present with the following symptoms:

    • Missed menstrual period: Although some patients will have spotting or other abnormal bleeding. The pregnancy test will be positive in such cases.

    • Vaginal bleeding. When a pregnancy inadvertently implants in the fallopian tube the lining of the uterus undergoes profound hormonal changes associated with pregnancy (primarily associated with the hormone progesterone). When the embryo dies, the lining of the uterus separates. Initially, vaginal bleeding is dark and usually is quite scanty, even less than with a normal menstrual period. In some cases, of ectopic pregnancy will bleeding is more severe, similar to that experienced in association with a miscarriage. This sometimes leads to an ectopic pregnancy initially being misdiagnosed as a miscarriage and is the reason to examine the material that is passed vaginally, for evidence of products of conception.

    • Pain. In the early stages this is typically cramp-like in nature, located on one or another side of the lower abdomen. It is caused by spasm of the muscular wall of the fallopian tube(s). When a tubal pregnancy ruptures the woman will usually experience an abrupt onset of severe abdominal followed by light headedness, coldness and clamminess and will often collapse due to shock. Her pulse will become rapid and thready and her blood pressure will drop. Miscarriage. Sometimes the woman will experience pain in the right shoulder. The reason for this is that that blood which tracts along the side of the abdominal cavity finds its way to the area immediately below the diaphragm, above the liver (on the patient’s right side), irritates the endings of the phrenic nerve, which supplies that part of the diaphragm. This results in the referral of the pain to the neck and the right shoulder. The clinical picture is often so typical that making the diagnosis usually presents no difficulty at all. However, with less typical presentations the most important conditions to differentiate from an ectopic pregnancy are: a ruptured ovarian cyst, appendicitis, acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or an inevitable

    • Vaginal bleeding. When a pregnancy inadvertently implants in the fallopian tube the lining of the uterus undergoes profound hormonal changes associated with pregnancy (primarily associated with the hormone progesterone). When the embryo dies, the lining of the uterus separates. Initially, vaginal bleeding is dark and usually is quite scanty, even less than with a normal menstrual period. In some cases, of ectopic pregnancy will bleeding is more severe, similar to that experienced in association with a miscarriage. This sometimes leads to ectopic pregnancy initially being misdiagnosis as a miscarriage and is the reason that we often want to examine the material that is passed vaginally, for evidence of products of conception.

    The easiest and most common method of diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy is by tracking the rate of rise in the blood levels of hCG. With a normal intrauterine pregnancy, these usually double every two days throughout the first few weeks. While a slow rate of increase in blood hCG usually suggests an impending miscarriage, it might also point to an ectopic pregnancy. Thus the hCG blood levels should be followed serially until a clear pattern emerges.

    A vaginal ultrasound examination usually will clinch the diagnosis by showing the ectopic pregnancy within a fallopian tube and if the tube has already ruptured or internal bleeding has occurred, ultrasound examination will inevitably detect the presence of free fluid into the abdominal cavity.

    If there has been a significant amount of intra-abdominal bleeding, irritation of the peritoneal membrane will cause the abdominal wall to become hard tense and, depending on the amount of internal bleeding abdominal distention will be evident. Palpation of the abdominal wall will evoke significant pain and when a vaginal examination is done, movement of the cervix will produce excruciating pain, especially on the side of the affected fallopian tube.

    Surgical Treatment: In questionable situations laparoscopy is usually performed for diagnostic purposes. If an ectopic pregnancy is in fact detected, a small longitudinal incision over the tubal pregnancy will allow its removal, without necessitating removal of the tube. (linear salpingectomy). Bleeding points on the fallopian tube can usually be accessed directly and appropriately ligated (tied) via the laparoscope. Sometimes the damage to the fallopian tube has been so extensive that the entire tube will require removal.

    On occasions where very severe intra-abdominal bleeding heralds a potential catastrophe, a laparotomy (an incision made to open the abdominal cavity) is performed to stop the bleeding post haste. In such cases a blood transfusion is usually required and may be life saving.

    Medical Treatment: The introduction of Methotrexate (MTX) therapy for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy has profoundly reduced the need for surgery in most patients. MTX is a chemotherapeutic that kills rapidly dividing cells, such as those present in the “root system” of the conceptus. Extremely low doses of MTX are used to treat ectopic pregnancy. Accordingly the side effects that are often associated with such chemotherapy used for the treatment of other conditions are seldom seen. It is important to confirm that the ectopic pregnancy has not yet ruptured prior to administering MTX.

    MTX is given by intramuscular injection. Prior to its administration, blood is drawn to get a baseline blood hCG level. After the injection of MTX the patient is allowed to return home with strict instructions that she should always have someone with her and never be alone in the ensuing week. The concern is that were the patient to be on her own and an intraabdominal bleed were to occur, she might not readily be able to access someone who could get her to the hospital immediately. Instructions are also given to look for early signs that might point towards severe intra-abdominal bleeding such as the sudden onset of severe pain, light-headedness or fainting.

    The patient returns to the doctor’s office four days later to check the blood hCG level. Three days later (7 days after MTX), the level is checked again. By this time the hCG level should have dropped at least 15% from the value on day 4. If not, a second MTX injection is given and the blood levels are tested twice weekly until hCG level is undetectable. Once this occurs, vaginal bleeding will usually ensue within a week or two.

    It is important to note, especially in cases where more than one embryo or blastocyst has been transferred to the uterine cavity or fallopian tube (as with Tubal embryo transfer –TET/ZIFT), that implantation may occur in two sites simultaneously (i.e. in the fallopian tube as well as inside the uterine cavity). This is referred to as a heterotopic pregnancy. It is therefore important that before administering MTX, which will cause the death and absorption of any early pregnancy, that the physician makes certain that he/she is not dealing with a heterotopic pregnancy. In such cases, surgery is required to treat the tubal ectopic, while every precaution is taken to protect the pregnancy growing within the uterine cavity.

    When an ectopic pregnancy occurs following infertility treatment, there is the added advantage that the physician will be on the lookout for the earliest possible signs of trouble. The performance of a vaginal ultrasound within two weeks of a positive blood pregnancy (HCG) test following IVF allows for early detection of the unruptured pregnancy and timely intervention with MTX and/or laparoscopy.

    Please keep me in the loop!

    Geoff Sher

  • PK - March 2, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr Sher. My store: I have been dealing with infertility for about 1.5 years. After 6 months of trying naturally I visited a clinic when I turned 36. I was diagnosed with hypothroidism and later with Hashimoto’s disease. I have been on thyroid medicine for 8-9 months and still trying to perfect the dosage (TSH is currently 3.1). My FSH is slightly high (10.6) and AMH is within range. I have had three unsuccessful IUI procedures (one non medicated). I should also mention I’ve had a functional cyst pop up here and there that was treated with birthcontrol and accupuncture at the start of a few cycles. I started IVF cycle early Feb. Had a hysteroscopy prior which revealed slight scar tissue which was removed. My cyst had also popped back up so I went on 10 days birth control. Over the next few weeks I developed 8-9 follicles sizes 15-20 and hoping to do PGS (no need for the PGD testing). This morning I went in for retrieval and they were only able to get one egg. The other follicles did not release even with aspiration. HCG was administered on the dot 36 hours prior to procedure and Dr said the blood work showed it worked. What could be possible issues for non egg release? My past few periods have been strange, very light flow for one day and dark/clotted blood. I’m wondering if my eggs in general are having issues releasing and maybe I’m not really ovulating. I do not have PCOS, fibroids or anything besides what I mentioned. Any insight into this frustrating process would be amazing..

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Two tghings:
    1. The protocol used for ovarian stimulation needs to be reviewed and revised.

    Frequently, when following vigorous and often repeated flushing of follicles at egg retrieval they fail to yield eggs, it is ascribed to “Empty Follicle Syndrome.” This is a gross misnomer, because all follicles contain eggs. So why were no eggs retrieved from the follicles? Most likely it was because they would/could not yield the eggs they harbored.
    This situation is most commonly seen in older women, women who have severely diminished ovarian reserve, and in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In my opinion it is often preventable when an optimal, individualized and strategic protocol for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is employed and the correct timing and dosage is applied to the “hCG trigger shot.”
    Normally, following optimal ovarian stimulation, the hCG “trigger shot” is given for the purpose of it triggering meiosis (reproductive division) that is intended to halve the number of chromosomes from 46 to 23 within 32-36 hours. The hCG trigger also enables the egg to signal the “cumulus cells” that bind it firmly to the inner wall of the follicle (through enzymatic activity), to loosen or disperse, so that the egg can detach and readily be captured at egg retrieval (ER).
    Ordinarily, normal eggs (and even those with only one or two chromosomal irregularities) will readily detach and be captured with the very first attempt to empty a follicle. Eggs that have several chromosomal numerical abnormalities (i.e., are “complex aneuploid”) are often unable to facilitate this process. This explains why when the egg is complex aneuploid, its follicle will not yield an egg…and why, when it requires repeated flushing of a follicle to harvest an egg, it is highly suggestive of it being aneuploid and thus “incompetent” (i.e., incapable of subsequently propagating a normal embryo).
    Older women, women with diminished ovarian reserve, and those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, tend to have more biologically active LH in circulation. LH causes production of male hormone (androgens, predominantly testosterone), by ovarian connective tissue (stroma/theca). A little testosterone is needed for optimal follicle development and for FSH-induced ovogenesis (egg development). Too much LH activity compromises the latter, and eggs so affected are far more likely to be aneuploid following meiosis.
    Women with the above conditions have increased LH activity and are thus more likely to produce excessive ovarian testosterone. It follows that sustained, premature elevations in LH or premature luteinization (often referred to as a “premature LH surge”) will prejudice egg development. Such compromised eggs are much more likely to end up being complex aneuploid following the administration of the hCG trigger, leading to fruitless attempts at retrieval and the so called “empty follicle syndrome.”
    The developing eggs of women who have increased LH activity (older women, women with diminished ovarian reserve, and those with PCOS) are inordinately vulnerable to the effects of protracted exposure to LH-induced ovarian testosterone. Because of this, the administration of medications that provoke further pituitary LH release (e.g., clomiphene and Letrozole), drugs that contain LH or hCG (e.g., Menopur), or protocols of ovarian stimulation that provoke increased exposure to the woman’s own pituitary LH (e.g., “flare-agonist protocols”) and the use of “late pituitary blockade” (antagonist) protocols can be prejudicial.
    The importance of individualizing COS protocol selection, precision with regard to the dosage and type of hCG trigger used, and the timing of its administration in such cases cannot be overstated. The ideal dosage of urinary-derived hCG (hCG-u) such as Novarel, Pregnyl and Profasi is 10,000U. When recombinant DNA-derived hCG (hCG-r) such as Ovidrel is used, the optimal dosage is 500mcg. A lower dosage of hCG can, by compromising meiosis, increase the risk of egg aneuploidy, and thus of IVF outcome.
    There is in my opinion no such condition as “Empty Follicle Syndrome.” All follicles contain eggs. Failure to access those eggs at ER can often be a result of the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation.

    2.Between 2% and 5% of women of the childbearing age have reduced thyroid hormone activity (hypothyroidism). Women with hypothyroidism often manifest with reproductive failure i.e. infertility, unexplained (often repeated) IVF failure, or recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). The condition is 5-10 times more common in women than in men. In most cases hypothyroidism is caused by damage to the thyroid gland resulting from of thyroid autoimmunity (Hashimoto’s disease) caused by damage done to the thyroid gland by antithyroglobulin and antimicrosomal auto-antibodies.
    The increased prevalence of hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) in women is likely the result of a combination of genetic factors, estrogen-related effects and chromosome X abnormalities. This having been said, there is significantly increased incidence of thyroid antibodies in non-pregnant women with a history of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and thyroid antibodies can be present asymptomatically in women without them manifesting with overt clinical or endocrinologic evidence of thyroid disease. In addition, these antibodies may persist in women who have suffered from hyper- or hypothyroidism even after normalization of their thyroid function by appropriate pharmacological treatment. The manifestations of reproductive dysfunction thus seem to be linked more to the presence of thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) than to clinical existence of hypothyroidism and treatment of the latter does not routinely result in a subsequent improvement in reproductive performance.
    It follows, that if antithyroid autoantibodies are associated with reproductive dysfunction they may serve as useful markers for predicting poor outcome in patients undergoing assisted reproductive technologies.
    Some years back, I reported on the fact that 47% of women who harbor thyroid autoantibodies, regardless of the absence or presence of clinical hypothyroidism, have activated uterine natural killer cells (NKa) cells and cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL) and that such women often present with reproductive dysfunction. We demonstrated that appropriate immunotherapy with IVIG or intralipid (IL) and steroids, subsequently often results in a significant improvement in reproductive performance in such cases.
    The fact that almost 50% of women who harbor antithyroid antibodies do not have activated CTL/NK cells suggests that it is NOT the antithyroid antibodies themselves that cause reproductive dysfunction. The activation of CTL and NK cells that occurs in half of the cases with TAI is probably an epiphenomenon with the associated reproductive dysfunction being due to CTL/NK cell activation that damages the early “root system” (trophoblast) of the implanting embryo. We have shown that treatment of those women who have thyroid antibodies + NKa/CTL using IL/steroids, improves subsequent reproductive performance while women with thyroid antibodies who do not harbor NKa/CTL do not require or benefit from such treatment.

    The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • NH - March 2, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr
    I am 40 age.. 2nd marraige.. male factor.. low count.. 2 ivf attempt failed..
    2nd attempt.. scratching.PRP done.. 16 eggs collected.. 3 good embryo transfered but failed .. was given medications like endometrin suppostories 2 daily.. duphuston 3 tab taily.. aspirin folic acid daily one.. gupisone 2 daily and estofen 2 daily.. with inohep injections daily..till pregnancy test.. please help what to do next.. mentally disturbed due to failure..

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Clearly the male factor must be assessed and addressed. However, please consider the following seriously!

    Whenever a patient fails to achieve a viable pregnancy following embryo transfer (ET), the first question asked is why! Was it simply due to, bad luck?, How likely is the failure to recur in future attempts and what can be done differently, to avoid it happening next time?.
    It is an indisputable fact that any IVF procedure is at least as likely to fail as it is to succeed. Thus when it comes to outcome, luck is an undeniable factor. Notwithstanding, it is incumbent upon the treating physician to carefully consider and address the causes of IVF failure before proceeding to another attempt:
    1. Age: The chance of a woman under 35Y of age having a baby per embryo transfer is about 35-40%. From there it declines progressively to under 5% by the time she reaches her mid-forties. This is largely due to declining chromosomal integrity of the eggs with advancing age…”a wear and tear effect” on eggs that are in the ovaries from birth.
    2. Embryo Quality/”competency (capable of propagating a viable pregnancy)”. As stated, the woman’s age plays a big role in determining egg/embryo quality/”competency”. This having been said, aside from age the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is the next most important factor. It is especially important when it comes to older women, and women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) where it becomes essential to be aggressive, and to customize and individualize the ovarian stimulation protocol.
    We used to believe that the uterine environment is more beneficial to embryo development than is the incubator/petri dish and that accordingly, the earlier on in development that embryos are transferred to the uterus, the better. To achieve this goal, we used to select embryos for transfer based upon their day two or microscopic appearance (“grade”). But we have since learned that the further an embryo has advanced in its development, the more likely it is to be “competent” and that embryos failing to reach the expanded blastocyst stage within 5-6 days of being fertilized are almost invariably “incompetent” and are unworthy of being transferred. Moreover, the introduction into clinical practice about a decade ago, (by Levent Keskintepe PhD and myself) of Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS), which assesses for the presence of all the embryos chromosomes (complete chromosomal karyotyping), provides another tool by which to select the most “competent” embryos for transfer. This methodology has selective benefit when it comes to older women, women with DOR, cases of unexplained repeated IVF failure and women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
    3. The number of the embryos transferred: Most patients believe that the more embryos transferred the greater the chance of success. To some extent this might be true, but if the problem lies with the use of a suboptimal COS protocol, transferring more embryos at a time won’t improve the chance of success. Nor will the transfer of a greater number of embryos solve an underlying embryo implantation dysfunction (anatomical molecular or immunologic).Moreover, the transfer of multiple embryos, should they implant, can and all too often does result in triplets or greater (high order multiples) which increases the incidence of maternal pregnancy-induced complications and of premature delivery with its serious risks to the newborn. It is for this reason that I rarely recommend the transfer of more than 2 embryos at a time and am moving in the direction of advising single embryo transfers …especially when it comes to transferring embryos derived through the fertilization of eggs from young women.
    4. Implantation Dysfunction (ID): Implantation dysfunction is a very common (often overlooked) cause of “unexplained” IVF failure. This is especially the case in young ovulating women who have normal ovarian reserve and have fertile partners. Failure to identify, typify, and address such issues is, in my opinion, an unfortunate and relatively common cause of repeated IVF failure in such women. Common sense dictates that if ultrasound guided embryo transfer is performed competently and yet repeated IVF attempts fail to propagate a viable pregnancy, implantation dysfunction must be seriously considered. Yet ID is probably the most overlooked factor. The most common causes of implantation dysfunction are:
    a. A“ thin uterine lining”
    b. A uterus with surface lesions in the cavity (polyps, fibroids, scar tissue)
    c. Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID)
    d. Endocrine/molecular endometrial receptivity issues
    Certain causes of infertility are repetitive and thus cannot readily be reversed. Examples include advanced age of the woman; severe male infertility; immunologic infertility associated with alloimmune implantation dysfunction (especially if it is a “complete DQ alpha genetic match between partners plus uterine natural killer cell activation (NKa).
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • EMLyons - March 2, 2018 reply

    I just completed IVF cycle 3. The first cycle yielded 4 blasts, only 1 pgd tested normal embryo. All took six days to reach blast. It resulted in a chemical pregnancy with the 1 pgd tested embryo. The second cycle yielded 2 six day blasts, both pgd tested abnormal. For the third cycle we switched clinics to CCRM in Lone Tree, Co. I had 14 retrieved, 11 matured and fertilized, resulting in 3 six day blasts, all tested normal. We transferred two the first transfer, ended in chemical pregnancy after hCG testing on days 9 and 11. The second transfer of the last embryo also ended in a cp with hCG testing on day 9 and 11. On the last two transfers, I knew I passed implantation, but could tell that after implantation, symptoms stopped and my home pregnancy tests would get fainter. I feel strongly that both pregnancies stopped developing after day 7 post transfer.
    My doctor is telling me that this is likely egg quality issue, with the AMG measuring 1.4 at CCRM, and that if there is an issue with my uterus it is unknown and an occult condition. I am not satisfied with this answer, as this is the 3rd CP I have endured, with the growth stopping right after implantation in all 3 instances. Does this sound like a uterus problem and/or implantation failure or do you think it’s most likely attributed to egg quality? What tests do I need to get the answers I seek?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Unfortunately, I need much more information to advised authoritatively. I invite you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • AKearn - March 2, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher, Thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer all these questions! I’m 39 with DOR and a poor responder with a single recent failed traditional antagonist IVF cycle due to premature luteinization (11 antral follicles CD2, only 2 oocyte retrieved after 14 days of excessive stims). I have been able to convince my RE to modify my next cycle based on your agonist/antagonist protocol but wanted to have your opinion of her modifications. I am currently at CD6 and have been on Desogen since CD3. My RE wants to end BCP after 11 pills, overlapping 3 days with Lupron – 20 units, for a total of 9 days on Lupron, ending on CD19 with an evaluation appt (BW and US) that day. Given your suggested protocol – (after 21 days of BCP, overlapping 10 units of Lupron during the last 5-7 days of a luteal phase and stimming after menses) – in your opinion is there any significant flaw in my RE’s approach? Given her clinic’s scheduling requirements for an appt on CD19, would adding 2 days of BCP, decreasing to 10 units of Lupron for 7 days make any significant difference? Thank you and have a great day!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Respectfully, this approach does not closely simulate the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol I use.

    In my opinion, the protocol used for ovarian stimulation, against the backdrop of age, and ovarian reserve are the drivers of egg quality and egg quality is the most important factor affecting embryo “competency”.
    Women who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.

    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the effect of DOR, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can in my opinion, make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in women with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy

    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Denise - March 2, 2018 reply

    Quick recap of my history: 5 natural pregnancies: 2 blighted ovums, 1 chemical, 1 trisomy 7, 1 natural miscarriage (hcg numbers did not rise appropriately). I have had tons of bloodwork done over the past almost 2 years (RPL panels, karyotypes, nothing abnormal besides slightly elevated blood NK cells on one test), an HSG, and my husband Andrew had a sperm analysis done by my RE in November ’17 with great results.

    Recently, my husband got some testing done by the lab Reprosource. His sperm analysis was excellent – he has a lot of them and they move well. I was very interested in their Advanced Semen Report because it would show us sperm DNA fragmentation which we had not yet explored. The results are not good: His DFI is 31, OSA is 3.8. It makes us wonder if this is and has been a huge contributing factor to our early losses – could it be that sperm and/or egg was bad each time we conceived? Therefore it was never going to develop properly – doomed from the start so to speak.

    Can you shed some light on what we should be doing at this point? Is IVF with PICSI (and PGS) now our only chance of having a normal pregnancy? My AMH was 3.34 in June ’17 and I am almost 32 years old. Originally I was solely blaming my egg quality (even though we can’t exactly test that). I have consistently taken vitamins, supplements, etc. On paper I am healthy with no known issues. So far, we have this unexplained RPL and it is beyond frustrating. We seem to fall pregnant so easily and quickly when trying, but it never makes it. I even tried a cycle (well actually 2 cycles, one in November ’17 and another in December ’17 which resulted in my 5th pregnancy) of RPL meds (prednisone, LDN, weekly lipids, lovenox, neupogen, baby aspirin) thinking it was my immune system attacking the embryo. Then I can’t help but think, do I even need these meds?

    In your opinion with these new sperm frag results, what should we do? We have no living children and are desperate to start a family. I am so afraid of a failed 6th pregnancy that we are not TTC right now until we can gain answers and clarity. I’ve had 3 D&C’s and I just don’t know how much more my body can take. I do have a lap set up to check for silent endo but that’s not till May – the soonest I could get in with an excision specialist.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    1. SCSA:

    In about 40% of infertility cases, male factor is the sole cause. In approximately another 40% it is solely a female factor and in the remainder (20%) both male and female factors are involved. In more than 80% of cases, performance of a semen analysis (sperm concentration, motility, and morphology) will be sufficient to diagnose male factor, while

    2. RPL:

    When it comes to reproduction, humans are the poorest performers of all mammals. In fact we are so inefficient that up to 75% of fertilized eggs do not produce live births, and up to 30% of pregnancies end up being lost within 10 weeks of conception (in the first trimester). RPL is defined as two (2) or more failed pregnancies. Less than 5% of women will experience two (2) consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% experience three or more.
    Pregnancy loss can be classified by the stage of pregnancy when the loss occurs:
    • Early pregnancy loss (first trimester)
    • Late pregnancy loss (after the first trimester)
    • Occult “hidden” and not clinically recognized, (chemical) pregnancy loss (occurs prior to ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy)
    • Early pregnancy losses usually occur sporadically (are not repetitive).
    In more than 70% of cases the loss is due to embryo aneuploidy (where there are more or less than the normal quota of 46 chromosomes). Conversely, repeated losses (RPL), with isolated exceptions where the cause is structural (e.g., unbalanced translocations), are seldom attributable to numerical chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy). In fact, the vast majority of cases of RPL are attributable to non-chromosomal causes such as anatomical uterine abnormalities or Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID).
    Since most sporadic early pregnancy losses are induced by chromosomal factors and thus are non-repetitive, having had a single miscarriage the likelihood of a second one occurring is no greater than average. However, once having had two losses the chance of a third one occurring is double (35-40%) and after having had three losses the chance of a fourth miscarriage increases to about 60%. The reason for this is that the more miscarriages a woman has, the greater is the likelihood of this being due to a non-chromosomal (repetitive) cause such as IID. It follows that if numerical chromosomal analysis (karyotyping) of embryonic/fetal products derived from a miscarriage tests karyotypically normal, then by a process of elimination, there would be a strong likelihood of a miscarriage repeating in subsequent pregnancies and one would not have to wait for the disaster to recur before taking action. This is precisely why we strongly advocate that all miscarriage specimens be karyotyped.
    There is however one caveat to be taken into consideration. That is that the laboratory performing the karyotyping might unwittingly be testing the mother’s cells rather than that of the conceptus. That is why it is not possible to confidently exclude aneuploidy in cases where karyotyping of products suggests a “chromosomally normal” (euploid) female.
    Late pregnancy losses (occurring after completion of the 1st trimester/12th week) occur far less frequently (1%) than early pregnancy losses. They are most commonly due to anatomical abnormalities of the uterus and/or cervix. Weakness of the neck of the cervix rendering it able to act as an effective valve that retains the pregnancy (i.e., cervical incompetence) is in fact one of the commonest causes of late pregnancy loss. So also are developmental (congenital) abnormalities of the uterus (e.g., a uterine septum) and uterine fibroid tumors. In some cases intrauterine growth retardation, premature separation of the placenta (placental abruption), premature rupture of the membranes and premature labor can also causes of late pregnancy loss.
    Much progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms involved in RPL. There are two broad categories:
    1. Problems involving the uterine environment in which a normal embryo is prohibited from properly implanting and developing. Possible causes include:
    • Inadequate thickening of the uterine lining
    • Irregularity in the contour of the uterine cavity (polyps, fibroid tumors in the uterine wall, intra-uterine scarring and adenomyosis)
    • Hormonal imbalances (progesterone deficiency or luteal phase defects). This most commonly results in occult RPL.
    • Deficient blood flow to the uterine lining (thin uterine lining).
    • Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID). A major cause of RPL. Plays a role in 75% of cases where chromosomally normal preimplantation embryos fail to implant.
    • Interference of blood supply to the developing conceptus can occur due to a hereditary clotting disorder known as Thrombophilia.
    2. Genetic and/or structural chromosomal abnormality of the embryo.Genetic abnormalities are rare causes of RPL. Structural chromosomal abnormalities are slightly more common but are also occur infrequently (1%). These are referred to as unbalanced translocation and they result from part of one chromosome detaching and then fusing with another chromosome. Additionally, a number of studies suggest the existence of paternal (sperm derived) effect on human embryo quality and pregnancy outcome that are not reflected as a chromosomal abnormality. Damaged sperm DNA can have a negative impact on fetal development and present clinically as occult or early clinical miscarriage. The Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) which measures the same endpoints are newer and possibly improved methods for evaluating.

    IMMUNOLOGIC IMPLANTATION DYSFUNCTION
    Autoimmune IID: Here an immunologic reaction is produced by the individual to his/her body’s own cellular components. The most common antibodies that form in such situations are APA and antithyroid antibodies (ATA).
    But it is only when specialized immune cells in the uterine lining, known as cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells, become activated and start to release an excessive/disproportionate amount of TH-1 cytokines that attack the root system of the embryo, that implantation potential is jeopardized. Diagnosis of such activation requires highly specialized blood test for cytokine activity that can only be performed by a handful of reproductive immunology reference laboratories in the United States.
    Alloimmune IID, i.e., where antibodies are formed against antigens derived from another member of the same species, is believed to be a relatively common immunologic cause of recurrent pregnancy loss.
    Autoimmune IID is often genetically transmitted. Thus it should not be surprising to learn that it is more likely to exist in women who have a family (or personal) history of primary autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus (LE), scleroderma or autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease), autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Reactionary (secondary) autoimmunity can occur in conjunction with any medical condition associated with widespread tissue damage. One such gynecologic condition is endometriosis. Since autoimmune IID is usually associated with activated NK and T-cells from the outset, it usually results in such very early destruction of the embryo’s root system that the patient does not even recognize that she is pregnant. Accordingly the condition usually presents as “unexplained infertility” or “unexplained IVF failure” rather than as a miscarriage.

    Alloimmune IID, on the other hand, usually starts off presenting as unexplained miscarriages (often manifesting as RPL). Over time as NK/T cell activation builds and eventually becomes permanently established the patient often goes from RPL to “infertility” due to failed implantation. RPL is more commonly the consequence of alloimmune rather than autoimmune implantation dysfunction.
    However, regardless, of whether miscarriage is due to autoimmune or alloimmune implantation dysfunction the final blow to the pregnancy is the result of activated NK cells and CTL in the uterine lining that damage the developing embryo’s “root system” (trophoblast) so that it can no longer sustain the growing conceptus. This having been said, it is important to note that autoimmune IID is readily amenable to reversal through timely, appropriately administered, selective immunotherapy, and alloimmune IID is not. It is much more difficult to treat successfully, even with the use of immunotherapy. In fact, in some cases the only solution will be to revert to selective immunotherapy plus using donor sperm (provided there is no “match” between the donor’s DQa profile and that of the female recipient) or alternatively to resort to gestational surrogacy.
    DIAGNOSING THE CAUSE OF RPL
    In the past, women who miscarried were not evaluated thoroughly until they had lost several pregnancies in a row. This was because sporadic miscarriages are most commonly the result of embryo numerical chromosomal irregularities (aneuploidy) and thus not treatable. However, a consecutive series of miscarriages points to a repetitive cause that is non-chromosomal and is potentially remediable. Since RPL is most commonly due to a uterine pathology or immunologic causes that are potentially treatable, it follows that early chromosomal evaluation of products of conception could point to a potentially treatable situation. Thus I strongly recommend that such testing be done in most cases of miscarriage. Doing so will avoid a great deal of unnecessary heartache for many patients.
    Establishing the correct diagnosis is the first step toward determining effective treatment for couples with RPL. It results from a problem within the pregnancy itself or within the uterine environment where the pregnancy implants and grows. Diagnostic tests useful in identifying individuals at greater risk for a problem within the pregnancy itself include:

    • Karyotyping (chromosome analysis) both prospective parents
    • Assessment of the karyotype of products of conception derived from previous miscarriage specimens
    • Ultrasound examination of the uterine cavity after sterile water is injected or sonohysterogram, fluid ultrasound, etc.)
    • Hysterosalpingogram (dye X-ray test)
    • Hysteroscopic evaluation of the uterine cavity
    • Full hormonal evaluation (estrogen, progesterone, adrenal steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, FSH/LH, etc.)
    • Immunologic testing to include:
    a) Antiphospholipid antibody (APA) panel
    b) Antinuclear antibody (ANA) panel
    c) Antithyroid antibody panel (i.e., antithyroglobulin and antimicrosomal antibodies)
    d) Reproductive immunophenotype
    e) Natural killer cell activity (NKa) assay (i.e., K562 target cell test)
    f) Alloimmune testing of both the male and female partners
    TREATMENT OF RPL
    Treatment for Anatomic Abnormalities of the Uterus: This involves restoration through removal of local lesions such as fibroids, scar tissue, and endometrial polyps or timely insertion of a cervical cerclage (a stitch placed around the neck of the weakened cervix) or the excision of a uterine septum when indicated.
    Treatment of Thin Uterine Lining: A thin uterine lining has been shown to correlate with compromised pregnancy outcome. Often this will be associated with reduced blood flow to the endometrium. Such decreased blood flow to the uterus can be improved through treatment with sildenafil and possibly aspirin.
    Sildenafil (Viagra) Therapy. Viagra has been used successfully to increase uterine blood flow. However, to be effective it must be administered starting as soon as the period stops up until the day of ovulation and it must be administered vaginally (not orally). Viagra in the form of vaginal suppositories given in the dosage of 25 mg four times a day has been shown to increase uterine blood flow as well as thickness of the uterine lining. To date, we have seen significant improvement of the thickness of the uterine lining in about 70% of women treated. Successful pregnancy resulted in 42% of women who responded to the Viagra. It should be remembered that most of these women had previously experienced repeated IVF failures.

    Use of Aspirin: This is an anti-prostaglandin that improves blood flow to the endometrium. It is administered at a dosage of 81 mg orally, daily from the beginning of the cycle until ovulation.
    Treating Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction with Selective Immunotherapy: Modalities such as IL/IVIg, heparinoids (Lovenox/Clexane), and corticosteroids (dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone) can be used in select cases depending on autoimmune or alloimmune dysfunction.
    The Use of IVF in the Treatment of RPL
    In the following circumstances, IVF is the preferred option:
    1. When in addition to a history of RPL, another standard indication for IVF (e.g., tubal factor, endometriosis, and male factor infertility) is superimposed.
    2. In cases where selective immunotherapy is needed to treat an immunologic implantation dysfunction.
    The reason for IVF being a preferred approach in such cases is that in order to be effective, the immunotherapy needs to be initiated well before spontaneous or induced ovulation. Given the fact that the anticipated birthrate per cycle of COS with or without IUI is at best about 15%, it follows that short of IVF, to have even a reasonable chance of a live birth, most women with immunologic causes of RPL would need to undergo immunotherapy repeatedly, over consecutive cycles. Conversely, with IVF, the chance of a successful outcome in a single cycle of treatment is several times greater and, because of the attenuated and concentrated time period required for treatment, IVF is far safer and thus represents a more practicable alternative
    Since embryo aneuploidy is a common cause of miscarriage, the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), with tests such as CGH, can provide a valuable diagnostic and therapeutic advantage in cases of RPL. PGD requires IVF to provide access to embryos for testing.
    There are a few cases of intractable alloimmune dysfunction due to absolute DQ alpha matching where Gestational Surrogacy or use of donor sperm could represent the only viable recourse, other than abandoning treatment altogether and/or resorting to adoption. Other non-immunologic factors such as an intractably thin uterine lining or severe uterine pathology might also warrant that last resort consideration be given to gestational surrogacy.
    The good news is that if a couple with RPL is open to all of the diagnostic and treatment options referred to above, a live birthrate of 70%–80% is ultimately achievable.

    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.
    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management:(Case Report
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; How it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    There is growing evidence to indicate that DNA damage is prevalent in many cases of male infertility and that this can impact fertility, even in the presence of a normal semen analysis. The latter occurs in 10% of cases when sperm parameters are normal. What remains unclear is at how the DNA damage should be measured, at exactly what level it would impact fertility and precisely, precisely what should be done when there is evidence of such damage and how effective treatment will be.
    While assessing male factor by semen analysis (whether using conventional manual assessment or computer measurement is reliable in about 95% of cases, it tends to be more accurate when it comes to diagnosing normal male fertility, in about 20%-25% of cases where it diagnoses poor sperm parameters it is inaccurate.
    A variety of conditions can cause sperm DNA damage. They include, malignant disease, irradiation, chemotherapy, varicoceles (a collection of surrounding varicose veins in scrotum), white blood cells in the sperm (leucocytospermia) ,cigarette smoking and even cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm.
    Sperm chromatin structure Assay (SCSA).
    Sperm chromatin has a highly specialized and compact structure that is essential for protection and subsequent transmission of the paternal genome.
    The SCSA evaluate for Sperm DNA damage, expressing it as the percentage of sperm DNA fragmentation –(DFI-small breaks in the sperm chromosomes). A DFI of <15% is considered normal while a value of >30% is regarded as abnormal. Fifteen percent (15%)-30% is “intermediate”. Couples where the man has sperm that registers a DFI of >30% reportedly have a four-fold reduction in term pregnancies and a doubling in the miscarriage rate.
    What is true is that the SCSA is measure of sperm DNA damage and does predict male sub/infertility and poor reproductive performance. The SCSA/SDIA measures the degree of abnormalities in the genetic material of the sperm, expressing it numerically as the DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI).
    This having been said, it is important to reemphasize that SCSA data will not always correlate well with standard sperm parameters (count, motility and morphology).
    It is true that varying degrees of DNA damage may be present in sperm from both fertile and infertile men. However a quantitative expression of the DFI often will reveal a hidden abnormality of sperm DNA and as such unveils infertility in cases where prior standard sperm parameters failed to reveal underlying male infertility. Optimal sperm chromatin packaging seems necessary for full expression of male fertility potential. SCSA emerge as predictors of the probability to conceive and carry the pregnancy to viability
    Current information on the clinical role of the SCSA testing in patients undergoing IVF suggests the following:
    • The IVF birth rate could be as much as 1.5-2 times lower in women under 33yrs of age, whose husbands have patently abnormal SCSA assays (with a DFI of >30%). Results seem to become progressively worse with advancing maternal age such that at 35y+, the viable pregnancy rate could be as much as 2-3 times lower.
    • It is possible for abnormal SCSA results to spontaneously revert back to normal, this occurs infrequently. One study reported that even without treatment, 37% of patients with an abnormal result on first SCSA (DFI >30%) were subsequently found to have normal result (DFI < 30%) on a second SCSA test. • Although abnormal SCSA results are detected in men with apparently normal semen analyses, abnormal results are more commonly seen in cases of men who have abnormal sperm parameters (abnormal sperm count, motility and/or morphology) • Abnormal SCSA augers poorly for the outcome of fertility treatments in general and for IVF/ICSI in specific. In the latter cases, fertilization and pregnancy rates are reduced and the chance of early pregnancy loss appears to be increased. However it is important to stress that an abnormal SCSA result does not preclude a successful pregnancy. In fact we have seen many IVF pregnancies occur in spite of abnormal SCSA results….even when the DFI was > 60%
    • The likelihood of a successful outcome with IVF/ICSI in cases where the SCSA is abnormal worsens progressively as the age of the egg provider advances beyond 35yrs.
    • While abnormal SCSA results rarely revert spontaneously to normal this can and does happen on occasion, especially following surgical or interventional radiological treatment of varicoceles (a collection of distended veins surrounding one or both testicles in the scrotum). In addition, there is some suggestion that the use antioxidant/vitamin male fertility blends such as “Proxeed or, Proceptin if taken for 2-3 months can improve the SCSA. In fact, in a relatively recent study, 38 men with an increased percentage of DNA fragmented sperm who received antioxidants, were followed for 2 months after one failed ICSI attempt. A second ICSI cycle was then performed which demonstrated a marked improvement of clinical pregnancy rates (48.2% vs. 6.9%) when compared with pretreatment ICSI outcomes.[

    While the SCSA is not a measure of the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg, results tend to correlate well with the potential of the fertilized egg, to develop into “competent” embryos (i.e. ones that are capable of propagating live births). As such the introduction of SCSA in the diagnostic armamentarium represents an important advance
    .

  • Jaymie - March 2, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher,
    More details to my previous post. I used gonal f and estradiol, and later triggered with pio five days before transfer. My body doesnt respond to simple artificial estrogen, so that’s why we stimmed. Do you suggest I take a break and have a natural cycle before another fet, or do you suggest doing hysteroscopy again, or can I try in my next cycle? I’m 36. The eggs were retrieved when I was 33. Had 13 out of 30 embryos become blastocysts that we’re normal on pgs. Used two in first failed fet. Two in the following fet, resulting in my twins. One in most recent one. My lining was the best this time. Is it possible I have iid? I took Prednisone starting one day before transfer. Was on moderate bed rest for three days. I felt all the symptoms and thought I got pregnant. But found on Feb 28 it’s negative. My period is yet to come. I’m still bit dizzy and nauseous but think it may be cos I’m anemic and started iron yesterday. I used lovenox and estradiol and pio after transfer until negative blood test.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018 reply

    Hi Jaymie,

    The information provided is not sufficient to allow for an authoritative response. We need to talk.

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Jaymie - March 2, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher,

    We’ve received unexplained infertility as diagnosis, but we found out during first fet that my lining doesn’t thicken well. So first transfer of 2 good blastocysts failed. Before second transfer, a hysteroscopy revealed some mild scar tissue and the following fet I conceived our twins. My son unfortunately passed away to MRSA (they were born premature due to my preeclampsia at 29 weeks) after birth. We went onto try next fet recently with a lining of 9mm and good-fair embryo. But it didn’t take. What’s your advice on trying fet again? Also should I do another hysteroscopy? I did one two cycles before recent fet at which time they removed some block.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    Yes! I would repeat the hysteroscopy but ultimately you will need to address in lining thickness issues…see below!

    About seventeen years ago, after reporting on the benefit of vaginal Sildenafil (Viagra) for to women who had implantation dysfunction due to thin endometrial linings I was proud to announce the birth of the world’s first “Viagra baby.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with the use of Viagra in IVF, allow me to provide some context.

    It was as far back as 1989, when I first published a study that examined the correlation between the thickness of a woman’s uterine lining (the endometrium), and the subsequent successful implantation of embryos in IVF patients. This study revealed that when the uterine lining measured <8mm in thickness by the day of the “hCG trigger” (in fresh IVF cycles), or at the time of initiating progesterone therapy (in embryo recipient cycles, e.g. frozen embryo transfers, egg donation-IVF etc.) , pregnancy and birth rates were substantially improved. Currently, it is my opinion, that an ideal estrogen-promoted endometrial lining should ideally measure at least 9mm in thickness and that an endometrial lining measuring 8-9mm is “intermediate”. An estrogenic lining of <8mm is in most cases unlikely to yield a viable pregnancy.

    A “poor” uterine lining is usually the result of the innermost layer of endometrium (the basal or germinal endometrium from which endometrium grows) ) not being able to respond to estrogen by propagating an outer, “functional” layer thick enough to support optimal embryo implantation and development of a healthy placenta (placentation). The “functional” layer ultimately comprises 2/3 of the full endometrial thickness and is the layer that sheds with menstruation in the event that no pregnancy occurs.

    The main causes of a “poor” uterine lining are:

    1. Damage to the basal endometrium as a result of:
    a. Inflammation of the endometrium (endometritis) most commonly resulting from infected products left over following abortion, miscarriage or birth
    b. Surgical trauma due to traumatic uterine scraping, (i.e. due to an over-aggressive D & C)
    2. Insensitivity of the basal endometrium to estrogen due to:
    a. Prolonged , over-use/misuse of clomiphene citrate
    b. Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). This is a drug that was given to pregnant women in the 1960’s to help prevent miscarriage
    3. Over-exposure of the uterine lining to ovarian male hormones (mainly testosterone): Older women, women with diminished ovarian reserve (poor responders) and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome -PCOS tend to have raised LH biological activity.. This causes the connective tissue in the ovary (stroma/theca) to overproduce testosterone. The effect can be further exaggerated when certain methods for ovarian stimulation such as agonist (Lupron/Buserelin) “flare” protocols and high dosages of menotropins such as Menopur are used in such cases.
    4. Reduced blood flow to the basal endometrium:
    Examples include;
    a. Multiple uterine fibroids - especially when these are present under the endometrium (submucosal)
    b. Uterine adenomyosis (excessive, abnormal invasion of the uterine muscle by endometrial glands).

    “The Viagra Connection”

    Treatments such supplementary estrogen therapy, aspirin administration and/or administration of high dosage gonadotropin fertility drugs, aimed at improving endometrial development have all yielded disappointing results.

    It was in the 90’s that Sildenafil (brand named Viagra) was gaining popularity as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. The mechanism by which it acted was through increasing penile blood flow through increasing nitric oxide activity. This prompted me to investigate whether Viagra administered vaginally, might similarly improve uterine blood flow and in the process cause more estrogen to be delivered to the basal endometrium and thereby increase endometrial thickening. We found that when Viagra was administered vaginally it did just that! However oral administration was without any significant benefit in this regard. We enlisted the services of a compound pharmacy to produce vaginal Viagra suppositories. Initially, four (4) women with chronic histories of poor endometrial development and failure to conceive following several advanced fertility treatments were evaluated for a period of 4-6 weeks and then underwent IVF with concomitant Viagra therapy. Viagra suppositories were administered four times daily for 8-11 days and were discontinued 5-7 days prior to embryo transfer in all cases.

    Our findings clearly demonstrated that vaginal Viagra produced a rapid and profound improvement in uterine blood flow and that was followed by enhanced endometrial development in all four cases. Three (3) of the four women subsequently conceived. . I expanded the trial in 2002 and became the first to report on the administration of vaginal Viagra to 105 women with repeated IVF failure due to persistently thin endometrial linings. All of the women had experienced at least two (2) prior IVF failures attributed to intractably thin uterine linings. About 70% of these women responded to treatment with Viagra suppositories with a marked improvement in endometrial thickness. Forty five percent (45%) achieved live births following a single cycle of IVF treatment with Viagra The miscarriage rate was 9%. None of the women who had failed to show an improvement in endometrial thickness following Viagra treatment achieved viable pregnancies.
    Following vaginal administration, Viagra is rapidly absorbed and quickly reaches the uterine blood system in high concentrations. Thereupon it dilutes out as it is absorbed into the systemic circulation. This probably explains why treatment is virtually devoid of systemic side effects

    Since the introduction of this form of treatment, thousands of women with thin uterine linings have been reported treated and many have gone on to have babies after repeated prior IVF failure.

    It is important to recognize that Viagra will NOT be effective in improving endometrial thickness in all cases. In fact, about one third of women treated fail to show any improvement. This is because in certain cases of thin uterine linings, the basal endometrium will have been permanently damaged and left unresponsive to estrogen. This happens in cases of severe endometrial damage due mainly to post-pregnancy endometritis (inflammation), chronic granulomatous inflammation due to uterine tuberculosis (hardly ever seen in the United States) and following extensive surgical injury to the basal endometrium (as sometimes occurs following over-zealous D&C’s).

    To be effective, Viagra must be administered vaginally. It is NOT effective when taken orally. We prescribe 20mg vaginal suppositories to be inserted four times per day. Treatment is commenced soon after menstruation ceases and is continued until the day of the “hCG trigger.” While ideally the treatment should be sustained throughout the first half of the cycle, most women will respond within 48-72 hours. For this reason, Viagra can be used to “rescue” a poor lining after the cycle has already started, provided that there is enough time remaining prior to ovulation, egg retrieval or progesterone administration.

    Feel free to call 800-780-7437 if you would like to set up a Skype consultation to discuss your case with me.

    Geoff Sher

  • Tracey - March 2, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher what are your thoughts on the reliability of the AMH test to indicate likely response to stimulation or remaining egg supply in general?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    I think the AMH test is the most reliable tool we have available (other than prior response to stimulation) that can predict ovarian response. It also allows a rational approach to selecting the best protocol for ovarian stimulation.

    Geoff Sher

    Tracey - March 4, 2018 reply

    My AMH at age 35 was 0.6ng/mL when i did an egg freeze cycle which gave me 16 mature eggs using a protocol where I stimmed for 10 days using follitism/puregon 175 (day 3 – 12) and orgalutron 250 (day 8 – 12) and trigger with 10000iu pregnyl. The following year at age 36 I became pregnant twice naturally, (one elective termination regretfully) followed by an early miscarriage 2 cycles later. A fertility issue was then discovered as stenois of the cervix caused by the D&C. At age 37 with AMH 0.3ng/ml I then did a cycle using same protocol style as previously instead using HMG/Menopur 187 and Orgalutron 250 with trigger 5000iu pregnyl and syneral spray rather than follitism which only produced 6 mature eggs, 4 fertilised and 1 blastocyst which led to live birth of my now 9th old daughter. I believe that cycle was mismanaged as follicle sizes were over 21mm 2 days before retrieval & I actually felt several eggs release/pop before retrieval happened so less eggs were retrieved as a result. I then did one more stim cycle for egg freeze at age 37 back on original protocol as first time (follitism/puregon) and got 10 mature eggs. FSH at age 37 was consistently 6.0 IU/L. The cycles using follitism/puregon were obviously more successful regarding egg numbers as opposed to HMG/Menopur. We are now trying naturally for baby 2, but will start a stim cycle in July at age 39 if unsuccessful naturally. What is your opinion regarding my very low AMH and the results I was able to achieve, and what protocol for stim cycle would you suggest now 2yrs later? Should I stick to what has worked or a new plan? I will be starting with a new clinic & all bloods/AMH is redone and awaiting results but will obviously be lower.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 4, 2018 reply

    Thank you Tracey,

    You are absolutely on target in recognizing that central to success in women with DOR is selection and implementation of the ideal protocol for ovarian stimulation.

    In my opinion, the protocol used for ovarian stimulation, against the backdrop of age, and ovarian reserve are the drivers of egg quality and egg quality is the most important factor affecting embryo “competency”.
    Women who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.

    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the effect of DOR, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can in my opinion, make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in women with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy

    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Kim - March 1, 2018 reply

    Other than the partial HLA Genotype match which we understand the treatment for, do you see issues with the phenotype matches listed or do they not have an effect on the success of a transfer?

    HLA Serotyping
    Me:
    HLA Genotype: 1.2, 1.3
    HLA A, B, C Phenotype: A2, A24(9), B60(40), B44(12), Cw3, Cw5
    HLA DR, DQ Phenotype: DR13(6), DR13(6), DQ6(1), DQ6(1)

    Husband:
    HLA Genotype: 1.2, 4.1
    HLA A, B, C Phenotype: A2, A23(9), B44(12), B5817, Cw6, Cw7
    HLA DR, DQ Phenotype: DR11(5), DR13(6), DQ6(1), DQ3

    DRB3 Present in both partners

    Thank you in advance!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    No, I do not!

    Geoff Sher

  • Zara - March 1, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher I m 33years old and my husband is 36 years old….My husband has asthenoteratozoospermia with agglutinates and pus cells on semen analysis….We had 4 cycles of ICSI with one FET….first 3 cycles long protocol and last one short antagonist protocol.My latest fsh/lh is 9.88/7.2from 5.9/4.2 last may with AMH of 1.1 before my previous cycle and on ICSI they say eggs not of good quality dark and grainy….first cycle at age 29 had poor fertilization and no blastocyst and no ET……2nd attempt leading to a 5weeks anembryonic pregnancy following a 3rd day transfer. 3rd icsi lead to BFN both after fresh transfer and fet.Last ICSI after short protocol only 2 fertilized with both grade 2embryos and failure again..Vigourous genetic testing not available in our country.I took DHEA before my last ICSI but i feel it has further deteriorated my egg quality….Is it possible??plus why is there so much variation in fsh before a year even.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    It is possible that your husband’s sperm issue could be a factor here, but in my opinion, it is likely that the protocol used for ovarian stimulation against the backdrop of your diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) could be playing a role here.

    In my opinion, the protocol used for ovarian stimulation, against the backdrop of age, and ovarian reserve are the drivers of egg quality and egg quality is the most important factor affecting embryo “competency”.
    Women who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.

    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the effect of DOR, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can in my opinion, make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in women with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy

    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    Zara - March 6, 2018 reply

    Hello Dr Sher!I m highly obliged to see your response and honestly i have no words to appreciate your efforts by creating such an accessible forum for fertility patients…I had two queries please!
    What should be the size of maximum number of follicles after ovarian stimulation before deciding to give the trigger hcg shot before egg retrieval?
    Do u think a small varicocoele of about 2-3cm cause severe asthenoteratozospermia or affect other semen parameters?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 6, 2018 reply

    Thank you kindly!

    1. What should be the size of maximum number of follicles after ovarian stimulation before deciding to give the trigger hcg shot before egg retrieval?

    A: Half the follicles need to be over 15mm with several between 18-22mm (no larger).

    2. Do u think a small varicocoele of about 2-3cm cause severe asthenoteratozospermia or affect other semen parameters?

    A: No I do do not!

    What is a varicocele? The testicles are housed in the scrotum, a skin-covered sac that houses the two testicles as well as blood vessels that deliver blood to these glands, nerves, and lymphatics. An abnormality of the plexus of veins (the pampiniform plexus) that carry blood away from the testicles can result in their distention, proliferation and enlargement within the scrotum. We refer to this as the development of varicosities similar to varicose veins that can occur in the leg.
    How does a varicocele cause male infertility? The increased scrotal blood flow often raises the temperature in the scrotum by 1-2 degrees. This in turn sometimes results in decreased sperm production and functionality as well as testicular shrinkage (atrophy), leading to male infertility. However, by no means does the existence of a varicocele inevitably compromise sperm production and functionality.
    Who develops a varicocele and how common is the condition? About 15 percent of men have varicoceles. These generally form during puberty and are more commonly found on the left side than on the right side of the scrotum. Rarely are both sides of the scrotum affected. . Most males are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25 years of age. There are no established risk factors for developing a varicocele, and the exact cause is unclear.
    How does a varicocele present and how can it be diagnosed? The presence of a varicocele does not invariable mean that it is the cause of male infertility. In fact many males who have varicoceles do not have any fertility problem at all. Also, in many cases the detection of a varicocele is an “incidental finding and is not the cause of coexisting male infertility. You see, contrary to popular belief, varicoceles seldom reduce sperm count. In fact in many cases of low-sperm count, treatment of the varicocele, rarely results an improvement in sperm production. It is important to recognize that the majority of men who have varicoceles, do not have evidence of sperm dysfunction.
    Most varicoceles are not even symptomatic. In fact most are not ever detected. Those that are symptomatic present with scrotal enlargement, scrotal and/or lower abdominal pain, and infertility. The condition is often diagnosed by physical examination where, to the touch, a varicocele feels like a “bag of worms”. However ultrasound examination of the scrotum offers a more definitive diagnostic capability.

    When a varicocele causes sperm dysfunction, this most commonly manifests with a normal or even raised sperm count. However, there is usually markedly reduced motility and sperm progression, but a high percentage of sperm are found to be “immature” Collectively this is referred to as a “stress pattern”. In many such cases the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) will show an increase in the DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI). These are the cases where treatment of the varicocele will often improve sperm function, along with improving the likelihood of a viable pregnancy occurring naturally or following IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection- (ICSI)

    Treatment: There are two approaches to treating varicoceles:
    • Traditional treatment of a varicocele is through ligation (under general anesthesia) of one or both spermatic veins that carry blood from the pampiniform venous plexus (“varicocelectomy”). While surgery is in most cases curative, post-surgical recurrence is not uncommon.
    • Another approach is interventional radiological obliteration of one or both the spermatic veins. This approach involves passing a balloon catheter via a groin blood vessel, under radiological view, into the spermatic vein and inflating the balloon in that position. This causes the spermatic vein to permanently occlude. Sometime later, the catheter is withdrawn and the vein remains occluded causing the varicocele to collapse and the pampiniform plexus to shrink. Disappear. This radiological approach is often more effective, far less costly, less traumatic and less likely to, result in a recurrence than is spermatic vein, surgical ligation. It is also conducted under local anesthesia and as an out-patient procedure. In my opinion this approach has become the preferred method for treating varicoceles.

    Regardless of whether surgical or interventional radiological treatment is contemplated, it is in my opinion, advisable for the patient to take a male fertility blend that is rich in antioxidants (I recommend a product called “Proceptin) which is not currently sold at Drug Stores and requires online purchase). This will sometimes result in an improvement in the DFI within 3-6 months.. It should be taken for at least 12 weeks whereupon the SCSA should be repeated..

    It is important to bear in mind that both surgical and radiological treatment will only improve sperm function in about 35% of men who have varicocele.. Understandably, it is tempting to attribute a cause and effect relationship to fertility problem and a varicocele. But, the truth is that the existence of a varicocele is often coincidental (unrelated) to the underlying cause of the infertility

    Under what circumstances will treatment be unlikely to succeed? The following, in my opinion, represent situations where treatment of a varicocele (whether surgical or radiologic) is unlikely to resolve the male infertility issue.
    .
    • When the man has an elevated blood FSH level (greater than 12MIU/ml)
    • In cases where there is a persistently low sperm count (<20million/ml).
    • When the DFI is below 30%. In such cases ICSI is the best approach.

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher
    PH: 800-780-7437

  • Blossom U. - March 1, 2018 reply

    Good day Dr Sher,
    Do you recommend bedrest after FET? I have seen mixed reports on this topic.
    Also is it safe to go to work on the day after FET? My job entails sitting at a computer most of the day, doing orders for about 7-8 hrs.

    Blossom U. - March 1, 2018 reply

    Dear Dr Sher,
    I first want to start by saying I hope I did not create a wrong or negative impression with my comment on immune modulation. If I did, I’m truly sorry and it was not the intention. I find this forum very informative and have gained a wealth of knowledge and information. This can be a very emotional journey as you know. Please do not kick me off.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    Blossom!

    I absolutely do not feel that you crated the wrong imprssion. I welcome all constructive comments.

    I have and would never bar anyone from this forum which I enjoy servicing.

    You (as is everyone), are welcome here!

    Geoff Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    No I do not recommend bed rest and yes,y patients return t1o low-impact physical work within 24 hours.

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - March 2, 2018 reply

    Thank you Dr. I appreciate you. Any survival strategies to distract oneself during the waiting period after embryo transfer?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    Not really!

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - March 2, 2018

    Dr,
    Do you recommend any specific time of the day for P4 vaginal or P4 IM?
    Is there such a thing as too much progesterone?

    Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018

    I discourage more than 200mg progesterone PIO, daily. The time of day you take it is not relevant as long as you choose more-or less the same time each day.

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - March 3, 2018

    Thank you Dr.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 3, 2018

    You are welcome.

    Geoff Sher

  • Erin - March 1, 2018 reply

    Hello Dr. Sher,
    I have gone had 3 unsuccessful FETs with PGS normal embryos. One failed and the next two miscarried in the first trimester (one was a single and one was twins). I was on lovenox (40 mg) and prednisone (5mg) even though my testing all can back normal and my RE did it as a precaution. My lining was always above 9 mm and triple lined. I have unexplained infertility and had 3 natural losses prior to ivf as well. One was ectopic and burst so I lost a tube which is why we went to IVF. My thyroid and “recurrent miscarriage” testing for antibodies came back normal along with my blood clotting tests and both our genetic screenings. I’m at a loss. Is it worth doing the immunology testing panel if I was already on steroid/blood thinner and still lost the pregnancy? My doctor recommended an ERA but I feel like the embryos implant but something always seems to happen around 7 weeks and there is no heartbeat at the first ultrasound. I’m trying to decide whether or not to proceed or look for a GC. The testing on my last D&C also showed no chromosomal abnormality. My RE just keeps saying that PGS doesn’t catch everything and to keep trying. Do you think Intralipids would be helpful?
    Thanks!
    Erin

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    You clearly could very well have an implantatikon dysfunction. I think an immunologic cause is much more likely than an endometrium dyssynchrony (the target of ERA).

    Whenever a patient fails to achieve a viable pregnancy following embryo transfer (ET), the first question asked is why! Was it simply due to, bad luck?, How likely is the failure to recur in future attempts and what can be done differently, to avoid it happening next time?.
    It is an indisputable fact that any IVF procedure is at least as likely to fail as it is to succeed. Thus when it comes to outcome, luck is an undeniable factor. Notwithstanding, it is incumbent upon the treating physician to carefully consider and address the causes of IVF failure before proceeding to another attempt:
    1. Age: The chance of a woman under 35Y of age having a baby per embryo transfer is about 35-40%. From there it declines progressively to under 5% by the time she reaches her mid-forties. This is largely due to declining chromosomal integrity of the eggs with advancing age…”a wear and tear effect” on eggs that are in the ovaries from birth.
    2. Embryo Quality/”competency (capable of propagating a viable pregnancy)”. As stated, the woman’s age plays a big role in determining egg/embryo quality/”competency”. This having been said, aside from age the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is the next most important factor. It is especially important when it comes to older women, and women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) where it becomes essential to be aggressive, and to customize and individualize the ovarian stimulation protocol.
    We used to believe that the uterine environment is more beneficial to embryo development than is the incubator/petri dish and that accordingly, the earlier on in development that embryos are transferred to the uterus, the better. To achieve this goal, we used to select embryos for transfer based upon their day two or microscopic appearance (“grade”). But we have since learned that the further an embryo has advanced in its development, the more likely it is to be “competent” and that embryos failing to reach the expanded blastocyst stage within 5-6 days of being fertilized are almost invariably “incompetent” and are unworthy of being transferred. Moreover, the introduction into clinical practice about a decade ago, (by Levent Keskintepe PhD and myself) of Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS), which assesses for the presence of all the embryos chromosomes (complete chromosomal karyotyping), provides another tool by which to select the most “competent” embryos for transfer. This methodology has selective benefit when it comes to older women, women with DOR, cases of unexplained repeated IVF failure and women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
    3. The number of the embryos transferred: Most patients believe that the more embryos transferred the greater the chance of success. To some extent this might be true, but if the problem lies with the use of a suboptimal COS protocol, transferring more embryos at a time won’t improve the chance of success. Nor will the transfer of a greater number of embryos solve an underlying embryo implantation dysfunction (anatomical molecular or immunologic).Moreover, the transfer of multiple embryos, should they implant, can and all too often does result in triplets or greater (high order multiples) which increases the incidence of maternal pregnancy-induced complications and of premature delivery with its serious risks to the newborn. It is for this reason that I rarely recommend the transfer of more than 2 embryos at a time and am moving in the direction of advising single embryo transfers …especially when it comes to transferring embryos derived through the fertilization of eggs from young women.
    4. Implantation Dysfunction (ID): Implantation dysfunction is a very common (often overlooked) cause of “unexplained” IVF failure. This is especially the case in young ovulating women who have normal ovarian reserve and have fertile partners. Failure to identify, typify, and address such issues is, in my opinion, an unfortunate and relatively common cause of repeated IVF failure in such women. Common sense dictates that if ultrasound guided embryo transfer is performed competently and yet repeated IVF attempts fail to propagate a viable pregnancy, implantation dysfunction must be seriously considered. Yet ID is probably the most overlooked factor. The most common causes of implantation dysfunction are:
    a. A“ thin uterine lining”
    b. A uterus with surface lesions in the cavity (polyps, fibroids, scar tissue)
    c. Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID)
    d. Endocrine/molecular endometrial receptivity issues
    Certain causes of infertility are repetitive and thus cannot readily be reversed. Examples include advanced age of the woman; severe male infertility; immunologic infertility associated with alloimmune implantation dysfunction (especially if it is a “complete DQ alpha genetic match between partners plus uterine natural killer cell activation (NKa).
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Nancy - March 1, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher, what is the state-of-the-art situation vis-a-vis genetic testing of oocytes (not embryos), and is SIRM performing such testing? If not, why not, how soon will this testing become common, and is anyone (in the US or not) performing such testing at this time?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - March 2, 2018 reply

    Sadly, this is not available. We were the first to report and publish on the value of egg karyotyping. At the time we provided this service in our own genetics lab for research purposes and saw major advantages , including predictive reliability and the ability to rule out mosaicism of embryos. However it did not catch on and low and and technical complexities, has made its availability cost-prohibitive.

    Geoff Sher

  • Elaine - February 28, 2018 reply

    Hello, I have a question…
    One year ago my results were: FSH – 11.3, LH – 11.9 , O2 – 45 and AMH – 1.8. I’m 42 years old and we’ve tried 02 IUI (last in January) and are starting FIV now. Results 02 days ago are: FSH – 14.9, LH – 10.9 , O2 – 61 and AMH – 2.9. Is it normal to have the results so changed? I’ve heard before that AMH only goes down and never up!!! It’s bad to have this high FSH or it can be just a consequence of the 02 IUI (with FSH stimulation)? Tks a lot for some support here <3

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018 reply

    There can be fluctuations in AMH. I would regard your ovarian reserve as being adequate, especially when taking your age into consideration. However, in my opinion, given your age, IUI is not the best way to go because he chance of success is <2% per cycle of treatment for women in their 40's and you simply do not have the time to waste on such low odds, while your ovarian reserve continues to decline with every passing month.

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically "incompetent" (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Jyoti - February 28, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher, I just had second failed cycle of IUI. This cycle I was in injectables instead of Clomid.
    For the first IUI, I was on Clomid 50mg from day 3 to 7, and trigger on day 11 (two follicles 17mm+) with IUI on day 13.
    For IUI#2, the RE prescribed menogon 75iu for 7 days starting day 3 followed by 150iu for 4 days as follicles were showing slow growth. I was triggered on day 14 followed by iui on day 16. Below are my baseline numbers for iui#2:
    FSH: 5.39
    LH: 2.74
    ESTRADIOL: 65.72
    Can you please advise:
    1. Why was my response to injectables poorer than clomid?
    2. Do slow growing follicle represent poor egg quality?
    3. Can the response to other brand of injectable be better than menogon? Is there any brand you recommend?
    4. Do you suggest another attempt of IUI or just move straight to ivf?
    We both are 34 years old, case of unexplained infertility.

    Thanks a lot for your advice.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018 reply

    1. Why was my response to injectables poorer than clomid?

    A: I would need to know much more about your case to be able to respond authoritatively. Most important is wqhat is your AMH?

    2. Do slow growing follicle represent poor egg quality?

    A: Sometimes yes!

    3. Can the response to other brand of injectable be better than Menogon? Is there any brand you recommend?

    A: It is not necessarily the type of gonadotropin that matters, but the entire protocol used for ovarian stimulation which needs in my opinion, to be individualized and customized to your needs.

    4. Do you suggest another attempt of IUI or just move straight to ivf?

    A: It would be wrong to go blindly to IVF until you know what the cause of your problem is and how to best address all the confounding variables.

    For about 10% of all infertile couples, the cause of the infertility cannot be readily determined using conventional diagnostic methods. Such cases are often referred to as “unexplained infertility.” The truth however is that in most such cases, the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility is in fact “presumptive because a more in-depth evaluation would have revealed a cause. This having been said, people diagnosed with so called “unexplained infertility” fall into two broad groups: a)those couples who don’t have any biological problems interfering with pregnancy and, b) those who do but the reason cannot be found due to insufficient medical information or technology. It is in this latter group that improved testing techniques have made infertility easier to diagnose and treat.
    In order to make even a presumptive diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” the answers to the following questions must be in the affirmative.
     Is the woman ovulating normally?
     Is the couple having intercourse regularly in the periovulatory phase of the cycle?
     Are the fallopian tubes normal and open?
     Can endometriosis be excluded?
     Does the male partner have normal semen parameters (most specifically with regard to sperm count and motility?
     Is the post coital (Huhner) test (periovulatory examination of cervical mucous, done 6-18 hours after intercourse) normal?
    The definitive diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” has a lot to do with the thoroughness of the health care provider in excluding all possible causes. The fewer tests performed, the more likely a presumptive diagnosis
    For Example:
     Abnormalities of the fallopian tubes (adhesions or developmental defects) of the finger-like “petals” at their outer ends of the tubes that help sweep eggs inside (i.e. fimbriae). can prevent eggs from being collected and transported to the awaiting sperm
     Chromosomal abnormalities of eggs or embryos: Eggs must be euploid (contain the right number of chromosomes) to be successfully fertilized and embryos must also be euploid in order to implant successfully in the uterine lining. Until recently there was no reliable method for determining whether eggs and embryos were euploid. The recent introduction of genetic tests such as comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) now allows for identification of all chromosomes in the egg and embryo. As such CGH represents an important addition to the “infertility” diagnostic armamentarium.
     Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF)Syndrome: Here, the eggs can become trapped in the follicle and not be released (trapped ovulation) In such cases routine tests done to detect ovulation ((temperature charting, Urine LH testing, Blood progesterone levels) may be normal resulting in false interpretation that ovulation is actually occurring.
     Ovulation (hormonal) Dysfunction: Abnormalities in ovarian hormone production in the preovulatory phase of the cycle (follicular phase defect) and/or in the postovulatory phase (luteal phase defect) can negatively affect preparation of the uterine lining (endometrium), thus thwarting normal implantation.
     Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID): Sometimes, the woman’s or the man’s own immune system can attack sperm cells, killing them or causing them to become immobilized. Also, immunologic dysfunction involving the uterine lining can cause the implanting embryo to be rejected so early that the woman does not even recognize that she in fact had conceived.
     Cervical infection; Ureaplasma urealyticum infection of the cervical glands can prevent sperm from migrating through the cervix and uterus to reach the egg(s) in the fallopian tube(s). Such infection will usually not be detectable through routine examination and/or cervical culturing methods.
     Mild or Moderate Endometriosis: Endometriosis is in 100% of cases associated with the production of “pelvic toxins” that reduce the fertilization potential of otherwise normal eggs by a factor of 3-5. In addition, about 1/3 of woman with endometriosis (regardless of its severity) have immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID). Furthermore mild and often even moderately severe endometriosis can only be accurately diagnosed by direct visualization of the lesions through laparoscopy or laparotomy and, the detection of IID requires highly sophisticated tests that can only be adequately performed by a handful of Reproductive Immunology Reference Laboratories in the United States. Finally, a condition called nonpigmented endometriosis, in which the endometrium may be growing inside the pelvic cavity with many of the same deleterious effects as overt endometriosis, cannot be detected even by direct vision (at laparoscopy/laparotomy). The fertility of these patients may be every bit as compromised as if they had detectable endometriosis.
     Psychological Factors: The entire reproductive process is governed by the brain. Thus it should come as no surprise that stress and negativity can interfere with hormonal balance and decrease the ability to conceive.
     Mild Male Factor
     Antisperm antibodies in the man or woman.
    Management:
    Successful management of “Unexplained Infertility” requires that a very individualized approach be taken. Wherever possible the underlying cause should first be identified. Problems that involve ovulation dysfunction (hormonal imbalance) require ovulation induction with oral or injectible fertility drugs. Cervical mucous hostility due to infection with ureaplasma (which is transferred back and forth sexually to both partners) requires specific and concurrent antibiotic therapy. In other cases involving younger women (under 39 years) where there is a problem with sperm migration via the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tube(s) intrauterine insemination (IUI) with or without ovulation induction, is indicated. When these treatments fail, in cases, women over the age of 39 years, in women with IID, in men or women who harbor antisperm antibodies in significant concentrations and in cases associated with tubal abnormalities, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is needed. All cases of intractable, moderate or severe male infertility call for injecting sperm directly into the egg to achieve forced fertilization (intracytoplasmic sperm injection-ICSI).
    It is an indisputable fact that most causes of infertility can be diagnosed and it is a great pity that the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” is often used as an excuse for not having performed a full and detailed evaluation of the problem. Couples should not simply accept a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” at face value since treatment is most likely to be successful when the specific cause of the problem can be fully identified

    The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    Jyoti - February 28, 2018 reply

    Thanks for your prompt response doctor. My AMH is 1.86 ng/ml.
    Would it be possible for you to provide a list of test that we should add to our workup to identify the cause of infertility? Are there any symptoms that warrant laparoscopy or you recommend it irrespective of symptoms? Thanks a lot.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018 reply

    Unfortunately I would require a great deal more information to do this.

    If you are interested in my advice or medical services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com. You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com.
    Also, my book, “In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Linda Yun - February 28, 2018 reply

    01 018332 02/18/2018 47,XY,+15 Male Abnormal
    02 018332 02/19/2018 Complex Abnormal – Triploid XXY Abnormal Male
    Abnormal
    03 018332 02/19/2018 45,XY,-16 Male Abnormal
    04 018332 02/19/2018 46,XX,del(12)(q21),del(16)(q12-13) Female Abnormal

    This is my 2nd time testing 4 embryos with PGS. We discarded the first 4. Do you think I have any chances with the female. It was graded 4cc. The doctor is willing to proceed.

    Linda

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018 reply

    In my opinion, the +15 male, the 46,XX,del(12)(q21),del(16)(q12-13) Female and -16 male could be mosaic and are worthy of holding on to and transferring.

    Human embryo development occurs through a process that encompasses reprogramming, sequential cleavage divisions and mitotic chromosome segregation and embryonic genome activation. Chromosomal abnormalities may arise during germ cell and/or pre-implantation embryo development, and represents a major cause of early pregnancy loss. About a decade ago, I and an associate, Levent Keskintepe Ph.D were the first to introduce full embryo karyotyping (identification of all 46 chromosomes) through preimplantation genetic sampling (PGS) as a method by which to selectively transfer only euploid embryos (i.e. those that have a full component of chromosomes) to the uterus. We subsequently reported on a 2-3 fold improvement in implantation and birth rates as well as a significant reduction in early pregnancy loss, following IVF. Since then PGS has grown dramatically in popularity such that it is now widely used throughout the world.
    Most IVF programs that offer PGS services, require that all participating patients consent to all their aneuploid embryos (i.e. those with an irregular quota of chromosomes) be disposed of. However, there is now growing evidence to suggest that following embryo transfer, some aneuploid embryos will in the process of ongoing development, convert to the euploid state (i.e. “autocorrection”) and then go on to develop into chromosomally normal offspring. In fact, I am personally aware of several such cases occurring within our IVF network. So clearly , summarily discarding all aneuploid embryos as a matter of routine we are sometimes destroying some embryos that might otherwise have “autocorrected” and gone on to develop into normal offspring.
    Thus by discarding aneuploid embryos the possibility exists that we could be denying some women the opportunity of having a baby. This creates a major ethical and moral dilemma for those of us that provide the option of PGS to our patients. On the one hand, we strive “to avoid knowingly doing harm” (the Hippocratic Oath) and as such would prefer to avoid or minimize the risk of miscarriage and/or chromosomal birth defects and on the other hand we would not wish to deny patients with aneuploid embryos, the opportunity to have a baby.
    The basis for such embryo “autocorrection” lies in the fact that some embryos found through PGS-karyotyping to harbor one or more aneuploid cells (blastomeres) will often also harbor chromosomally normal (euploid) cells (blastomeres). The coexistence of both aneuploid and euploid cells coexisting in the same embryo is referred to as “mosaicism.” As stated, some mosaic embryos will In the process of subsequent cell replication convert to the normal euploid state (i.e. autocorrect)
    It is against this background, that an ever increasing number of IVF practitioners, rather than summarily discard PGS-identified aneuploid embryos are now choosing to cryobanking (freeze-store) certain of them, to leave open the possibility of ultimately transferring them to the uterus. In order to best understand the complexity of the factors involved in such decision making, it is essential to understand the causes of embryo aneuploidy of which there are two varieties:
    1. Meiotic aneuploidy” results from aberrations in chromosomal numerical configuration that originate in either the egg (most commonly) and/or in sperm, during preconceptual maturational division (meiosis). Since meiosis occurs in the pre-fertilized egg or in and sperm, it follows that when aneuploidy occurs due to defective meiosis, all subsequent cells in the developing embryo/blastocyst/conceptus inevitably will be aneuploid, precluding subsequent “autocorrection”. Meiotic aneuploidy will thus invariably be perpetuated in all the cells of the embryo as they replicate. It is a permanent phenomenon and is irreversible. All embryos so affected are thus fatally damaged. Most will fail to implant and those that do implant will either be lost in early pregnancy or develop into chromosomally defective offspring (e.g. Down syndrome, Edward syndrome, Turner syndrome).
    2. “Mitotic aneuploidy” occurs when following fertilization and subsequent cell replication (cleavage), some cells (blastomeres) of a meiotically euploid early embryo mutate and become aneuploid. This is referred to as mosaicism. Thereupon, with continued subsequent cell replication (mitosis) the chromosomal make-up (karyotype) of the embryo might either comprise of predominantly aneuploid cells or euploid cells. The subsequent viability or competency of the conceptus will thereupon depend on whether euploid or aneuploid cells predominate. If in such mosaic embryos aneuploid cells predominate, the embryo will be “incompetent”). If (as is frequently the case) euploid cells prevail, the mosaic embryo will be “competent” and capable of propagating a normal conceptus.
    Since some mitotically aneuploid (“mosaic”) embryos can, and indeed do “autocorrect’ while meiotically aneuploid embryos cannot, it follows that an ability to differentiate between these two varieties of aneuploidy would be of considerable clinical value. And would provide a strong argument in favor of preserving certain aneuploid embryos for future dispensation.
    Aneuploidy, involves the addition (trisomy) or subtraction (monosomy) of one chromosome in a given pair. As previously stated, some aneuploidies are meiotic in origin while others are mitotic “mosaics”. Certain aneuploidies involve only a single, chromosome pair (simple aneuploidy) while others involve more than a single pair (i.e. complex aneuploidy). Aside from monosomy involving absence of the y-sex chromosome (i.e. XO) which can resulting in a live birth (Turner syndrome) all monosomies involving autosomes (non-sex chromosomes) are lethal and will not result in viable offspring). Some autosomal meiotic aneuploidies, especially trisomies 13, 18, 21, can progress to viable, but severely chromosomally defective babies. All other meiotic autosomal trisomies will almost invariably, either not attach to the uterine lining or upon attachment, will soon be rejected. All forms of meiotic aneuploidy are irreversible while mitotic aneuploidy (“mosaicism) often autocorrects in the uterus. Most complex aneuploidies are meiotic in origin and will almost invariably fail to propagate viable pregnancies.
    There is presently no microscopic or genetic test that can reliable differentiate between meiotic and mitotic aneuploidy. Notwithstanding this, the fact that some “mosaic” embryos can autocorrect in the uterus, makes a strong argument in favor of transferring aneuploid of embryos in the hope that the one(s) transferred might be “mosaic” and might propagate viable healthy pregnancies. On the other hand, it is the fear that embryo aneuploidy might result in a chromosomally abnormal baby that has led many IVF physicians to strongly oppose the transfer of any aneuploid embryos to the uterus.
    While certain meiotic aneuploid trisomies (e.g. trisomies 13, 18, & 21) can and sometimes do result in chromosomally defective babies, no other meiotic autosomal trisomies can do so. Thus the transfer of trisomic embryos in the hope that one or more might be mosaic, should exclude the use of embryos with trisomies 13, 18 or 21. Conversely, no autosomal monosomic embryos are believed to be capable of resulting in viable pregnancies, thereby making the transfer of autosomally monosomic embryos, in the hope that they are “mosaic”, a far less risky proposition. Needless to say, if such action is being contemplated, it is absolutely essential to make full disclosure to the patient (s) , and to insure the completion of a detailed informed consent agreement which would include a commitment by the patient (s) to undergo prenatal genetic testing aimed at excluding a chromosomal defect in the developing baby and/or a willingness to terminate the pregnancy should a serious birth defect be diagnosed.

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

  • Shindo - February 27, 2018 reply

    Hi,
    I will be turning 33 in a few weeks time and I have PCOS. My husband is 38. After a couple of years of trying to naturally get pregnant with clomid I started my ivf cycle with Gonal and have been asked to go through icsi . In my first egg retrieval I was told I have 4 follicles but could only get 2 eggs were retrieved . Am very disappointed with the results. Am to start with the next cycle is the next couple of weeks. Is there any suggestions from you that I can follow that can help to ensure that I can get better eggs count the next time and get pregnant?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018 reply

    Very respectfully,

    I find it difficult to accept the diagnosis of PCOS given the way you responded to stimulation. Typically women with PCOS over-respond to stimulation with gonadotropins, often producing well over 20 follicles and are even at risk of developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). I invite you to call Julie Dahan at 800-780-7437s and set up a Skype consultation with me to discuss your case in detail.

    Geoff Sher

  • Leigh lock - February 26, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr Sher
    I am 43, I have DOR and am trying for my second IVF baby, however I am still breastfeeding my first child I believe that slightly raised prolactin levels are causing the following changes:
    1. Period cycle increased from 4 weeks to 6 weeks with ovulation approx week 4.
    2. Lower Fsh from 13 down to 4 or 5
    3. Slower response to stimulation taking an extra 4-5 days
    4. Lower estrogen levels
    My last cycle we collected 8 eggs 4 were mature but only 1 fertilised. Does this align with increased prolactin levels? If so can it be overcome by estrogen priming protocol rather then stopping breastfeeding?
    regards
    Leigh

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Hardeep Bhangal - February 26, 2018 reply

    Hello,

    I am a 44 years old. I have just completed a cycle of IVF on 450 Menopur and egg collection was on day 16. I had been advised i had 5 egg however only 2 were retrieved and today i was tole fertilisation was attempted on 1 of them but failed. Should i try again and should i try Gonal F?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    You really need IVF with egg donation. Your chances with own eggs at 44y and diminished ovarian reserve are small!. However, if you insist on using own eggs, then please consider the following!

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Kim - February 25, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher,
    I am 45 years old and have had two full term natural pregnancies. Second baby passed away as an infant. I have had two natural pregnancies since then at 43 and 44 years old that ended in first trimester miscarriage. I moved on to egg donation. I have had one failed egg donor cycle ( frozen eggs, proven donor ,26 years old, blastocyst set transfer). After failure, my RE suggested an ERA test before second transfer which I had and it showed I needed an extra day of progesterone ( pre-receptive) but he did not feel we needed to repeat it. My lining has always been trilaminar and around 11-12.

    Do you think this test (ERA) is helpful?
    Should I request looking into NKC / immune issues?
    Do you recommend PGS for embryos from frozen donor eggs?

    Thank you!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    I am not a true believer when it comes to ERA.

    Whenever a patient fails to achieve a viable pregnancy following embryo transfer (ET), the first question asked is why! Was it simply due to, bad luck?, How likely is the failure to recur in future attempts and what can be done differently, to avoid it happening next time?.
    It is an indisputable fact that any IVF procedure is at least as likely to fail as it is to succeed. Thus when it comes to outcome, luck is an undeniable factor. Notwithstanding, it is incumbent upon the treating physician to carefully consider and address the causes of IVF failure before proceeding to another attempt:
    1. Age: The chance of a woman under 35Y of age having a baby per embryo transfer is about 35-40%. From there it declines progressively to under 5% by the time she reaches her mid-forties. This is largely due to declining chromosomal integrity of the eggs with advancing age…”a wear and tear effect” on eggs that are in the ovaries from birth.
    2. Embryo Quality/”competency (capable of propagating a viable pregnancy)”. As stated, the woman’s age plays a big role in determining egg/embryo quality/”competency”. This having been said, aside from age the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is the next most important factor. It is especially important when it comes to older women, and women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) where it becomes essential to be aggressive, and to customize and individualize the ovarian stimulation protocol.
    We used to believe that the uterine environment is more beneficial to embryo development than is the incubator/petri dish and that accordingly, the earlier on in development that embryos are transferred to the uterus, the better. To achieve this goal, we used to select embryos for transfer based upon their day two or microscopic appearance (“grade”). But we have since learned that the further an embryo has advanced in its development, the more likely it is to be “competent” and that embryos failing to reach the expanded blastocyst stage within 5-6 days of being fertilized are almost invariably “incompetent” and are unworthy of being transferred. Moreover, the introduction into clinical practice about a decade ago, (by Levent Keskintepe PhD and myself) of Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS), which assesses for the presence of all the embryos chromosomes (complete chromosomal karyotyping), provides another tool by which to select the most “competent” embryos for transfer. This methodology has selective benefit when it comes to older women, women with DOR, cases of unexplained repeated IVF failure and women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
    3. The number of the embryos transferred: Most patients believe that the more embryos transferred the greater the chance of success. To some extent this might be true, but if the problem lies with the use of a suboptimal COS protocol, transferring more embryos at a time won’t improve the chance of success. Nor will the transfer of a greater number of embryos solve an underlying embryo implantation dysfunction (anatomical molecular or immunologic).Moreover, the transfer of multiple embryos, should they implant, can and all too often does result in triplets or greater (high order multiples) which increases the incidence of maternal pregnancy-induced complications and of premature delivery with its serious risks to the newborn. It is for this reason that I rarely recommend the transfer of more than 2 embryos at a time and am moving in the direction of advising single embryo transfers …especially when it comes to transferring embryos derived through the fertilization of eggs from young women.
    4. Implantation Dysfunction (ID): Implantation dysfunction is a very common (often overlooked) cause of “unexplained” IVF failure. This is especially the case in young ovulating women who have normal ovarian reserve and have fertile partners. Failure to identify, typify, and address such issues is, in my opinion, an unfortunate and relatively common cause of repeated IVF failure in such women. Common sense dictates that if ultrasound guided embryo transfer is performed competently and yet repeated IVF attempts fail to propagate a viable pregnancy, implantation dysfunction must be seriously considered. Yet ID is probably the most overlooked factor. The most common causes of implantation dysfunction are:
    a. A“ thin uterine lining”
    b. A uterus with surface lesions in the cavity (polyps, fibroids, scar tissue)
    c. Immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID)
    d. Endocrine/molecular endometrial receptivity issues
    Certain causes of infertility are repetitive and thus cannot readily be reversed. Examples include advanced age of the woman; severe male infertility; immunologic infertility associated with alloimmune implantation dysfunction (especially if it is a “complete DQ alpha genetic match between partners plus uterine natural killer cell activation (NKa).
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • IVF: How Many Attempts should be considered before Stopping?
    • “Unexplained” Infertility: Often a matter of the Diagnosis Being Overlooked!
    • IVF Failure and Implantation Dysfunction:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Endometrial Thickness, Uterine Pathology and Immunologic Factors
    • Vaginally Administered Viagra is Often a Highly Effective Treatment to Help Thicken a Thin Uterine Lining
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF?
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • sarah - February 25, 2018 reply

    Hello! SO my husband and myself have been told we have a DQ Alpha match of 50%. 2 x 4.1’s
    My understanding is that with this ratio we should only transfer one embryo at a time as more than one is risky that there is a DNA match between us. Do you agree with this or is it possible to transfer more that one?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    I one hundred percent agree.

    Unless tests for immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID) are performed correctly and conducted by a one of the few reliable reproductive immunology reference laboratory in the United States, treatment will likely be unsuccessful. . In this regard it is most important that the right tests be ordered and that these be performed by a competent laboratory. There are in my opinion only a handful of reliable Reproductive Immunology Laboratories in the world and most are in the U.S.A. Also, it is my opinion that far too often, testing is inappropriate with the many redundant and incorrect tests being requested from and conducted by suboptimal laboratories. Finally for treatment to have the best chance of being successful, it is vital that the underlying type of IID (autoimmune IID versus alloimmune) be identified correctly and that the type, dosage, concentration and timing of treatments be carefully devised and implemented.
    Who Should Undergo IID testing?
    When it comes to who should be evaluated, the following conditions should in always raise a suspicion of an underlying IID, and trigger prompt testing:
    • A diagnosis of endometriosis or the existence of symptoms suggestive of endometriosis (heavy/painful menstruation and pain with ovulation or with deep penetration during intercourse) I would however emphasize that a definitive diagnosis of endometriosis requires visualization of the lesions at laparoscopy or laparotomy)
    • A personal or family history of autoimmune disease such as hyper/hypothyroidism (as those with elevated or depressed TSH blood levels, regardless of thyroid hormonal dysfunction), Lupus erythematosus, Rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis, scleroderma etc.)
    • “Unexplained” infertility
    • Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL)
    • A history of having miscarried a conceptus that, upon testing of products of conception, was found to have a normal numerical chromosomal configuration (euploid).
    • Unexplained IVF failure
    • “Unexplained” intrauterine growth retardation due to placental insufficiency or late pregnancy loss of a chromosomally normal baby
    What Parameters should be tested?
    In my opinion, too many Reproductive Immunologists unnecessarily unload a barrage of costly IID tests on unsuspecting patients. In most cases the initial test should be for NK cell activation, and only if this is positive, is it necessary to expand the testing.
    The parameters that require measurement include:
    o For Autoimmune Implantation Dysfunction: Autoimmune implantation dysfunction, most commonly presents with presumed “infertility” due to such early pregnancy losses that the woman did not even know she was pregnant in the first place. Sometimes there as an early miscarriage. Tests required are: a) blood levels of all IgA, IgG and IgM-related antiphospholipid antibodies (APA’s) directed against six or seven specific phospholipids, b) both antithyroid antibodies (antithyroid and antimicrosomal antibodies), c) a comprehensive reproductive immunophenotype (RIP) and, c) most importantly, assessment of Natural Killer (NK) cell activity (rather than concentration) by measuring by their killing, using the K-562 target cell test and/or uterine cytokine measurement. As far as the ideal environment for performing such tests, it is important to recognize that currently there are only about 5 or 6, Reproductive Immunology Reference Laboratories in the U.S capable of reliably analyzing the required elements with a sufficient degree of sensitivity and specificity (in my opinion).
    o For Alloimmune implantation Dysfunction: While alloimmune Implantation usually presents with a history of unexplained (usually repeated) miscarriages or secondary infertility (where the woman conceived initially and thereupon was either unable to conceive started having repeated miscarriages it can also present as “presumed” primary infertility. Alloimmune dysfunction is diagnosed by testing the blood of both the male and female partners for matching DQ alpha genes and NK/CTL activation. It is important to note that any DQ alpha match (partial or complete) will only result in IID when there is concomitant NK/CTL activation (see elsewhere on this blog).
    How should results be interpreted?
    Central to making a diagnosis of an immunologic implantation dysfunction is the appropriate interpretation of natural killer cell activity (NKa) .In this regard, one of the commonest and most serious errors, is to regard the blood concentration of natural killer cells as being significant. Rather it is the activity (toxicity) of NK cells that matters as mentioned. Then there is the interpretation of reported results. The most important consideration is the percentage of target cells “killed” in the “native state”. In most cases a level of >10% killing should be regarded with suspicion and >12% overtly abnormal. In my opinion, trying to interpret the effect of adding IVIG or Intralipid to the sample in order assess whether and to what degree the use of these products would have a therapeutic benefit is seriously flawed and of little benefit. Clinically relevant NK cell deactivation can only be significantly effected in vivo and takes more than a week following infusion to occur. Thus what happens in the laboratory by adding these products to the sample prior to K-562 target cell testing is in my opinion likely irrelevant.
    There exists a pervasive but blatant misconception on the part of many, that the addition of Intralipid (IL) /immunoglobulin-G IVIG) can have an immediate down-regulatory effect on NK cell activity. This has established a demand that Reproductive Immunology Reference Laboratories report on NK cell activity before and following exposure to IVIG and/or IL. However, the fact is that activated “functional” NK cells (NKa) cannot be deactivated in the laboratory. Effective down-regulation of activated NK cells can only be adequately accomplished if their activated “progenitor/parental” NK cells are first down-regulated. Thereupon once these down-regulated “precursor” NK cells are exposed to progesterone, they will begin spawning normal and functional NK cells, which takes about 10-14 days. It follows that to assess for a therapeutic response to IVIG/IL therapy would require that the patient first be treated (10-14 days prior to embryo transfer) and thereupon, about 2 weeks later, be retested. While at 1st glance this might seem to be a reasonable approach, in reality it would be of little clinical benefit because even if blood were to be drawn 10 -14 days after IL/IVIG treatment it would require an additional 10 days to receive results from the laboratory, by which time it would be far too late to be of practical advantage.
    Neither IVIG nor IL is capable of significantly suppressing already activated “functional NK cells”. For this to happen, the IL/IVIG would have to down-regulate progenitor (parent) NK cell” activity. Thus, it should be infused 10-14 several prior to ovulation or progesterone administration so that the down-regulated “progenitor/precursor” NK cells” can propagate a sufficient number of normally regulated “functional NK cell” to be present at the implantation site 7 days later. In addition, to be effective, IL/IVIG therapy needs to be combined with steroid (dexamethasone/prednisone/prednisolone) therapy to down-regulates (often) concomitantly activated T-cells.
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.

    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements for Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID): PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management 🙁 Case Report)
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; how it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Zuza - February 25, 2018 reply

    Hello Dr. Sher,

    First of all I want to thank you again for all the advises and for being there – I am sure that it is thanks to this that I am now 23 weeks pregnant 🙂

    I hoped that everything would go smooth now and I wouldn’t bother you. But I would love to hear your opinion regarding baby’s heart echo before 24 weeks – is there really increased heart risk with IVF (this is what I am told)?

    So everything looked good on ultrasounds at 12 and 20 weeks. But despite that I am told to do echo of the baby’s little heart… as it is “a routine recommendation for patients after IVF”.
    They told me this echo/ultrasound is safe for the baby. But I read contradicting info online… I am concerned since its a wave and some sort of energy (maybe generating increased temperature) I am afraid this extended exposure could have some consequences. They said this echo is very detailed examination that would take about 2 hours.
    We already had a lot of ultrasounds since week 5 because I was spotting/bleeding until ~ week 10.
    Maybe I am paranoid and overly protective of this little miracle after all those long years of fighting for it. But if there was any heart issue, shouldn’t they see it at 20 week ultrasound, when they checked everything…

    Would you recommend to do echo only because of IVF?

    Thank you!
    Zuza

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    While I do not see an indication for a routine echocardiogram, it wont do harm!

    Good Luck!

    Geoff Sher

    Zuza - February 25, 2018 reply

    Thank you so much Dr Sher!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    You are welcome!

    Geoff Sher

  • Sarah Green - February 25, 2018 reply

    Before my POI and then POF diagnosis, I went in for a standard fertility assessment at age 35 and my e2 was 600?! Normal fsh and normal prolactin. Then a few months later my fsh was 89 and estrogen was quite low. My RE believes I probably had cystic ovaries when e2 was 600. My question is why this sequence/crash? Could my fsh have been only temporarily high as it corrected from high estrogen? My LH is never high and my progesterone has always been low. I always thought I had PCOS as a teen but tested normal. Could I have burned out my ovaries by ovulating too much? I now have only 3 follicles showing!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    I think this is an indication of POF. The hormonal levels can fluctuate.

    Geoff Sher

  • Osnat - February 25, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher,

    We tried a first natural non-medicated IVF cycle after multiple failed one (with great response-18-20 eggs and no or low fertilization). We trigger with one 18 in follicle but there was no egg retrieved. How common is this? What could this empty follicle be due to? Could this be a trigger issue?

    Thank you!
    Osnat

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    It is not unusual to have premature luteinization especially when non-medicated cycles are used older women and/or women with diminished ovarian reserve.

    Geoff Sher

  • Katie - February 25, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher, do you see any problem with transferring one 5-day blast and one 6-day blast together? Or does that mess up progeterone timing? (i.e- would the 6-day nee an extra day of PIO prior to transfer?)

    Also do you recommend AM or PM PIO injections?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    No problem katie!

    Geoff Sher

    Katie - February 25, 2018 reply

    Great! And do you prefer AM or PM PIO injections? (or do you find it matters?). Transfer would be in the AM, if that’s relevant.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    None of these are relevant.

    Geoff Sher

    Katie - February 26, 2018

    Copy! One less thing to worry about. 😉

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018

    OK!

    Geoff Sher

  • Blossom U. - February 24, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher,
    I have E2 level 1000 on oral and vaginal estrace; total of 10mg daily. Is this too high or what are your thoughts? My RE is confident this is good news. What will you recommend as a decent dose of IM progesterone? My level right now is 0.4.
    Thank you for your time.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    Luteal support with P4 commences with 50 mg IM on the day prior to the egg provider undergoing ER (i.e., P4-Day 1). On day P4-Day 2, the progesterone dosage is increased to 100mg IM daily (given as a single injection or 50 mg twice daily) and this is continued until the 10th week of pregnancy or until a blood pregnancy test/negative ultrasound discounts a viable pregnancy. Commencing on the day following the ET, the patient inserts one vaginal P4 suppository (100 mg) + 2 mg E2V vaginal suppository is administered daily continuing until the 10th week of pregnancy or until pregnancy is discounted by blood testing or an ultrasound examination after the 6th gestational week. With the obvious exception of the fact that embryo recipients do not receive an hCG injection, luteal phase and early pregnancy hormonal support and immuno-suppression is otherwise the same for conventional IVF patients. Blood pregnancy tests are performed 12 days and 14 days after the first P4 injection was given.

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - February 25, 2018 reply

    Thank you Dr Sher.
    You talked about P4V 100mg; is this in addition to the P4 100mg IM?
    Also I’m currently on E2V 4mg daily, E2 6mg PO.
    Do these all continue on the day after FET or I need to reduce the E2 (currently on 10mg daily; E2V 4mg daily, E2 PO 6mg daily).
    I appreciate your guidance and insight.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018 reply

    I was referring to to vaginal administration in addition to IM.

    It sounds as if you are on a very high dosage of E2V. I usually administer it twice weekly and aim for a blood E2 level
    of 500-100pg/ml.

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - February 26, 2018

    Dr Sher,
    What would constitute immuno-suppression? Is for all patients undergoing FET?
    Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018

    Sorry Blossom…I do not quite get the question. There is no immunosuppression done for all patients doung FET. I prescribe low dose dexamethasone i the hope of immunomodulating the endometrium to try and optimize implantation…but that does NOT constitute immunosuppression.

    G-d bless!

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - February 26, 2018

    Good day Dr Sher,
    Immunomodulation is what I was referring to. How much dexamethasone, for how long and when do you typically start and stop this medication.
    What has been your success rate V pt who do not get this treatment?
    Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 26, 2018

    Start dexamethasome 0.75mg orally with onset of hormonal therapy. Start tailing down at 8 weeks gestation and stopping at the 10th week. If no pregnancy then tail down immediately over 10-14 day period of time.

    All my patients receive this treatment.

    Geoff sher

    Blossom U. - February 26, 2018

    Thank you Dr Sher. This is very interesting to know. My RE made no mention of this. I have actually asked her if there is a possibility the body will read the embryo as foreign and try to reject it, but was told not to worry about it.
    Please Sir, if you don’t mind, would you please share with me how you start this medications and the protocol for tapering off, so I can go discuss with her.
    Thank you Dr Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 27, 2018

    Sorry Blossom,

    I cannot get in the mix here…both for ethical and medicolegal reasons. I would be happy to talk with your Dr. if he/she would like to engage.

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - February 27, 2018

    Thank you so much Dr. Sher.
    I will bring this to her attention and hopefully she will agree to your kind offer.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 27, 2018

    Good luck Blossom!

    Geoff Sher

  • Elizabeth Barnes - February 24, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher,

    Do any of these have a chance?

    Trisomy 9, Monosomy 13
    Complex Mosaic
    Triploid
    Mosaic Trisomy 14, Monosomy X
    Monosomy 18, Monosomy 21

    Thank you for all you do.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    Elizabeth,

    In my opinion …no! But there could be others that would disagree!

    Sorry!

    Geoff Sher

  • Suvi - February 24, 2018 reply

    Dr.Sher, I saw fetal pole this week on Ultrasound measuring 3.1mm but my hcg level did not rise but it went from 3036 to 3075 this week. Last week ultrasound we only saw yolk sac and no fetal pole. We see progression on ultrasound but the Hcg numbers are really whacky. Can you please advice

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    Repeat the beta hCG in 2 days and provided the level ids rising, repeat the US in 1 week!

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

    Suvi - February 25, 2018 reply

    The whacky part is my progesterone went from 10 to 14. My provider says it’s not adding up.. the growth seen in ultra sound the minimal hcg rise and increase in progesterone. I am scared to do another beta test and said will go to ultrasound straight.. can u please advice

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018 reply

    This does not look encouraging, I am afraid…whether you do repeat betas or US. I would however do another beta hCG in a few days to see what is happening sooner.

    Geoff Sher

  • Colleen - February 24, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher
    I started fertility treatments this summer age 40. AMH .86….none of them worked. I responded ok in terms of follicle production. First IVF cycle I did injectables menopur and gonal F…then a Lupron trigger (as I know you don’t agree with) Out of the 24 follicles..they got 15 eggs…12 mature and 9 fertilized..I only wound up with two blasts(one early and one full) graded fair and a MORULA on day five. They were implanted and this resulted in a chemical pregnancy. I read you book and understand it has to do with being older and making weak eggs etc. The second cycle the Dr dialed down the amount of menopur and used HCG trigger etc…same results in terms of eggs 12 retrieved and 6 fertilized by day five only 2 blasts one early and one late..this did not result in any pregnancy. I am about to start my third IVF. I threw in an IUI just for fun as my friend had 6 IUIS and ^ IVF cycles and wound up pregnant on an IUI at age 41. anyway 7 days after the IUI my progesterones is only at 8.6 I will take the supplements but doubt I’m pregnant. basically I would like some input for my next cycle. Doc said at this point he will do an AGONIST cycle using Lupron in the beginning. what is your input? thank you so much . I read your book pretty thoroughly and these protocols for the most part I understand but I don’t understand what it means to start me out with LUPRON as an agonist…thank you
    colleen

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Siti - February 24, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr Sher

    I just completed my FET at my local clinic. I was diagnosed with high NKC and TNF and given humira and intralipid before transfer. I got my bfp this week (hcg betas doubling as expected) and was then given another shot of humira and intralipid treatment 2 days ago. But I woke up this morning with joint pain everywhere. Could this be a sign that i am not reacting well to the humira and possibly affect my pregnancy or is this normal?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    I do not prescribe Humira. I suggest you discuss this with your treating RE.

    Geoff Sher

    Siti - February 24, 2018 reply

    Thank you so much for your response Dr. Sher. Can you tell me why?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    Sorry!

    I cannot recall your original question. Please re-post it with your additional new inquiry and I will respond.

    Geoff Sher

    Siti - February 25, 2018

    Hi Dr. Sher
    I was asking why you do.not use Humira however I found an article on your blog explaining why so I think I understand now. Thanks for your time!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 25, 2018

    You are most welcome Siti!

    Geoff Sher

  • Anne - February 24, 2018 reply

    I am just looking for some advice. I am currently waiting to miscarry at 7 weeks (sac measuring 6+4). This was a pregnancy resulting from ivf with pre genetic screening of the embryos which was normal. For this pregnancy I had interlipids, clexane, aspirin progesterone, inofolic and steroids(20mg).

    We had done a frozen embryo transfer before this and it resulted in a chemical pregnancy.

    Prior to the ivf route I had a stillbirth at 24 weeks due to a placental abruption, followed by two natural pregnancies resulting in the birth of my two healthy girls ., followed by 10 early miscarriages all between 6-8 weeks. (All natural conceptions)

    I have had Chicago bloods done which showed increased nk cells. I have blood clotting screening which showed no abnormalities . The ivf clinic did do test that showed a c4m2 variance for myself and my husband.

    The fertility clinic have now suggested maybe sending slides to America after d and c to do more test to check lining of uterus. I am not keen on having another d and c if it is not necessary .

    Really I’m just looking for advice to see if there is anything realistically I can do as I have one frozen embryo left and feel as if I have exhausted all avenues in Ireland and wondering if you could offer any new advice
    Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    This sounds like it could be an alloimmune (rather than autoimmune) implantation dysfunction. Please read the relevant articles on my blog (see below).

    Autoimmune IID: Here an immunologic reaction is produced by the individual to his/her body’s own cellular components. The most common antibodies that form in such situations are APA and antithyroid antibodies (ATA).
    But it is only when specialized immune cells in the uterine lining, known as cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells, become activated and start to release an excessive/disproportionate amount of TH-1 cytokines that attack the root system of the embryo, that implantation potential is jeopardized. Diagnosis of such activation requires highly specialized blood test for cytokine activity that can only be performed by a handful of reproductive immunology reference laboratories in the United States.
    Alloimmune IID, i.e., where antibodies are formed against antigens derived from another member of the same species, is believed to be a relatively common immunologic cause of recurrent pregnancy loss.
    Autoimmune IID is often genetically transmitted. Thus it should not be surprising to learn that it is more likely to exist in women who have a family (or personal) history of primary autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus (LE), scleroderma or autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease), autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Reactionary (secondary) autoimmunity can occur in conjunction with any medical condition associated with widespread tissue damage. One such gynecologic condition is endometriosis. Since autoimmune IID is usually associated with activated NK and T-cells from the outset, it usually results in such very early destruction of the embryo’s root system that the patient does not even recognize that she is pregnant. Accordingly the condition usually presents as “unexplained infertility” or “unexplained IVF failure” rather than as a miscarriage.

    Alloimmune IID, on the other hand, usually starts off presenting as unexplained miscarriages (often manifesting as RPL). Over time as NK/T cell activation builds and eventually becomes permanently established the patient often goes from RPL to “infertility” due to failed implantation. RPL is more commonly the consequence of alloimmune rather than autoimmune implantation dysfunction.
    However, regardless, of whether miscarriage is due to autoimmune or alloimmune implantation dysfunction the final blow to the pregnancy is the result of activated NK cells and CTL in the uterine lining that damage the developing embryo’s “root system” (trophoblast) so that it can no longer sustain the growing conceptus. This having been said, it is important to note that autoimmune IID is readily amenable to reversal through timely, appropriately administered, selective immunotherapy, and alloimmune IID is not. It is much more difficult to treat successfully, even with the use of immunotherapy. In fact, in some cases the only solution will be to revert to selective immunotherapy plus using donor sperm (provided there is no “match” between the donor’s DQa profile and that of the female recipient) or alternatively to resort to gestational surrogacy
    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management:(Case Report
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; How it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • AKearn - February 23, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher, Thank you very much for being a beacon of logical and enlightening information. I have read nearly every word of your published content and have been empowered to take an active role in my fertility issues through your virtual mentoring. I just turned 39, have DOR and have been labeled a poor responder after 6 IUIs and a failed IVF (traditional antagonist protocol). Fortunately, I discovered you before commencing my second IVF cycle (RE “wants to try” a stop Lupron protocol). My first IVF failed as you described due to premature luteinization. Without an agonist at the end of my last cycle to adequately recruit my antral follicles and suppress LH, we watched 11 follicles on CD2 receive increasingly excessive stimulation without controlling LH(starting at 300IU of GonalF and 150IU of Menopur, ending after 14 days of stimulation at 450IU of GonalF and 225IU of Menopur!!!). On CD9, two days after a dominant follicle was identified, Ganirelix was introduced, as you say “shutting the gate after the horse had left”. 48 hours prior to ER there were 4 follicles over 14mm, but only 3 left at the time of ER, resulting in 2 embryos, both fertilized via ICSI. Unfortunately, having survived the extremes of this cycle, our one poor over stimmed soldier, transferred as day 5 early blastocyst, but failed to make in any further. I am actively negotiating with my RE to incorporate your A/ACP methodology and these questions:

    1) Is 7 days of Lupron 0.25mg/day with a 3 day overlap of BCP sufficient to provide optimal follicle recruitment or should the dosage be 0.5mg/day?

    2) The following study recommends the minimally effective dose of Ganirelix as 0.25mg but you recommend half that dose, would you mind elaborating on your choice?

    https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/13/11/3023/701498?searchresult=1

    Is half the 0.25mg dose acceptable because you recommend it begin starting CD2 and not later as traditional antagonist protocols recommend? Would taking 0.25mg every other day be as effective in your opinion as this study suggests?

    https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/20/11/3192/2913821?searchresult=1

    Thank you!!!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    1) Is 7 days of Lupron 0.25mg/day with a 3 day overlap of BCP sufficient to provide optimal follicle recruitment or should the dosage be 0.5mg/day?

    A: I would use o.5mg Lupron daily

    2) The following study recommends the minimally effective dose of Ganirelix as 0.25mg but you recommend half that dose, would you mind elaborating on your choice?

    A: Based upon several thousand cases…I respectfully disagree. 125mcg is sufficient but 250mcg, while unnecessary probably wont do harm.

    Is half the 0.25mg dose acceptable because you recommend it begin starting CD2 and not later as traditional antagonist protocols recommend? Would taking 0.25mg every other day be as effective in your opinion as this study suggests?

    A: I would stay with a daily dosage

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

    Thank you!!!

  • Nicole - February 23, 2018 reply

    Hello Dr. Sher,
    I am 41 yo with a very low AMH- .4. I am recently married- 12/31/17. We have tried naturally since November. I am supposed to get my period on Sunday (if not Pregnant- we did try). If not pregnant, I will start our first IVF cycle next week. We are planning a Micro Flare protocol starting with BCP. I am very nervous that the results will be very poor. I am told by friends that BCP is absolutely the wrong way to go (too much suppression) and by starting with BCP, our retrieval is sure to be very low. My doctor did mention that some doctors use HGH, but said we would’t be doing that (at least initially). Is HGH used across the country? We are in Texas. Besides being 41 with low AMH, I am very healthy. I take all the right vitamins (including COQ10, no DHEA), eat the right diet, Acupuncture weekly for past 5 weeks and to continue. HSG was normal. I do ovulate. My cycle is short- every 24 days. Should I ask my Doctor about the Antagonist protocol with HGH? I am anxious and needing to trust my d
    doctor, but friends and the internet have me conflicted.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

    Marie - February 24, 2018 reply

    I have emailed you before about what protocol I should be on if poor responder and low Amh, my Doctor wasn’t very receptive to the suggestions you made, do you know anyone in UK practising similarly to you?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 24, 2018 reply

    Sorry Marie,

    Wish I could help!!

    Geoff Sher

    Marie - February 27, 2018

    Does that mean there is no one in UK you have heard using protocols like you suggest for Women like me?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 28, 2018

    I just don’t know!

    Geoff Sher

  • Svetlana - February 23, 2018 reply

    Hi, Dr. Sher. Thank you for all that you do here. I have question about FET. Do you prefer natural FET or medicated?
    Which day after increase LH do you prescribe progesterone? Do you do ET after 4 days progesterone administration or 5 days? Thank you

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    All my FET’s are done in medicated cycles and the transfer is done o day-6 of progesterone.

    Geoff Sher

    Svetlana - February 27, 2018 reply

    Thank you for the reply!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 27, 2018 reply

    You are very welcome Svetlana!

    Geoff Sher

  • Blossom U. - February 23, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr Sher,
    What is a safe level of E2 and progesterone favourable for FET? I see a wide range of values from different resources. Please what are your thoughts on this subject? Thank you.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    High E2 levels of even 2000pg /ml are safe, but a better question is what is advisable and what should target E2 blood levels be. The answer is that it largely depends on the mode of administration. For example , when oral or vaginal estrogen is used levels of 200-300pg/ml are acceptable, while when intramuscular estradiol valerate is 500-1000pg/ml is my target.

    Geoff Sher

    Blossom U. - February 23, 2018 reply

    Thank you for all you do for the families on this forum

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    You are so welcome! I enjoy it.

    Geoff Sher

  • Sarah Green - February 22, 2018 reply

    With the news about AMH and FSH not being predictive of pregnancy rates after all in younger women, how does that affect those #s being indicators of premature ovarian failure?

    Sarah Green - February 22, 2018 reply

    For context, after a time of e2 being 600 at age 36, it plunged down and FSH went to 89, Amh nearly undetectable. AFC of 3. I was diagnosed with POF, unexplained. Is there any way it could be wrong/still fluctuating? I never stopped having periods.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 23, 2018 reply

    If you are still menstruating you are not yet in menopause but clearly you have very diminished ovarian reserve! Repeast the AMH!

    Geoff Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    AMH/basal FSH are simply indicators of ovarian reserve (the # of eggs still remaining in the ovaries), not of egg quality. And obviously the fewer eggs available, the lower the yield of embryos.

    Geoff Sher

  • Katie - February 22, 2018 reply

    Hey Dr. Sher, are you familiar with the research suggesting transferring 2 embryos if one is high quality and one is poorer quality reduces the risk of pregnancy by 27%? It’s summarized here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/05/ivf-pregnancy-less-successful-with-two-embryos-study-finds

    Do you think there is in fact a mechanism in which a poorer quality embryo could hamper the success of another viable embryo? Assuming both are not PGS tested.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    In my opinion that is a fallacy!

    Geoff Sher

    Katie - February 22, 2018 reply

    Thank-you for the reply!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    You are welcome.

    Geoff Sher

  • Cherie - February 22, 2018 reply

    Dr Sher,
    First, I love your webinars. They are extremely informative.
    I’m 42.5 and my husband is 42. I had my first child at 40, and he is a perfect 2 year old little boy now. I got pregnant easily, carried full term with no issues. Due to two block tubes, we turned to IVF. FSH: 7,5 AMH: 1.05
    IVF#1: Antagonist protocol. BCP for 25 days, then 300 Follistim, 159 Menopur daily. After bloodwork/US results, my RE bumped up the Menopur to 300, then eventually to 375. Follistim stayed at 300. Did a few days of ganerelix and trigger with 10,000 HCG. Right before trigger, they only saw 5 measurable follicles and three of them were pretty small (ranging from 9 to 11mm). They asked if we wanted to cancel, but we wanted to move forward. We ended up with 8 eggs retrieved, 7 mature. ICSI. 3 fertilized. None made it to blast.
    Based on your blogs and webinars, it seemed like the extremely high dose of Menopur could have probably hurt my egg quality. We are starting another round of IVF soon.
    What do you suggest? I believe our RE is going to prescribe the same dosage, just shorten the BCP time. I’m not sure what we should do. I don’t want another cycle of no blasts. We plan to do PGS testing and a frozen transfer.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    You have diminished ovarian reserve. This + your age of 42y+, poses a very special challenge: See below…

    The older a woman becomes, the more likely it is that her eggs will be chromosomally/genetically “incompetent” (not have the potential upon being fertilized and transferred, to result in a viable pregnancy). That is why, the likelihood of failure to conceive, miscarrying and of giving birth to a chromosomally defective child (e.g. with Down Syndrome) increases with the woman’s advancing age. In addition, as women age beyond 35Y there is commonly a progressive diminution in the number of eggs left in the ovaries, i.e. diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). So it is that older women as well as those who (regardless of age) have DOR have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production of LH biological activity which can result in excessive LH-induced ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production which in turn can have a deleterious effect on egg/embryo “competency”.
    While it is presently not possible by any means, to reverse the age-related effect on the woman’s “biological clock, certain ovarian stimulation regimes, by promoting excessive LH production (e.g. short agonist/Lupron- “flare” protocols, clomiphene and Letrozole), can make matters worse. Similarly, the amount/dosage of certain fertility drugs that contain LH/hCG (e.g. Menopur) can have a negative effect on the development of the eggs of older women and those who have DOR and should be limited.
    I try to avoid using such protocols/regimes (especially) in older women and those with DOR, favoring instead the use of the agonist/antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP), a modified, long pituitary down-regulation regime, augmented by adding supplementary human growth hormone (HGH). I further recommend that such women be offered access to embryo banking of PGS (next generation gene sequencing/NGS)-selected normal blastocysts, the subsequent selective transfer of which by allowing them to to capitalize on whatever residual ovarian reserve and egg quality might still exist and thereby “make hay while the sun still shines” could significantly enhance the opportunity to achieve a viable pregnancy
    Please visit my new Blog on this very site, http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com, find the “search bar” and type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Ovarian Stimulation for IVF using GnRH Antagonists: Comparing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol.(A/ACP) With the “Conventional” Antagonist Approach
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
    • The “Biological Clock” and how it should Influence the Selection and Design of Ovarian Stimulation Protocols for IVF.
    • A Rational Basis for selecting Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) protocols in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Diagnosing and Treating Infertility due to Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
    • Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
    • The BCP: Does Launching a Cycle of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS). Coming off the BCP Compromise Response?
    • Blastocyst Embryo Transfers Should be the Standard of Care in IVF
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) versus “Fresh” ET: How to Make the Decision
    • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A Rational Approach to Hormonal Preparation and How new Methodology is Impacting IVF.
    • Staggered IVF: An Excellent Option When. Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Reduces IVF Success Rate
    • Embryo Banking/Stockpiling: Slows the “Biological Clock” and offers a Selective Alternative to IVF-Egg Donation.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGS) in IVF: It Should be Used Selectively and NOT be Routine.
    • Preimplantation Genetic Sampling (PGS) Using: Next Generation Gene Sequencing (NGS): Method of Choice.
    • PGS in IVF: Are Some Chromosomally Abnormal Embryos Capable of Resulting in Normal Babies and Being Wrongly Discarded?
    • PGS and Assessment of Egg/Embryo “competency”: How Method, Timing and Methodology Could Affect Reliability
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas:
    • Traveling for IVF from Out of State/Country–
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Preparing for IVF
    • Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
    • IVF Egg Donation: A Comprehensive Overview

    If you are interested in seeking my advice or services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com .

    *FYI
    The 4th edition of my newest book ,”In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Angela - February 22, 2018 reply

    Dr. Sher,

    My doctor found endometriosis in my follicles at retrieval. Have you seen this before?

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    Yes…that is called an endometrioma. Discuss with your RE.

    Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the uterine lining (endometrium) grows not only in the interior of the uterus but in other areas, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the bowel. Endometriosis is a complex condition where, the lack or relative absence of an overt anatomical barrier to fertility often belies the true extent of reproductive problem(s).
    All too often the view is expounded that the severity of endometriosis-related infertility is inevitably directly proportionate to the anatomical severity of the disease itself, thereby implying that endometriosis causes infertility primarily by virtue of creating anatomical barriers to fertilization. This over-simplistic and erroneous view is often used to support the performance of many unnecessary surgeries for the removal of small innocuous endometriotic lesions, on the basis of such “treatment” evoking an improvement in subsequent fertility.
    It is indisputable that even the mildest form of endometriosis can compromise fertility. It is equally true that, mild to moderate endometriosis is by no means a cause of absolute “sterility”.
    Rather, when compared with normally ovulating women of a similar age who do not have endometriosis, women with mild to moderate endometriosis are about four to six times less likely to have a successful pregnancy.
    Endometriosis often goes unnoticed for many years. Such patients are frequently, erroneously labeled as having “unexplained infertility”, until the diagnosis is finally clinched through direct visualization of the lesions at the time of laparoscopy or laparoscopy. Not surprisingly, many patients with so called “unexplained” infertility, if followed for a number of years, will ultimately reveal endometriosis.

    Women who have endometriosis are much more likely to be infertile. There are several reasons for this:

    • First-Ovulation Dysfunction: In about 25 – 30% of cases, endometriosis is associated with ovulation dysfunction. Treatment requires controlled ovarian stimulation (COS). The problem is that the toxic pelvic environment markedly reduces the likelihood that anything other than IVF will enhance pregnancy potential.
    • Second- Toxic Pelvic environment that compromises Fertilization Endometriosis is associated with the presence of toxins in peritoneal secretions while it is tempting to assert that normally ovulating women with mild to moderate endometriosis would have no difficulty in conceiving if their anatomical disease is addressed surgically or that endometriosis-related infertility is confined to cases with more severe anatomical disease…nothing could be further from the truth. The natural conception rate for healthy ovulating women in their early 30’s (who are free of endometriosis) is about 15% per month of trying and 70% per year of actively attempting to conceive. Conversely, the conception rate for women of a comparable age who have mild or moderate pelvic endometriosis (absent or limited anatomical disease) is about 5-6% per month and 40% after 3 years of trying. As sperm and egg(s) travel towards the fallopian tubes they are exposed to these toxins which compromise the fertilization process. In fact it has been estimated that there is a 5-6 fold reduction in fertilization potential because of these toxins which cannot be eradicated. Frankly, it really does not matter whether an attempt is made to remove endometriosis deposits surgically as this will not improve pregnancy potential. The reason is that for every deposit observed, there are numerous others that are in the process of developing and are not visible to the naked eye and whether visible or not, such translucent deposits still produce toxins. This also explains why surgery to remove visible endometriosis deposits, controlled ovarian stimulation with or without intrauterine insemination will usually not improve pregnancy potential. Only IVF, through removing eggs before they are exposed to the toxic pelvic environment, fertilizing them in-vitro and then transferring the embryos to the uterus represents the only way to enhance pregnancy potential.
    • Third-Pelvic adhesions and Scarring: In its most severe form, endometriosis is associated with scarring and adhesions in the pelvis, resulting in damage to, obstruction or fixation of the fallopian tubes to surrounding structures, thereby preventing the union of sperm and eggs.
    • Fourth-Ovarian Endometriomas, Advanced endometriosis is often associated with ovarian cysts (endometriomas/chocolate cysts) that are filled with altered blood and can be large and multiple. When these are sizable (>1cm) they can activate surrounding ovarian connective tissue causing production of excessive male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone and androstenedione. Excessive ovarian androgens can compromise egg development in the affected ovary (ies) resulting in an increased likelihood of numerical chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy) and reduced egg/embryo competency”. In my opinion large ovarian endometriomas need to be removed surgically or rough sclerotherapy before embarking on IVF.
    • Fifth- Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID). Endometriosis, regardless of its severity is associated with immunologic implantation dysfunction linked to activation of uterine natural killer cells (NKa) and cytotoxic uterine lymphocytes (CTL) in about 30 of cases. This is diagnosed by testing the woman’s blood for NKa using the K-562 target cell test or by endometrial biopsy for cytokine analysis, and, for CTL by doing a blood immunophenotype. These NKa attack the invading trophoblast cells (developing “root system” of the embryo/early conceptus) as soon as it tries to gain attachment to the uterine wall. In most cases, this results in death of the embryo even before the pregnancy is diagnosed and sometimes, in a chemical pregnancy or even an early miscarriage. . As such, many women with endometriosis, rather than being infertile, in the strict sense of the word, often actually experience repeated undetected “mini-miscarriages”.

    Advanced Endometriosis: In its most advanced stage, anatomical disfiguration is causally linked to the infertility. In such cases, inspection at laparoscopy or laparoscopy will usually reveal severe pelvic adhesions, scarring and “chocolate cysts”. However, the quality of life of patients with advanced endometriosis is usually so severely compromised by pain and discomfort, that having a baby is often low on the priority list. Accordingly, such patients are usually often more interested in relatively radical medical and surgical treatment options (might preclude a subsequent pregnancy), such as removal of ovaries, fallopian pubis and even the uterus, as a means of alleviating suffering.

    Moderately Severe Endometriosis. These patients have a modest amount of scarring/ adhesions and endometriotic deposits which are usually detected on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder surface and low in the pelvis, behind the uterus. In such cases, the fallopian tubes are usually opened and functional.

    Mild Endometriosis: These patients who at laparoscopy or laparotomy are found to have no significant distortion of pelvic anatomy are often erroneously labeled as having “unexplained” infertility. To hold that the there can only infertility can only be attributed to endometriosis if significant anatomical disease can be identified, is to ignore the fact that, biochemical, hormonal and immunological factors profoundly impact fertility. Failure to recognize this salient fact continues to play havoc with the hopes and dreams of many infertile endometriosis patients.

    TREATMENT:
    The following basic concepts apply to management of endometriosis-related infertility:

    1. Controlled Ovulation stimulation (COS) with/without intrauterine insemination (IUI): Toxins in the peritoneal secretions of women with endometriosis exert a negative effect on fertilization potential regardless of how sperm reaches the fallopian tubes. This helps explain why COS with or without IUI will usually not improve the chances of pregnancy (over no treatment at all) in women with endometriosis. IVF is the only way by which to bypass this problem.
    2. Laparoscopy or Laparotomy Surgery aimed at restoring the anatomical integrity of the fallopian tubes does not counter the negative influence of toxic peritoneal factors that inherently reduce the chances of conception in women with endometriosis four to six fold. Nor does it address the immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID) commonly associated with this condition. Pelvic surgery is relatively contraindicated for the treatment of infertility associated with endometriosis, when the woman is more than 35 years of age. With the pre-menopause approaching, such women do not have the time to waste on such less efficacious alternatives. In contrast, younger women who have time on their side might consider surgery as a viable option. Approximately 30 -40 percent of women under 35 years of age with endometriosis will conceive with in two to three years following corrective pelvic surgery.
    3. Sclerotherapy for ovarian endometriomas (“chocolate” cysts). About 15 years ago I introduced “sclerotherapy”, a relatively non-invasive, safe and effective outpatient method to permanently eliminate endometriomas without surgery being required. Sclerotherapy for ovarian endometriomas involves needle aspiration of the liquid content of the endometriotic cyst, followed by the injection of 5% tetracycline into the cyst cavity. Treatment results in disappearance of the lesion within 6-8 weeks, in more than 75% of cases so treated. Ovarian sclerotherapy can be performed under local anesthesia or under general anesthesia. It has the advantage of being an ambulatory office- based procedure, at low cost, with a low incidence of significant post-procedural pain or complications and the avoidance of the need for laparoscopy or laparotomy
    4. The role of selective immunotherapy More than half of women who have endometriosis harbor antiphospholipid antibodies (APA) that can compromise development of the embryo’s root system (trophoblast). In addition and far more serious, is the fact that in about one third of cases endometriosis, regardless of its severity is associated with NKa and cytotoxic uterine lymphocytes (CTL) which can seriously jeopardize implantation. This immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID) is diagnosed by testing the woman’s blood for APA, for NKa (using the K-562 target cell test or by endometrial biopsy for cytokine activity) and, for CTL (by a blood immunophenotype). Activated NK cells attack the invading trophoblast cells (developing “root system” of the embryo/early conceptus) as soon as it tries to gain attachment to the uterine wall. In most cases, this results in rejection of the embryo even before the pregnancy is diagnosed and sometimes, in a chemical pregnancy or an early miscarriage. . As such, many women with endometriosis, rather than being infertile, in the strict sense of the word, often actually experience repeated undetected “mini-miscarriages”.

    Women who harbor APA’s often experience improved IVF birth rates when heparinoids (Clexane/Lovenox) are administered from the onset of ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins until the 10th week of pregnancy. NKa is treated with a combination of Intralipid (IL) and steroid therapy: Intralipid (IL) is a solution of small lipid droplets suspended in water. When administered intravenously, IL provides essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid.IL is made up of 20% soybean oil/fatty acids (comprising linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid and stearic acid) , 1.2% egg yolk phospholipids (1.2%), glycerin (2.25%) and water (76.5%).IL exerts a modulating effect on certain immune cellular mechanisms largely by down-regulating NKa.

    The therapeutic effect of IL/steroid therapy is likely due to an ability to suppress pro-inflammatory cellular (Type-1) cytokines such as interferon gamma and TNF-alpha. IL/steroids down-regulates NKa within 2-3 weeks of treatment the vast majority of women experiencing immunologic implantation dysfunction. In this regard IL is just as effective as Intravenous Gamma globulin (IVIg) but at a fraction of the cost and with a far lower incidence of side-effects. Its effect lasts for 4-9 weeks when administered in early pregnancy.
    5. The role of IVF: The toxic pelvic environment caused by endometriosis, profoundly reduces natural fertilization potential. As a result normally ovulating infertile women with endometriosis and patent Fallopian tubes are much less likely to conceive naturally, or by using fertility agents alone (with or without intrauterine (IUI) insemination. The only effective way to bypass this adverse pelvic environment is through IVF. I am not suggesting here that all women who have endometriosis require IVF! Rather, I am saying that in cases where the condition is further compromised by an IID associated with NKa and/or for older women(over 35y) who have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) where time is of the essence, it is my opinion that IVF is the treatment of choice.

    I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.DrGeoffreySherIVF.com. Then go to my Blog and access the “search bar”. Type in the titles of any/all of the articles listed below, one by one. “Click” and you will immediately be taken to those you select. Please also take the time to post any questions or comments with the full expectation that I will (as always) respond promptly.
    • The IVF Journey: The importance of “Planning the Trip” Before Taking the Ride”
    • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) for IVF: Selecting the ideal protocol
    • IVF: Factors Affecting Egg/Embryo “competency” during Controlled Ovarian Stimulation(COS)
    • The Fundamental Requirements For Achieving Optimal IVF Success
    • Use of GnRH Antagonists (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) in IVF-Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
    • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF:
    • The Role of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 1-Background
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 2- Making a Diagnosis
    • Immunologic Dysfunction (IID) & Infertility (IID):PART 3-Treatment
    • Thyroid autoantibodies and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction: Importance of Meticulous Evaluation and Strategic Management:(Case Report
    • Intralipid and IVIG therapy: Understanding the Basis for its use in the Treatment of Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID)
    • Intralipid (IL) Administration in IVF: It’s Composition; How it Works; Administration; Side-effects; Reactions and Precautions
    • Natural Killer Cell Activation (NKa) and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction in IVF: The Controversy!
    • Treating Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Patients at Sher-IVF in Las Vegas
    • Should IVF Treatment Cycles be provided uninterrupted or be Conducted in 7-12 Pre-scheduled “Batches” per Year
    • A personalized, stepwise approach to IVF
    • How Many Embryos should be transferred: A Critical Decision in IVF.
    • Endometriosis and Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction (IID) and IVF
    • Endometriosis and Infertility: Why IVF Rather than IUI or Surgery Should be the Treatment of Choice.
    • Endometriosis and Infertility: The Influence of Age and Severity on Treatment Options
    • Early -Endometriosis-related Infertility: Ovulation Induction (with or without Intrauterine Insemination) and Reproductive Surgery Versus IVF
    • Treating Ovarian Endometriomas with Sclerotherapy.
    • Effect of Advanced Endometriosis with Endometriotic cysts (Endometriomas) on IVF Outcome & Treatment Options.
    • Deciding Between Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
    • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Who Needs it & who Does Not: Pro’s &
    • Induction of Ovulation With Clomiphene Citrate: Mode of Action, Indications, Benefits, Limitations and Contraindications for its ue
    • Clomiphene Induction of Ovulation: Its Use and Misuse!

    If you are interested in my advice or medical services, I urge you to contact my concierge, Julie Dahan ASAP to set up a Skype or an in-person consultation with me. You can also contact Julie by phone or via email at 702-533-2691/ Julied@sherivf.com. You can also apply online at http://www.SherIVF.com.
    Also, my book, “In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com or from most bookstores and public libraries.

    Geoffrey Sher MD

  • Blossom U. - February 21, 2018 reply

    Dear Dr Sher,
    Is it true that that the stage of embryos need to correlate with the number of days the mother has been on progesterone, for instance a day 5 blast needs to be transferred to a womb that has been exposed to progesterone for 5 days?
    Also do you recommend monitoring response to estrace by ultrasound alone or is it also important to get serum levels? What are safe levels of E2 and progesterone for a better shot at embryo implantation?
    Thank you.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    Yes…that is by and large correct. And monitoring requires serial ultrasound assessments as well as hormonal testing.

    Geoff Sher

  • Marie - February 21, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher – Quick question. I recently went through my 2nd FET w/ PGS. Only 1 embryo out of 4 survived. Had my beta on the 12th day post transfer (5 day blastocyst). HCG came back real low at 25 and the follow up beta 2 days later was only 40. My dr. doesn’t feel this is ectopic. I’m curious what you think? Also would you recommend staying on meds (progesterone and estrogen) given this news? Thx in advance!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    The hCG level is still compatible with a viable pregnancy. Repeat it in 2 days…it should at least be >50.

    Geoff Sher

    Marie - February 22, 2018 reply

    Ok really appreciate your prompt response. You are truly an amazing doctor.

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    Thank you Marie!

    Geoff Sher

  • LL - February 21, 2018 reply

    Hi Dr. Sher,
    I’ve been reading about the potential issues w/ PGS testing (and success stories/research from transferring “abnormal embryos” as well as “mosaics”). My story: I got pregnant 3 times naturally (twice at age 38 & once at 40) but had miscarriages all 3 times around 6 weeks. I’m about to be 42 and had stopped treatments (IVF/IUIs) when I was 40. I have (9) day 5 blasts on ice (that i thought had been destroyed but are still at the lab). I contacted my lab after reading all these articles regarding PGS flaws. All 9 blasts (from 2 IVF cycles) are “abnormal”, however the 6 from the first cycle were tested with a-CGH so from my understanding that can’t detect “mosaic”. Here are my embryos:
    a-CGH:
    1- Mono 17, Tri 21
    2- Mono 22
    3- Tri 15, Partial Mono 21q21.2-qter
    4- Mono 18, Tri 22
    5 & 6- Complex Abnormals
    2nd IVF (NGS testing):
    7&8- Complex Abnormals
    9- Mono 16, Mosaic Mono 22

    So my question is, would you recommend / is there any hope in transferring embryo #2 (since it only has one issue and maybe was a mosaic?). OR would you send embryo #2 back for retesting with NGS and if it comes back mosaic then transfer? If doing a transfer, would you add embryo #9 since it seems to be the next best option to see if it can self correct?

    Or basically do i not have any hope left? I had given up, but all this research on PGS is making me angry because i never did any transfers with IVF to see if it would work.
    Thanks!

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    I would transfer # 2 without retesting. The3re is a small chance it could ne “mosaic” and autocorrect in the uterus.

    Good luck!

    Geoff sher

    LL - February 22, 2018 reply

    Thanks so much for your quick reply! I will approach my RE about transferring #2 (I’m afraid he won’t be willing to), so then will have to see where to go from there. Thanks again

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher

    Dr. Geoffrey Sher - February 22, 2018 reply

    Good luck!

    Geoff Sher

Alert ! - Dr. Sher will not have access to the internet, and will therefore be out of reach, from June 5 until June 25. Please re-submit this comment after that date. Until then, please explore the Sher IVF website and his Facebook videos archived on his page.

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