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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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20,011 Comments

Danielle Ashley

Hi Dr. Sher,
I’ve had 7 miscarriages total (some tested normal some abnormal) out of 8 pregnancies. Pregnancy 2 was successful somehow. All natural conceptions from ages 35 to 40. Before my last/8th pregnancy we transferred a PGS normal and failed to implant. Pregnancy 8 was a month later naturally whilst diagnosed with multiple immune and clotting problems:
– Nk assay 50:1 – 18.1%
– th1/th2 = 31
– ANA 1:80 positive
– negative LAD
– Compound heterozygous MTHFR
– Heterozygous PAI-1 4g/5g
– borderline A PS
– low but detectable thyroid antibodies

Also AMH is 4.8ng/ml

So… Pregnancy 8 treated with IVIG, LIT, dexamethasone, Lovenox. We got to the heartbeat for the first time since my son but was slower and smaller for dates so we knew something was wrong. But lost it due to trisomy 16 (had it tested – also a male). Lost it at 9w2d.
Got that miscarriage cleared and did another retrieval at 41 yrs old in Sept. 9 blasts were tested and 3 PGS. Before transfer we started Lovenox, dexamethasone, did IVIG a week before transfer and transferred one PGS normal with a mitoscore of 22 in January and it failed to implant. Even with the treatments. Yet last summer our trisomy 16 got all the way to heartbeat and measured 8w2d (miscarried at 9w2d). We did not get DQ alpha tested but would this be a partial match scenario and both PGS normals that failed to implant be matches? We also tried a natural transfer this time as I conceive so easily on my own. Or just bad luck that 2 PGS normals did not implant? Or maybe my body just does not like IVF? 🙂 I am tempted to go back to naturally conceiving as at least that way we get implantation and if I got 3 PGS normals in one shot from 9 blasts at 41 I don’t think my egg quality is that bad. Given natural ovulation usually selects the healthiest egg that month as dominant follicle. I won’t do IVIG again but will do intralipidS as the cost is getting astronomical (all out of pocket as I’m in canada). We have 2 more frozen and not sure what to do. My local RE is baffled and wants to do an ERA to see if we are transferring at the wrong time. Guess that can’t hurt. I have read your pages on implantation dysfunction. Not sure if mine would be allimmune given pregnancy 8 went so far… seemed like immune treatments were working just was trisomy 16 so was doomed anyway. Any other thoughts greatly appreciated!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Clearly you have activation of NK cells, making this very likely an significant immunologic implantation dysfunction. In my opinion, this could well be an alloimmune dysfunction linked to a DQa/HLA partial or (hopefully not) a total/complete match. This needs to be assessed.

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) Why did my IVF Fail
• Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL): Why do I keep losing my Pregnancies
• Genetically Testing Embryos for IVF
• Staggered IVF
• Staggered IVF with PGS- Selection of “Competent” Embryos Greatly Enhances the Utility & Efficiency of IVF.
• 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.
• IVF: Selecting the Best Quality Embryos to Transfer
• 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?
• 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!
• 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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Danielle Ashley

Thank you so much for your response! Very helpful to know it sounds like the treatment we did for me was warranted (baby aspirintarted CD2, Lovenox, and 1mg dexamethasone both started on CD 5, and IVIG administered 8 days before PGS (NGS) transfer. I only notes the abnormal results as an extensive panel was done through ReproSource lab. My nk assay native killing state 50:1 was 15% the first time and 18% the second time. However after LIT my TH1/TH2 cytokines went down from 31 to 25. So it sounds like we did everything we could but it just didn’t work. It was also a day 7 PGS normal blast but it had the best mitoscore so we went with that one. My remaing two PGS normals are day 6. Perhaps will have better luck with those and I will repeat the same treatment we did as sounds like you would have done a similar protocol.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

As long as yours is not an alloimmune implantation dysfunction you should be OK!

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) Why did my IVF Fail
• Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL): Why do I keep losing my Pregnancies
• Genetically Testing Embryos for IVF
• Staggered IVF
• Staggered IVF with PGS- Selection of “Competent” Embryos Greatly Enhances the Utility & Efficiency of IVF.
• 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.
• IVF: Selecting the Best Quality Embryos to Transfer
• 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?
• 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!
• 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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Kelly

hi dr Sher
i did Antinuclear antibodies(ANA) test and it shows titer 1:80. can titer lower down on its own over several months without medication?

regards,
Kelly

reply
Sofy

Hi Dr. Sher.

I have had level one and two tests done. I have a partial dq alpha match. How should this be treated if at all?

Thank you.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

The implantation process begins six or seven days after fertilization of the egg. At this time, specialized embryonic cells (i.e., the trophoblast), which later becomes the placenta; begin growing into the uterine lining. When the trophoblast and the uterine lining meet, they, along with Immune cells in the lining, become involved in a “cross talk” through mutual exchange of hormone-like substances called cytokines. Because of this complex immunologic interplay, the uterus is able to foster the embryo’s successful growth. Thus, from the very earliest stage of implantation the trophoblast establishes a foundation for the future nutritional, hormonal and respiratory interchange between mother and baby. In this manner, the interactive process of implantation is not only central to survival in early pregnancy but also to the quality of life after birth.

Considering its importance, it is not surprising that failure of proper function of this immunologic interaction during implantation has been implicated as a cause of recurrent miscarriage, late pregnancy fetal loss, IVF failure, and infertility. A partial list of immunologic factors that may be involved in these situations includes anti-phospholipid antibodies (APA), antithyroid antibodies (ATA), and most importantly activation of uterine natural killer cells (NKa). Presently, these immunologic markers in the blood can be only adequately measured by a handful of highly specialized reproductive immunology laboratories in the United States. I personally use Reproductive Immunology Associates in Van Nuys, CA or Reprosource in Boston, MA.

The Central role of Natural Killer cells: After ovulation and during early pregnancy, NK cells comprise more than 70% of the immune cell population of the uterine lining. NK cells produce a variety of local hormones known cytokines. Uncontrolled, excessive release of certain cytokines (i.e. TH-1 cytokines) is highly toxic to the trophoblast (“root system”) of the embryo” leading to their programmed death (apoptosis) and, subsequently to failed or compromised/dysfunctional implantation. In the following situations NK cells become activated, and start to produce an excess of TH-1 cytokines:

• Autoimmune Implantation Dysfunction: This is most commonly seen in association with a personal or family history of autoimmune diseases such as ith conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism endometriosis and Lupus Erythematosus, Scleroderma, Dermatomyositis etc. It is also encountered in one third of women who have endometriosis (regardless of its severity), and in cases of “unexplained infertility” as well as with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
• Alloimmune implantation dysfunction where the male and female partners share specific genetic (DQ-alpha and/or HLA) similarities. This is commonly seen in cases of RPL and in cases of secondary infertility

Activated NK cells (NKa) can be detected through the K-562 target cell blood test and (more recently) through uterine biopsy for TH-1 cytokine activity. Treatment involves selective use of Intralipid (IL) or immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy combined with oral steroids, initiated more 10-14 days prior to embryo transfer and in most cases of alloimmune implantation dysfunction, the transfer of a single blastocyst at a time.

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!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Sophia

Hi Dr. Sher

I do have endometriosis (two chocolate cysts) which my doctors don’t want to operate. However, I will treat it before my transfer in July with Depro-Lupon. They also asked me to do a test (Lupus Antcoagulant Reflex and Antiphospholipid Antibody). Is change much higher I do have those two things because of Endo? Andd most importantly, are those two tests the same as a test for natural killer cells?

I will also have a Sonogram for Polyps. Beside those things, would you recommand other tests (because of Endo) prior to my transfer?

Thanks

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

The endometriomas , in my opinion need to be removed surgically at least 6-8 weeks prior to ET.

No, the tests you are doing are NOT the same as the NK activity test. They lack specificity.

When women with infertility due to endometriosis seek treatment, they are all too often advised to first try ovarian stimulation (ovulation Induction) with intrauterine insemination (IUI) ………as if to say that this would be just as likely to result in a baby as would in vitro fertilization (IVF). Nothing could be further from reality It is time to set the record straight. And hence this blog!
Bear in mind that the cost of treatment comprises both financial and emotional components and that it is the cost of having a baby rather than cost of a procedure. Then consider the fact that regardless of her age or the severity of the condition, women with infertility due to endometriosis are several fold more likely to have a baby per treatment cycle of IVF than with IUI. It follows that there is a distinct advantage in doing IVF first, rather than as a last resort.
So then, why is it that ovulation induction with or without IUI is routinely offered proposed preferentially to women with mild to moderately severe endometriosis? Could it in part be due to the fact that most practicing doctors do not provide IVF services but are indeed remunerated for ovarian stimulation and IUI services and are thus economically incentivized to offer IUI as a first line approach? Or is because of the often erroneous belief that the use of fertility drugs will in all cases induce the release (ovulation) of multiple eggs at a time and thereby increase the chance of a pregnancy. The truth however is that while normally ovulating women (the majority of women who have mild to moderately severe endometriosis) respond to ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs by forming multiple follicles, they rarely ovulate > 1 (or at most 2) egg at a time. This is because such women usually only develop a single dominant follicle which upon ovulating leaves the others intact. This is the reason why normally ovulating women who undergo ovulation induction usually will not experience improved pregnancy potential, nor will they have a marked increase in multiple pregnancies. Conversely, non-ovulating women (as well as those with dysfunctional ovulation) who undergo ovulation induction, almost always develop multiple large follicles that tend to ovulate in unison. This increases the potential to conceive along with an increased risk multiple pregnancies.
So let me take a stab at explaining why IVF is more successful than IUI or surgical correction in the treatment of endometriosis-related infertility:
1. The toxic pelvic factor: Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. While this process begins early in the reproductive life of a woman, with notable exceptions, it only becomes manifest in the 2ndhalf of her reproductive life. After some time, these deposits bleed and when the blood absorbs it leaves a visible pigment that can be identified upon surgical exposure of the pelvis. Such endometriotic deposits invariably produce and release toxins” into the pelvic secretions that coat the surface of the membrane (the peritoneum) that envelops all abdominal and pelvic organs, including the uterus, tubes and ovaries. These toxins are referred to as “the peritoneal factor”. Following ovulation, the egg(s) must pass from the ovary (ies), through these toxic secretions to reach the sperm lying in wait in the outer part the fallopian tube (s) tube(s) where, the sperm lie in waiting. In the process of going from the ovary(ies) to the Fallopian tube(s) these eggs become exposed to the “peritoneal toxins” which alter s the envelopment of the egg (i.e. zona pellucida) making it much less receptive to being fertilized by sperm. As a consequence, if they are chromosomally normal such eggs are rendered much less likely to be successfully fertilized. Since almost all women with endometriosis have this problem, it is not difficult to understand why they are far less likely to conceive following ovulation (whether natural or induced through ovulation induction). This “toxic peritoneal factor impacts on eggs that are ovulated whether spontaneously (as in natural cycles) or following the use of fertility drugs and serves to explain why the chance of pregnancy is so significantly reduced in normally ovulating women with endometriosis.
2. The Immunologic Factor: About one third of women who have endometriosis will also have an immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID) linked to activation of uterine natural killer cells (NKa). This will require selective immunotherapy with Intralipid infusions, and/or heparinoids (e.g. Clexane/Lovenox) that is much more effectively implemented in combination with IVF.
3. Surgical treatment of mild to moderate endometriosis does not usually improve pregnancy potential:. The reason is that endometriosis can be considered to be a “work in progress”. New lesions are constantly developing. So it is that for every endometriotic seen there are usually many non-pigmented deposits that are in the process of evolving but are not yet visible to the naked eye and such evolving (non-visible) lesions can also release the same “toxins that compromise fertilization. Accordingly, even after surgical removal of all visible lesions the invisible ones continue to release “toxins” and retain the ability to compromise natural fertilization. It also explains why surgery to remove endometriotic deposits in women with mild to moderate endometriosis usually will fail to significantly improve pregnancy generating potential. In contrast, IVF, by removing eggs from the ovaries prior to ovulation, fertilizing these outside of the body and then transferring the resulting embryo(s) to the uterus, bypasses the toxic pelvic environment and is therefore is the treatment of choice in cases of endometriosis-related infertility.
4. Ovarian Endometriomas: Women, who have advanced endometriosis, often have endometriotic ovarian cysts, known as endometriomas. These cysts contain decomposed menstrual blood that looks like melted chocolate…hence the name “chocolate cysts”. These space occupying lesions can activate ovarian connective tissue (stroma or theca) resulting in an overproduction of male hormones (especially testosterone). An excess of ovarian testosterone can severely compromise follicle and egg development in the affected ovary. Thus there are two reasons for treating endometriomas. The first is to alleviate symptoms and the second is to optimize egg and embryo quality. Conventional treatment of endometriomas involves surgical drainage of the cyst contents with subsequent removal of the cyst wall (usually by laparoscopy), increasing the risk of surgical complications. We recently reported on a new, effective and safe outpatient approach to treating endometriomas in women planning to undergo IVF. We termed the treatment ovarian Sclerotherapy. The process involves; needle aspiration of the “chocolate colored liquid content of the endometriotic cyst, followed by the injection of 5% tetracycline hydrochloride into the cyst cavity. Such treatment will, more than 75% of the time result in disappearance of the lesion within 6-8 weeks. Ovarian sclerotherapy can be performed under local anesthesia or under conscious sedation. It is a safe and effective alternative to surgery for definitive treatment of recurrent ovarian endometriomas in a select group of patients planning to undergo IVF

I am not suggesting that all women with infertility-related endometriosis should automatically resort to IVF. Quite to the contrary…. In spite of having reduced fertility potential, many women with mild to moderate endometriosis can and do go on to conceive on their own (without treatment). It is just that the chance of this happening is so is much lower than normal.

IN SUMMARY: For young ovulating women (< 35 years of age ) with endometriosis, who have normal reproductive anatomy and have fertile male partners, expectant treatment is often preferable to IUI or IVF. However, for older women, women who (regardless of their age) have any additional factor (e.g. pelvic adhesions, ovarian endometriomas, male infertility, IID or diminished ovarian reserve-DOR) IVF should be the primary 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 use
• Clomiphene Induction of Ovulation: Its Use and Misuse!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email:
concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Nicola Pentland

I had my Egg collection yesterday, 20 eggs were retrieved but only 2 have been fertilized with ICSI.
I had 10 days of menopur and 6 days of cetrotide, my last cetrotide was Monday and we attempted the trigger shot at 9.15pm Monday ready for Wed morning Egg collection. Unfortunately the trigger went wrong as my husband didn’t take the cap off, after unsuccessfully trying to get hold of another ovitrelle I had another shot of menopur and cetrotide and the trigger was delayed by 24 hours. At this point I would of thought my eggs were too mature. Could this be the reason why we only had 2 out of 20 eggs fertilized?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

It could be that and also perhaps the protocol used for ovarian stimulation.

The potential for a woman’s eggs to undergo orderly development and maturation, while in large part being genetically determined can be profoundly influenced by the woman’s age, her “ovarian reserve” and proximity to menopause. It is also influenced by the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) which by fashioning the intra-ovarian hormonal environment, profoundly impacts egg development and maturation.
After the menarche (age at which menstruation starts) a monthly process of repeatedly processing eggs continues until the menopause, by which time most eggs will have been used up, and ovulation and menstruation cease. When the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries falls below a certain threshold, ovarian function starts to wane over a 5 to10-years. This time period is referred to as the climacteric. With the onset of the climacteric, blood Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and later also Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels begin to rise…. at first slowly and then more rapidly, ultimately culminating in the complete cessation of ovulation and menstruation (i.e. menopause).
One of the early indications that the woman has entered the climacteric and that ovarian reserve is diminishing DOR) , is the detection of a basal blood FSH level above 9.0 MIU/ml and/ or an AMH level og <2.0ng/ml.
Prior to the changes that immediately precede ovulation, virtually all human eggs have 23 pairs (i.e. 46) of chromosomes. Thirty six to forty hours prior to ovulation, a surge occurs in the release of LH by the pituitary gland. One of the main e purposes of this LH surge is to cause the chromosomes in the egg to divide n half (to 23 in number) in order that once fertilized by a mature sperm ends up having 23 chromosomes) the resulting embryo will be back to having 46 chromosomes. A “competent” mature egg is one that has precisely 23 chromosomes, not any more or any less. It is largely the egg, rather than the sperm that determines the chromosomal integrity of the embryo and only an embryo that has a normal component of 46 chromosomes (i.e. euploid) is “competent” to develop into a healthy baby. If for any reason the final number of chromosomes in the egg is less or more than 23 (aneuploid), it will be incapable of propagating a euploid, “competent” embryo. Thus egg/embryo aneuploidy (“incompetence”) is the leading cause of human reproductive dysfunction which can manifest as: arrested embryo development and/or failed implantation (which often presents as infertility), early miscarriage or chromosomal birth defects (e.g. Down’s syndrome). While most aneuploid (“incompetent”) embryos often fail to produce a pregnancy, some do. However, most such pregnancies miscarry early on. On relatively rare occasions, depending on the chromosome pair involved, aneuploid embryos can develop into chromosomally defective babies (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
Up until a woman reaches her mid- thirties, at best, 1:2 of her eggs will likely be chromosomally normal. As she ages beyond her mid-thirties there will be a a progressive decline in egg quality such that by age 40 years only about 15%-20% of eggs are euploid and, by the time the woman reaches her mid-forties, less than 10% of her eggs are likely to be chromosomally normal. While most aneuploid embryos do appear to be microscopically abnormal under the light microscope, this is not invariably so. In fact, many aneuploid embryos a have a perfectly normal appearance under the microscope. This is why it is not possible to reliably differentiate between competent and incompetent embryos on the basis of their microscopic appearance (morphologic grade) alone.
The process of natural selection usually precludes most aneuploid embryos from attaching to the uterine lining. Those that do attach usually do so for such only a brief period of time. In such cases the woman often will not even experience a postponement of menstruation. There will be a transient rise in blood hCG levels but in most cases the woman will be unaware of even having conceived (i.e. a “chemical pregnancy”). Alternatively, an aneuploid embryo might attach for a period of a few weeks before being expelled (i.e. a “miscarriage”). Sometimes (fortunately rarely) an aneuploid embryo will develop into a viable baby that is born with a chromosomal birth defect (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
The fact that the incidence of embryo aneuploidy invariably increases with advancing age serves to explain why reproductive failure (“infertility”, miscarriages and birth defects), also increases as women get older.
It is an over-simplification to represent that diminishing ovarian reserve as evidenced by raised FSH blood levels (and other tests) and reduced response to stimulation with fertility drugs is a direct cause of “poor egg/ embryo quality”. This common misconception stems from the fact that poor embryo quality (“incompetence”) often occurs in women who at the same time, because of the advent of the climacteric also have elevated basal blood FSH/LH levels and reduced AMH. But it is not the elevation in FSH or the low AMH that causes embryo “incompetence”. Rather it is the effect of advancing age (the “biological clock”) resulting a progressive increase in the incidence of egg aneuploidy, which is responsible for declining egg quality. Simply stated, as women get older “wear and tear” on their eggs increases the likelihood of egg and thus embryo aneuploidy. It just so happens that the two precipitating factors often go hand in hand.
The importance of the IVF stimulation protocol on egg/embryo quality cannot be overstated. This factor seems often to be overlooked or discounted by those IVF practitioners who use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to ovarian stimulation. My experience is that the use of individualized/customized COS protocols can greatly improve IVF outcome in patients at risk – particularly those with diminished ovarian reserve (“poor responders”) and those who are “high responders” (women with PCOS , those with dysfunctional or absent ovulation, and young women under 25 years of age).
While no one can influence underlying genetics or turn back the clock on a woman’s age, any competent IVF specialist should be able to tailor the protocol for COS to meet the individual needs of the patient.
During the normal ovulation cycle, ovarian hormonal changes are regulated to avoid irregularities in production and interaction that could adversely influence follicle development and egg quality. As an example, small amounts of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) that are produced by the ovarian stroma (the tissue surrounding ovarian follicles) during the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle enhance late follicle development, estrogen production by the granulosa cells (cells that line the inner walls of follicles), and egg maturation.
However, over-production of testosterone can adversely influence the same processes. It follows that protocols for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS should be geared toward optimizing follicle growth and development (without placing the woman at risk from overstimulation), while at the same time avoiding excessive ovarian androgen production. Achievement of such objectives requires a very individualized approach to choosing the protocol for COS with fertility drugs as well as the precise timing of the “trigger shot” of hCG.
It is important to recognize that the pituitary gonadotropins, LH and FSH, while both playing a pivotal role in follicle development, have different primary sites of action in the ovary. The action of FSH is mainly directed towards the cells lining the inside of the follicle that are responsible for estrogen production. LH, on the other hand, acts primarily on the ovarian stroma to produce male hormones/ androgens (e.g. androstenedione and testosterone). A small amount of testosterone is necessary for optimal estrogen production. Over-production of such androgens can have a deleterious effect on granulosa cell activity, follicle growth/development, egg maturation, fertilization potential and subsequent embryo quality. Furthermore, excessive ovarian androgens can also compromise estrogen-induced endometrial growth and development.
In conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by increased blood LH levels, there is also increased ovarian androgen production. It is therefore not surprising that “poor egg/embryo quality” is often a feature of this condition. The use of LH-containing preparations such as Menopur further aggravates this effect. Thus we recommend using FSH-dominant products such as Follistim, Puregon, and Gonal-F in such cases. While it would seem prudent to limit LH exposure in all cases of COS, this appears to be more vital in older women, who tend to be more sensitive to LH
It is common practice to administer gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) agonists such as Lupron, and, GnRH-antagonists such as Ganirelix and Orgalutron to prevent the release of LH during COS. GnRH agonists exert their LH-lowering effect over a number of days. They act by causing an initial outpouring followed by a depletion of pituitary gonadotropins. This results in the LH level falling to low concentrations, within 4-7 days, thereby establishing a relatively “LH-free environment”. GnRH Antagonists, on the other hand, act very rapidly (within a few hours) to block pituitary LH release, so as achieve the same effect.
Long Agonist (Lupron/Buserelin) Protocols: The most commonly prescribed protocol for Lupron/gonadotropin administration is the so-called “long protocol”. Here, Lupron is given, starting a week or so prior to menstruation. This results in an initial rise in FSH and LH level, which is rapidly followed by a precipitous fall to near zero. It is followed by uterine withdrawal bleeding (menstruation), whereupon gonadotropin treatment is initiated while daily Lupron injections continue, to ensure a “low LH” environment. A modification to the long protocol which I prefer using in cases of DOR, is the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol (A/ACP) where, upon the onset of a Lupron-induced bleed , this agonist is supplanted by an antagonist (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) and this is continued until the hCG trigger. In many such cases I supplement with human growth hormone (HGH) to try and further enhance response and egg development.
Lupron Flare/Micro-Flare Protocol: Another approach to COS is by way of so-called “(micro) flare protocols”. This involves initiating gonadotropin therapy simultaneous with the administration of GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin). The intent here is to deliberately allow Lupron to elicit an initial surge (“flare”) in pituitary FSH release in order to augment FSH administration by increased FSH production. Unfortunately, this “spring board effect” represents “a double edged sword” because while it indeed increases the release of FSH, it at the same time causes a surge in LH release. The latter can evoke excessive ovarian stromal androgen production which could potentially compromise egg quality, especially in older women and women with PCOS, whose ovaries have increased sensitivity to LH. I am of the opinion that by evoking an exaggerated ovarian androgen response, such “(micro) flare protocols” can harm egg/embryo quality and reduce IVF success rates, especially in older women, and in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Accordingly, I do not prescribe them at all.
Estrogen Priming – My approach for “Poor Responders” Our patients who have demonstrated reduced ovarian response to COS as well as those who by way of significantly raised FSH blood levels are likely to be “poor responders”, are treated using a “modified” long protocol. The approach involves the initial administration of GnRH agonist for a number of days to cause pituitary down-regulation. Upon menstruation and confirmation by ultrasound and measurement of blood estradiol levels that adequate ovarian suppression has been achieved, the dosage of GnRH agonist is drastically lowered and the woman is given twice-weekly injections of estradiol for a period of 8. COS is thereupon initiated using a relatively high dosage of FSH-(Follistim, Bravelle, Puregon or Gonal F) which is continued along with daily administration of GnRH agonist until the “hCG trigger.” By this approach we have been able to significantly improve ovarian response to gonadotropins in many of hitherto “resistant patients”.
The “Trigger”: hCG (Profasi/Pregnyl/Novarel) versus Lupron: With ovulation induction using fertility drugs, the administration of 10,000U hCGu (the hCG “trigger”) mimics the LH surge, sending the eggs (which up to that point are immature (M1) and have 46 chromosomes) into maturational division (meiosis) This process is designed to halve the chromosome number , resulting in mature eggs (M2) that will have 23 chromosomes rather that the 46 chromosomes it had prior to the “trigger”. Such a chromosomally normal, M2 egg, upon being fertilized by mature sperm (that following maturational division also has 23 chromosomes) will hopefully propagate embryos that have 46 chromosomes and will be “:competent” to propagate viable pregnancies. The key is to trigger with no less than 10,000U of hCGu (Profasi/Novarel/Pregnyl) and if hCGr (Ovidrel) is used, to make sure that 500mcg (rather than 250mcg) is administered. In my opinion, any lesser dosage will reduce the efficiency of meiosis, and increase the risk of the eggs being chromosomally abnormal. . I also do not use the agonist (Lupron) “trigger”. This approach which is often recommended for women at risk of overstimulation, is intended to reduce the risk of OHSS. The reason for using the Lupron trigger is that by inducing a surge in the release of LH by the pituitary gland it reduces the risk of OHSS. This is true, but this comes at the expense of egg quality because the extent of the induced LH surge varies and if too little LH is released, meiosis can be compromised, thereby increasing the percentage of chromosomally abnormal and of immature (M1) eggs. The use of “coasting” in such cases) can obviate this effect
.I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.SherIVF.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
• 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 “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)
• Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
• Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
• Optimizing Response to Ovarian Stimulation in Women with Compromised Ovarian Response to Ovarian Stimulation: A Personal Approach.
• Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
• Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
• 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?
• Staggered IVF
• Staggered IVF with PGS- Selection of “Competent” Embryos Greatly Enhances the Utility & Efficiency of 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.
• IVF: Selecting the Best Quality Embryos to Transfer
• 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
• IVF outcome: How Does Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Affect Egg/Embryo “Competency” and How Should the Problem be addressed.
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Simon

Hi Dr Sher,

My partner and I have been refered for IVF some months ago now. About 18 months ago she had her first operation to removed 2 very, very large cysts on her left ovary. This meant the ovary was now less than half the original size. After a bit of time she was told that the ovary wasn’t producing anything so was redundant. This wasn’t a put off as she had her other ovary we though was in great health. After more back and forth and no trying she had numerous ultrasounds and CT scans. After a bit of time we was told the right tube was blocked. Another operation later she had her right tube remvoed and whilst they were operating they said the scar tissue had damaged the left tube as well so this was disconnected. Another unfortinate thing they found was she had a unicorn uterous. The other half was basically nothing and never attahced and was as good as dead. Then to finally top it off she was told she had endometriosis which was burnt away during the op but was likely to come back. Obviously all this news was quite distressing for us both. But we was fast tracked as IVF was our only way to concieve. We went to our final nurses appointment where she was due to get her injections, upon the scan they noticed around 4/5 cysts on her right ovaray (the only one we are able to get eggs from) which obiously pushed things back. They asked to wait to rescan on her next cycle and outcome was the same. She was then asked to take the contriceptive pill for 3 weeks and come back, 3 had fallen in on themselves but anotehr had appeared. She has now been asked to take the pill for a further 2 months but is in constant agony and pain. We are both worried sick and we have been pushed back and back month after month due to these cysts. I was wondering if anyone had come across something similar and they had a sucesfull IVF cycle? Or what can we do if these cysts don’t budge?

Would really appeicate any help or advice.

Thanks

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Hi Simon,

This is obviously bot a complex and vexing issue. The unicornuate uterus is somewhat irrelevant. It is quite possible to carry a healthy pregnancy in a unicornuate uterus. However, this type of congenital defect is associated with kidney or ureteric developmental abnormalities in 20% of cases and this needs to be evaluated separately.

The endometriosis is of concern because in about 1/3 of cases there is an associated immunologic implantation dysfunction linked to activation of uterine natural killer cells. This needs to be evaluated and addressed.

The most concerning is the likely, severely diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and recurrent cyst formation. This may or may not be addressed with success, depending on the severity of the problem. It would be helpful to know her AMH level. If it turns out that her DOR is so severe as to preclude ovarian response to a a robust but individualized protocol for stimulation, then IVF using an egg donor will be required.

Women who (regardless of age) have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production, and/or biological activity, of LH. This can result in excessive ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production. This 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, www. SherIVF.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
• Endometriosis and Infertity
• 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.

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.

Geoff Sher

reply
Morgan

Hello Dr. Sher,
I had two FET (5d) this round (2nd attempt). On 12d5dt my 1st HCG was 260. However, on 15d5dt (2nd HCG) shows 137. I have been asked to wait another 48 hrs to check HCG again. Is it possible one of embryos failed and the other is still growing?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

It is possible and this is why they asked you to repeat the blood test in 2 days.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

reply
Morgan

Hello Dr. Sher,
Unfortunately the 3rd HCG dropped from 137 to 74 and I had a biochemical pregnancy. I started to have bleeding after few days. My doctor (abroad clinic) asked to do Immunological test on day 7-10 of my cycle on biopsy from uterus and check the markers CD56 and CD138.
We have not done the PGS or NGS on the frozen embryos and this failure was my 3rd attempt (2nd attempt with FET) and basically first time pregnancy. I also got donor egg and donor sperm since I am a single woman.
I still feel that I need to ask for NGS on remaining frozen embryos.
What is your recommendations? Do these tests (CD56 and CD138) help?
Is this something that your clinic can do?

Thank you in advance.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

In my opinion , while pregnancies are reported following secondary PGS testing of frozen blastocysts, the thaw-freeze-thaw needed to effect this is too stressful on blastocysts and I do not advocate it.

Also, the immune test results you report here, are not really helpful in my opinion.

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!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Francheska

Hi Dr. Sher,

First of all thanks for putting together such an informative website.

I am a 30 year old healthy woman who has undergone 3 transfers. All of my 8 embryos made it to day 5 with ICIS. The first transfer was a fresh one, the second FET resulted in a blighted ovum, and for the third FET we transferred 2 embryos. We sent the blighted ovum tissues for chromosome testing and it came back normal.

At this stage I am wondering what may be the cause as i just keep on getting told that there is no explanation. Is there some testing I should be asking my doctor for?

Thanks for your input!

Francheska

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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
e. Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) Infection of cervical mucous and the endometrial lining of the uterus, can sometimes present as unexplained early pregnancy loss or unexplained failure following intrauterine insemination or IVF. The infection can also occur in the man, (prostatitis) and thus can go back and forth between partners, with sexual intercourse. This is the reason why both partners must be tested and if positive, should be treated contemporaneously.
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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Frank

Hi Dr Sher

We transferred our 1 and only NON PGS tested hatched blastocyts. She has DOR and we only got 1 embryo, no MFI. at 10dp5dt her beta was 200, 3 days after her beta is now 1,500. is that abnormally high? its quite a big jump from 200 though. also, they did not changed her meds, she is still on estrogen oral pills three times a day and twice a day via vagina and progesterone oil 2ml every night. if her hcg is that high how come there is no adjustment from her meds.

Thank you very much

reply
Miranda

hi dr Sher
Can uterine artery PI normal on its own without medication?
is it safe to take aspirin at beginning of third trimester to prevent pregnancy induced complication such as preeclampsia?

Regard
Miranda

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

1. Can uterine artery PI normal on its own without medication?

A: ? I do not understand!

is it safe to take aspirin at beginning of third trimester to prevent pregnancy induced complication such as pre-eclampsia?

A: In my opinion, it is of no value.

Geoff Sher

reply
Carrr

Is cramping and brown discharge normal on 15dp5dt? 1st beta is 200, waiting on 2nd

Thank you

reply
Brittany M

Hello! I had my egg retrieval on Monday and was planning on freezing all embryos that make to blast and test PGD and PGS.. So we were not planning on doing a fresh transfer. Got my Day 3 report and I have 3-4 cell, 2-6 cell, and 1-8 cell. They are going to continue to watch them. I am not too familiar with Day 3, 4 cell embryos and how they develop over the next few days to Blast. If they don’t make it to blast or growing slowly. Could they transfer them as a fresh transfer? The other concern I have is that my REI put me on Provera to get AF. So taking Provera would not allow me to even do a fresh transfer? I have taken 3 pills. I am just worried that I will lose out on the 4 cell embryos. And wanted to see if they don’t make it to blast or growing slowly, they would not be the ones to transfer anyways?

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Hi Brittany,

In my opinion, embryos that fail to reach blastocyst by no later than 6 days post-fertilization are “incompetent” and unworthy of transfer anyway. So, I would not recommend transferring them at all. There is therefore, in my opinion, no point in transferring embryos that fail to develop to blastocyst, anyway.

Geoff Sher

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Anna Sparks

My Ab NK (CD56/16) was high at 433/uL and my % NK (CD56/16) was high at 22.8%. What does this indicate? Do you suggest treatment?

I have no children, I’ve suffered two chemical miscarriages, and I’m 34-years-old with diminished ovarian reserve as my AMH has varied between .8 and 1.3 this past year. I’ve also undergone two IVF cycles in which the majority of my large follicles were “empty.” I’ve only had two mature eggs retrieved total, and one of those is now a frozen euploid embryo. I’m hesitant to transfer the embryo until I have my recurrent pregnancy loss situation assessed. All other labs including APA, ANA, anti-thyroid, etc. are normal.

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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.SherIVF.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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

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Lisa Taylor

Our doctor will not transfer a euploid and a mosaic at the same time even though we have be counseled and safe embryos selected. Will you transfer a eupliod and a mosaic together? If so can we fly out there and do this? Our transfer date is March 4th.

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Yes I would do so. Call Tina at 800-780-7437 and let her know if you wish to have this done with me in March.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

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Flores

Hi Dr Sher
I am on CD 13 of a frozen embryo transfer and at my scan my lining was 10mm but is not tri-laminar in appearance and appears to be separated at the fondus by a small area of fluid measuring 4.8x6mm. do I need to cancel or is there anything I can try to still be able to go ahead?

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

As long as endometrial thickness is adequate, the absence of a trilaminar appearance is in my opinion not relevant.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

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Sandra

Hi dr Sher
i am currently 24 weeks 4 days pregnant as a result of IVF-ICSI-PGS normal embryo. NT scan was 1.3mm, NIPT is low risk, anatomy scan shows all normal. ANA titer 1:80. however the uterine artery PI(utA- PI) is 1.75 at 24 weeks 4 days ultrasound. my RE said is a bit higher than normal but not a severe problem. i just need to monitor my blood pressure, fetal growth, and blood supply from placenta. what do you think about this? any medication to lower down the PI? will i develop preeclampsia? what should i do to balance it and make it till due date( term delivery at least 38 weeks or so?)

Best Regard
Sandra

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Sandra,

This is a question for your OB. However in my opinion, preventative treatment started now, would probably not affect the risk of later pregnancy-induced complications such as preeclampsia.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

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Alia

Hi Dr Sher,

I was wondering what your thoughts were on poor quality day 5 Blastocysts and whether they should be transferred? By poor quality I’m talking about the CC category or early blastocysts with minimal cells. Is there any chance of pregnancy in your experience?

Thanks!

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Yes I would transfer them unless they were tested by PGS and found to be complex abnormal.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

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Michele

Hi Dr Sher, I’m 32 otherwise healthy, but had a rup appendix when I was 20 causing tubal damage. I have had a bilat salpingectomy. Recently I underwent ivf long Lupron protocol , but had to do a freeze all because my estrogen was greater than 5,000. 16 eggs retrieved. I Do not know any other detils as my doc won’t tell me till day 5-6. Any reason I should be worried about the development of the embryos / eggs? And or should we have used ICSI?

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

That would ndepend on the protocol used for movarian stimulation and its implementation.

The potential for a woman’s eggs to undergo orderly development and maturation, while in large part being genetically determined can be profoundly influenced by the woman’s age, her “ovarian reserve” and proximity to menopause. It is also influenced by the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) which by fashioning the intra-ovarian hormonal environment, profoundly impacts egg development and maturation.
After the menarche (age at which menstruation starts) a monthly process of repeatedly processing eggs continues until the menopause, by which time most eggs will have been used up, and ovulation and menstruation cease. When the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries falls below a certain threshold, ovarian function starts to wane over a 5 to10-years. This time period is referred to as the climacteric. With the onset of the climacteric, blood Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and later also Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels begin to rise…. at first slowly and then more rapidly, ultimately culminating in the complete cessation of ovulation and menstruation (i.e. menopause).
One of the early indications that the woman has entered the climacteric and that ovarian reserve is diminishing DOR) , is the detection of a basal blood FSH level above 9.0 MIU/ml and/ or an AMH level og <2.0ng/ml.
Prior to the changes that immediately precede ovulation, virtually all human eggs have 23 pairs (i.e. 46) of chromosomes. Thirty six to forty hours prior to ovulation, a surge occurs in the release of LH by the pituitary gland. One of the main e purposes of this LH surge is to cause the chromosomes in the egg to divide n half (to 23 in number) in order that once fertilized by a mature sperm ends up having 23 chromosomes) the resulting embryo will be back to having 46 chromosomes. A “competent” mature egg is one that has precisely 23 chromosomes, not any more or any less. It is largely the egg, rather than the sperm that determines the chromosomal integrity of the embryo and only an embryo that has a normal component of 46 chromosomes (i.e. euploid) is “competent” to develop into a healthy baby. If for any reason the final number of chromosomes in the egg is less or more than 23 (aneuploid), it will be incapable of propagating a euploid, “competent” embryo. Thus egg/embryo aneuploidy (“incompetence”) is the leading cause of human reproductive dysfunction which can manifest as: arrested embryo development and/or failed implantation (which often presents as infertility), early miscarriage or chromosomal birth defects (e.g. Down’s syndrome). While most aneuploid (“incompetent”) embryos often fail to produce a pregnancy, some do. However, most such pregnancies miscarry early on. On relatively rare occasions, depending on the chromosome pair involved, aneuploid embryos can develop into chromosomally defective babies (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
Up until a woman reaches her mid- thirties, at best, 1:2 of her eggs will likely be chromosomally normal. As she ages beyond her mid-thirties there will be a a progressive decline in egg quality such that by age 40 years only about 15%-20% of eggs are euploid and, by the time the woman reaches her mid-forties, less than 10% of her eggs are likely to be chromosomally normal. While most aneuploid embryos do appear to be microscopically abnormal under the light microscope, this is not invariably so. In fact, many aneuploid embryos a have a perfectly normal appearance under the microscope. This is why it is not possible to reliably differentiate between competent and incompetent embryos on the basis of their microscopic appearance (morphologic grade) alone.
The process of natural selection usually precludes most aneuploid embryos from attaching to the uterine lining. Those that do attach usually do so for such only a brief period of time. In such cases the woman often will not even experience a postponement of menstruation. There will be a transient rise in blood hCG levels but in most cases the woman will be unaware of even having conceived (i.e. a “chemical pregnancy”). Alternatively, an aneuploid embryo might attach for a period of a few weeks before being expelled (i.e. a “miscarriage”). Sometimes (fortunately rarely) an aneuploid embryo will develop into a viable baby that is born with a chromosomal birth defect (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
The fact that the incidence of embryo aneuploidy invariably increases with advancing age serves to explain why reproductive failure (“infertility”, miscarriages and birth defects), also increases as women get older.
It is an over-simplification to represent that diminishing ovarian reserve as evidenced by raised FSH blood levels (and other tests) and reduced response to stimulation with fertility drugs is a direct cause of “poor egg/ embryo quality”. This common misconception stems from the fact that poor embryo quality (“incompetence”) often occurs in women who at the same time, because of the advent of the climacteric also have elevated basal blood FSH/LH levels and reduced AMH. But it is not the elevation in FSH or the low AMH that causes embryo “incompetence”. Rather it is the effect of advancing age (the “biological clock”) resulting a progressive increase in the incidence of egg aneuploidy, which is responsible for declining egg quality. Simply stated, as women get older “wear and tear” on their eggs increases the likelihood of egg and thus embryo aneuploidy. It just so happens that the two precipitating factors often go hand in hand.
The importance of the IVF stimulation protocol on egg/embryo quality cannot be overstated. This factor seems often to be overlooked or discounted by those IVF practitioners who use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to ovarian stimulation. My experience is that the use of individualized/customized COS protocols can greatly improve IVF outcome in patients at risk – particularly those with diminished ovarian reserve (“poor responders”) and those who are “high responders” (women with PCOS , those with dysfunctional or absent ovulation, and young women under 25 years of age).
While no one can influence underlying genetics or turn back the clock on a woman’s age, any competent IVF specialist should be able to tailor the protocol for COS to meet the individual needs of the patient.
During the normal ovulation cycle, ovarian hormonal changes are regulated to avoid irregularities in production and interaction that could adversely influence follicle development and egg quality. As an example, small amounts of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) that are produced by the ovarian stroma (the tissue surrounding ovarian follicles) during the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle enhance late follicle development, estrogen production by the granulosa cells (cells that line the inner walls of follicles), and egg maturation.
However, over-production of testosterone can adversely influence the same processes. It follows that protocols for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS should be geared toward optimizing follicle growth and development (without placing the woman at risk from overstimulation), while at the same time avoiding excessive ovarian androgen production. Achievement of such objectives requires a very individualized approach to choosing the protocol for COS with fertility drugs as well as the precise timing of the “trigger shot” of hCG.
It is important to recognize that the pituitary gonadotropins, LH and FSH, while both playing a pivotal role in follicle development, have different primary sites of action in the ovary. The action of FSH is mainly directed towards the cells lining the inside of the follicle that are responsible for estrogen production. LH, on the other hand, acts primarily on the ovarian stroma to produce male hormones/ androgens (e.g. androstenedione and testosterone). A small amount of testosterone is necessary for optimal estrogen production. Over-production of such androgens can have a deleterious effect on granulosa cell activity, follicle growth/development, egg maturation, fertilization potential and subsequent embryo quality. Furthermore, excessive ovarian androgens can also compromise estrogen-induced endometrial growth and development.
In conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by increased blood LH levels, there is also increased ovarian androgen production. It is therefore not surprising that “poor egg/embryo quality” is often a feature of this condition. The use of LH-containing preparations such as Menopur further aggravates this effect. Thus we recommend using FSH-dominant products such as Follistim, Puregon, and Gonal-F in such cases. While it would seem prudent to limit LH exposure in all cases of COS, this appears to be more vital in older women, who tend to be more sensitive to LH
It is common practice to administer gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) agonists such as Lupron, and, GnRH-antagonists such as Ganirelix and Orgalutron to prevent the release of LH during COS. GnRH agonists exert their LH-lowering effect over a number of days. They act by causing an initial outpouring followed by a depletion of pituitary gonadotropins. This results in the LH level falling to low concentrations, within 4-7 days, thereby establishing a relatively “LH-free environment”. GnRH Antagonists, on the other hand, act very rapidly (within a few hours) to block pituitary LH release, so as achieve the same effect.
Long Agonist (Lupron/Buserelin) Protocols: The most commonly prescribed protocol for Lupron/gonadotropin administration is the so-called “long protocol”. Here, Lupron is given, starting a week or so prior to menstruation. This results in an initial rise in FSH and LH level, which is rapidly followed by a precipitous fall to near zero. It is followed by uterine withdrawal bleeding (menstruation), whereupon gonadotropin treatment is initiated while daily Lupron injections continue, to ensure a “low LH” environment. A modification to the long protocol which I prefer using in cases of DOR, is the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol (A/ACP) where, upon the onset of a Lupron-induced bleed , this agonist is supplanted by an antagonist (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) and this is continued until the hCG trigger. In many such cases I supplement with human growth hormone (HGH) to try and further enhance response and egg development.
Lupron Flare/Micro-Flare Protocol: Another approach to COS is by way of so-called “(micro) flare protocols”. This involves initiating gonadotropin therapy simultaneous with the administration of GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin). The intent here is to deliberately allow Lupron to elicit an initial surge (“flare”) in pituitary FSH release in order to augment FSH administration by increased FSH production. Unfortunately, this “spring board effect” represents “a double edged sword” because while it indeed increases the release of FSH, it at the same time causes a surge in LH release. The latter can evoke excessive ovarian stromal androgen production which could potentially compromise egg quality, especially in older women and women with PCOS, whose ovaries have increased sensitivity to LH. I am of the opinion that by evoking an exaggerated ovarian androgen response, such “(micro) flare protocols” can harm egg/embryo quality and reduce IVF success rates, especially in older women, and in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Accordingly, I do not prescribe them at all.
Estrogen Priming – My approach for “Poor Responders” Our patients who have demonstrated reduced ovarian response to COS as well as those who by way of significantly raised FSH blood levels are likely to be “poor responders”, are treated using a “modified” long protocol. The approach involves the initial administration of GnRH agonist for a number of days to cause pituitary down-regulation. Upon menstruation and confirmation by ultrasound and measurement of blood estradiol levels that adequate ovarian suppression has been achieved, the dosage of GnRH agonist is drastically lowered and the woman is given twice-weekly injections of estradiol for a period of 8. COS is thereupon initiated using a relatively high dosage of FSH-(Follistim, Bravelle, Puregon or Gonal F) which is continued along with daily administration of GnRH agonist until the “hCG trigger.” By this approach we have been able to significantly improve ovarian response to gonadotropins in many of hitherto “resistant patients”.
The “Trigger”: hCG (Profasi/Pregnyl/Novarel) versus Lupron: With ovulation induction using fertility drugs, the administration of 10,000U hCGu (the hCG “trigger”) mimics the LH surge, sending the eggs (which up to that point are immature (M1) and have 46 chromosomes) into maturational division (meiosis) This process is designed to halve the chromosome number , resulting in mature eggs (M2) that will have 23 chromosomes rather that the 46 chromosomes it had prior to the “trigger”. Such a chromosomally normal, M2 egg, upon being fertilized by mature sperm (that following maturational division also has 23 chromosomes) will hopefully propagate embryos that have 46 chromosomes and will be “:competent” to propagate viable pregnancies. The key is to trigger with no less than 10,000U of hCGu (Profasi/Novarel/Pregnyl) and if hCGr (Ovidrel) is used, to make sure that 500mcg (rather than 250mcg) is administered. In my opinion, any lesser dosage will reduce the efficiency of meiosis, and increase the risk of the eggs being chromosomally abnormal. . I also do not use the agonist (Lupron) “trigger”. This approach which is often recommended for women at risk of overstimulation, is intended to reduce the risk of OHSS. The reason for using the Lupron trigger is that by inducing a surge in the release of LH by the pituitary gland it reduces the risk of OHSS. This is true, but this comes at the expense of egg quality because the extent of the induced LH surge varies and if too little LH is released, meiosis can be compromised, thereby increasing the percentage of chromosomally abnormal and of immature (M1) eggs. The use of “coasting” in such cases) can obviate this effect
.I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.SherIVF.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
• 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 “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)
• Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
• Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
• Optimizing Response to Ovarian Stimulation in Women with Compromised Ovarian Response to Ovarian Stimulation: A Personal Approach.
• Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
• Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
• 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?
• Staggered IVF
• Staggered IVF with PGS- Selection of “Competent” Embryos Greatly Enhances the Utility & Efficiency of 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.
• IVF: Selecting the Best Quality Embryos to Transfer
• 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
• IVF outcome: How Does Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Affect Egg/Embryo “Competency” and How Should the Problem be addressed.
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
krishnapappa

Hello Dr. Sher,
I wanted to thank you for helping out many women such as me. I am a 39 year old women in the middle of an extraction cycle; My E2 was 2857 and I have about 8 good follicles! My doc wants me to trigger with HCG. My E2 values during extraction were 133, 504, 1968, 2857. It almost appears from looking at these values ( from a naive standpoint) that the E2 could go higher? Would it be better to wait for a few more days before triggering? My doc is obviously worried about OHSS

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

The timing of the trigger should be based upon follicle development and blood estradiol. It should not be done prematurely simply to reduce the chance of OHSS. The reason is that if the follicles and their eggs have not developed fully before the hCG trigger, most will turn out to be poor quality eggs, There are better ways to go, in my opinion. See below:

Women like yourself are at risk that ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins will result in the, of development of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a life-endangering condition that is often accompanied by a profound reduction in egg “competency” and on fertilization often yield an inordinately high percentage of “incompetent” embryos which have a reduced potential to propagate viable pregnancies.
Concern that a patient will develop of OHSS often leads the treating RE to take measures aimed at reducing the risk of this life-endangering condition. One such measures is to “trigger” egg maturation prematurely in the hope of arresting further follicular growth and the other, is to initiate the “trigger” with a reduced dosage of hCG (i.ed. 5,000U rather than the usual 10,000U of of Pregnyl/Profasi/Novarel, to use or 250mcg rather than 500mcg of Ovidrel or to supplant the hCG “trigger” with a Lupron “trigger” which causes a prompt LH surge from the woman’s pituitary gland to take place. While such measures do indeed reduce the risk of OHSS to the mother, this often comes at the expense of egg quantity and “competency”. Fewer than the anticipated number of eggs are harvested and those that are retrieved are far more likely to be “immature” and chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid”), or “immature” , thereby significantly compromising IVF outcome.
Against this background, It is my considered opinion that when it comes to performing IVF in women at risk of developing OHSS, the most important consideration must be the selection and proper implementation of an individualized or customized ovarian stimulation protocol. Thereupon, rather than prematurely initiating the “trigger” to arrest further follicle growth, administering a reduced dosage of hCG or “triggering with a GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin) that can compromise egg “competency”….. use of one of the following techniques will often markedly reduce the risk of OHSS while at the same time protecting egg quality:
1. PROLONGED COASTING…my preferred approach: My preferred approach is to use a long pituitary down-regulation protocol coming off the BCP which during the last 3 days is overlapped with the agonist, Lupron/Buserelin/Superfact. The BCP is intended to lower LH and thereby reduce stromal activation (hyperthecosis) in the hope of controlling LH-induced ovarian androgen (predominantly, testosterone) production and release. I then stimulate my PCOS patients using a low dosage of recombinant FSH-(FSHr) such as Follistim/Gonal-F/Puregon. On the 3rd day of such stimulation a smidgeon of LH/hCG (Luveris/Menopur) is added. Thereupon, starting on day 7 of ovarian stimulation, I perform serial blood estradiol (E2) and ultrasound follicle assessments, watching for the number and size of the follicles and the blood estradiol concentration [E2]. I keep stimulating (regardless of the [E2] until 50% of all follicles reach 14mm. At this point, provided the [E2] reaches at least >2,500pg/ml, I stop the agonist as well as gonadotropin stimulation and track the blood E2 concentration daily. The [E2] will almost invariably increase for a few days. I closely monitor the [E2] as it rises, plateaus and then begins to decline. As soon as the [E2] drops below 2500pg/ml (and not before then), I administer a “trigger” shot of 10,000U Profasi/ Novarel/Pregnyl or 500mcg Ovidrel/Ovitrel. This is followed by an egg retrieval, performed 36 hours later. Fertilization is accomplished using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) because “coasted” eggs usually have little or no cumulus oophoris enveloping them and eggs without a cumulus will not readily fertilize naturally. Moreover, they also tend to have a “hardened” envelopment (zona pellucida), making spontaneous fertilization problematic in many cases. All fertilized eggs are cultured to the blastocyst stage (up to day 5- 6 days) and thereupon are either vitrified and preserved for subsequent transfer in later hormone replacement cycles or (up to 2) blastocysts are transferred to the uterus, transvaginally under transabdominal ultrasound guidance. The success of this approach depends on precise timing of the initiation and conclusion of “prolonged coasting”. If started too early, follicle growth will arrest and the cycle will be lost. If commenced too late, too many follicles will be post-mature/cystic (>22mm) and as such will usually harbor abnormal or dysmature eggs. Use of “Coasting” almost always prevents the development of severe OHSS, optimizes egg/embryo quality and avoids unnecessary cycle cancellation. If correctly implemented, the worst you will encounter is moderate OHSS and this too is relatively uncommon.
2. EMBRYO FREEZING AND DEFERMENT OF EMBRYO TRANSFEDR (ET): OHSS is always a self-limiting condition. In the absence of continued exposure to hCG, symptoms and signs as well as the risk of severe complications will ultimately abate. Thus, in the absence of pregnancy, all symptoms, signs and risks associated with OHSS will disappear within about 10-14 days of the hCG trigger. Conversely, since early pregnancy is always accompanied by a rapid and progressive rise in hCG , the severity of OHSS will increase until about the 9th or tenth gestational week whereupon a transition from ovarian to placental hormonal dominance occurs, the severity of OHSS rapidly diminishes and the patient will be out of risk. Accordingly, in cases where in spite of best effort to prevent OHSS, the woman develops symptoms and signs of progressive overstimulation prior to planned ET, all the blastocysts should be vitrified and cryostored for FET in a subsequent hormone replacement cycle. In this way women with OHSS can be spared the risk of the condition spiraling out of control.
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.
· Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
· Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
· 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?
· Taking A Fresh Look at Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), its Presentation, Prevention and Management
· Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
· Understanding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the Need to Customize Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
· “Triggering” Egg Maturation in IVF: Comparing urine-derived hCG, Recombinant DNA-hCG and GnRH-agonist:
· The “Lupron Trigger” to Prevent Severe OHSS: What are the Pro’s and Con’s?
• .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.
• Implications of “Empty Follicle Syndrome and “Premature Luteinization”
• Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
• Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Felicia

I was diagnosed with PCOS ever since I was 18. I am now 31 years old. I was on birth control from then up until we started trying to conceive. After coming of BC, we tried for 6 months with no luck.
We then did the first round with femara 2.5mg once a day for 5 days, but had no luck developing any follicles.
The following try I was given femara twice a day at 2.5mg, this only yielded 1 follicle that matured to about 20mm, we did the HCG trigger shot (10, 000 units) with timed intercourse with no luck.
We then tried a couple of times with 7.5mg of femara ( we knew this could possibly have a higher potential of twins), we had 4 follicles that matured, we used a HCG shot (10,000 units) and timed intercourse. I was told my progesterone was low and given progesterone for bout 10 days….., We did get pregnant this cycle but it ended in a miscarriage in the first 6 weeks.

After this we moved on to IUI Cycles…. with a different RE.
We did the first round with clomid which did not produce any follicles that matured, the RE did not want to redose me. I had to wait for another cycle, which then ended the same way.
I finally was given the clomid and then dosed a second time with 2.5mg of femara, we did have a follicle… so we used ovidrel with IUI, no luck.
There after we did 4 more IUI’s using, 2.5mf of femara twice a day …. one shot of ovirdel and IUI… which did not work.

Do you think that using the ovidrel instead the HCG trigger shot could be the reason that we are having unsuccessful IUI’s?

We are considering going back to the first RE, because she prescribes the HCG shot (10000 units) and trying again.
THE RE we are using now, only uses ovidrel for timed intercourse or IUI. He only uses the HCG shot when doing IVF.

IVF is our nest step but before spending all that money I just need to know the difference between the 2.

thank you for your help

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Ovidrel is fine but a dosage of 500mcg is needed. I personally would recommend gonadotropin (low dose) stimulation with IUI before moving to IVF.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

reply
TK

Is CBD detrimental to fertility if taken by one or both partners prior to or during IVF, primarily for chronic inflammation, sleep disorders and anxiety?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Not enough research done here. So, I really do not know. However, consider the following:

“In a study conducted on mouse embryos, researchers found that the compound THC inhibited the development of the embryos which contained less than eight cells. Another natural cannabinoid found in the human body, anandamide, also stopped the embryos from developing. CBD can increase levels of anandamide, so there may be negative effects associated with CBD use during pregnancy. It is important to note that this was a study conducted on mice and the results may not be transferable to human subjects”.

Geoff Sher

reply
Jennifer

Hi Dr. Sher,
Thank you so much for all you do. I am 41 and have had MULTIPLE miscarriages and chemical pregnancies with history of elevated NK cells. I finally did IVF in 2016 at 38 years old and got 4 euploid embryos (3 grade B and 1 grade C) I consulted with a reproductive immunologist and prior to my FET had LIT, IVIG, lovenox, dexamethasone and baby aspirin. I transferred to grade B embryos, heard two heart beats, but lost one around 8 weeks. Subsequently delivered my son at 37 weeks in 2017. He was IUGR and they had trouble delivering the placenta and hemorrhaged. Fast forward to 1/2019. I was ready to try again and did another FET with One grade B embryo after starting the IVIG, Lovenox, dexamethasone, baby aspirin protocol, (I did not have to repeat LIT, but they did recommend 2 shots of Humira which I did) and ended up with a chemical pregnancy after FET #2. I have one grade C embryo left and to say the least, I am terrified my last embryo transfer won’t work (due to age, grade C , single embryo transfer, etc). I am already planning to give IVF another shot with your clinic in Las Vegas to see if I am lucky enough to get more euploid embryos but know with my age, the numbers are against me. My question is,: Is there some other underlying cause that I may have missed that my recent embryo transfer ended up in a chemical pregnancy? Looking back at my only full term pregnancy with my son, I lost one embryo in utero (euploid), and my son was healthy but IUGR, I had a chemical after FET #2… I am scared to transfer the last one thinking there is an underlying issue or there is something I am missing. Any thoughts? Again, thank you for all you do for women like me who have had so many losses, yet still have hope. I have so much admiration and appreciation for you. I wish you luck in your new endeavor this year too!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I am NOT a believer in the use of Humira and would have favored the use of IVIG or Intralipid/steroid. I would really like to evaluate the immune tests you had done to rule out an alloimmune (rather than an autoimmune cause of immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID). My fear is that yours is an alloimmune IID, but that needs careful evaluation.

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.SherIVF.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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Alisha

Hi Dr Sher,

I love your content and website thank you for being a source of support for all of us struggling with infertility.

I had a question, we have two embryos currently being cultured after our recent IVF cycycle and they are on day 4 and are at the 8 and 7 cell stage, they grew from yesterday but they are slow. They are compacting today as per the embryologist. Tomorrow would be the day 5 transfer, would you suggest waiting them out until day 6 and then freezing or transferring them tomorrow in the state they are in? They may only be in the Morula stage tomorrow. We previously did a day 3 transfer and it was unsuccessful with 2 good quality 8 cell embryos on day 3. My concern is that our clinic will not freeze poor quality blasts, so we may loose out on them if we don’t do the transfer but don’t want to put them in unless we actually have a shot. I would really appreciate your advice. We are so confused and are getting a lot of conflicting information. I’m 32 and endometriosis and an endometrioma on one ovary.

Thank you so much!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I do not believe in transferring embryos that have not reached blastocyst by day 6 post-fertilization. I agree that freezing such embryos is also of no merit. Your endometriosis and the endometrioma is however of concern to me. In my opinion, the endometrioma can compromise egg development and thus “competency in the affected ovary. It should be addressed. I am also concerned that the endometriosis could be associated with a natural killer cell -related immunologic implantation dysfunction.

When women with infertility due to endometriosis seek treatment, they are all too often advised to first try ovarian stimulation (ovulation Induction) with intrauterine insemination (IUI) ………as if to say that this would be just as likely to result in a baby as would in vitro fertilization (IVF). Nothing could be further from reality It is time to set the record straight. And hence this blog!
Bear in mind that the cost of treatment comprises both financial and emotional components and that it is the cost of having a baby rather than cost of a procedure. Then consider the fact that regardless of her age or the severity of the condition, women with infertility due to endometriosis are several fold more likely to have a baby per treatment cycle of IVF than with IUI. It follows that there is a distinct advantage in doing IVF first, rather than as a last resort.
So then, why is it that ovulation induction with or without IUI is routinely offered proposed preferentially to women with mild to moderately severe endometriosis? Could it in part be due to the fact that most practicing doctors do not provide IVF services but are indeed remunerated for ovarian stimulation and IUI services and are thus economically incentivized to offer IUI as a first line approach? Or is because of the often erroneous belief that the use of fertility drugs will in all cases induce the release (ovulation) of multiple eggs at a time and thereby increase the chance of a pregnancy. The truth however is that while normally ovulating women (the majority of women who have mild to moderately severe endometriosis) respond to ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs by forming multiple follicles, they rarely ovulate > 1 (or at most 2) egg at a time. This is because such women usually only develop a single dominant follicle which upon ovulating leaves the others intact. This is the reason why normally ovulating women who undergo ovulation induction usually will not experience improved pregnancy potential, nor will they have a marked increase in multiple pregnancies. Conversely, non-ovulating women (as well as those with dysfunctional ovulation) who undergo ovulation induction, almost always develop multiple large follicles that tend to ovulate in unison. This increases the potential to conceive along with an increased risk multiple pregnancies.
So let me take a stab at explaining why IVF is more successful than IUI or surgical correction in the treatment of endometriosis-related infertility:
1. The toxic pelvic factor: Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. While this process begins early in the reproductive life of a woman, with notable exceptions, it only becomes manifest in the 2ndhalf of her reproductive life. After some time, these deposits bleed and when the blood absorbs it leaves a visible pigment that can be identified upon surgical exposure of the pelvis. Such endometriotic deposits invariably produce and release toxins” into the pelvic secretions that coat the surface of the membrane (the peritoneum) that envelops all abdominal and pelvic organs, including the uterus, tubes and ovaries. These toxins are referred to as “the peritoneal factor”. Following ovulation, the egg(s) must pass from the ovary (ies), through these toxic secretions to reach the sperm lying in wait in the outer part the fallopian tube (s) tube(s) where, the sperm lie in waiting. In the process of going from the ovary(ies) to the Fallopian tube(s) these eggs become exposed to the “peritoneal toxins” which alter s the envelopment of the egg (i.e. zona pellucida) making it much less receptive to being fertilized by sperm. As a consequence, if they are chromosomally normal such eggs are rendered much less likely to be successfully fertilized. Since almost all women with endometriosis have this problem, it is not difficult to understand why they are far less likely to conceive following ovulation (whether natural or induced through ovulation induction). This “toxic peritoneal factor impacts on eggs that are ovulated whether spontaneously (as in natural cycles) or following the use of fertility drugs and serves to explain why the chance of pregnancy is so significantly reduced in normally ovulating women with endometriosis.
2. The Immunologic Factor: About one third of women who have endometriosis will also have an immunologic implantation dysfunction (IID) linked to activation of uterine natural killer cells (NKa). This will require selective immunotherapy with Intralipid infusions, and/or heparinoids (e.g. Clexane/Lovenox) that is much more effectively implemented in combination with IVF.
3. Surgical treatment of mild to moderate endometriosis does not usually improve pregnancy potential:. The reason is that endometriosis can be considered to be a “work in progress”. New lesions are constantly developing. So it is that for every endometriotic seen there are usually many non-pigmented deposits that are in the process of evolving but are not yet visible to the naked eye and such evolving (non-visible) lesions can also release the same “toxins that compromise fertilization. Accordingly, even after surgical removal of all visible lesions the invisible ones continue to release “toxins” and retain the ability to compromise natural fertilization. It also explains why surgery to remove endometriotic deposits in women with mild to moderate endometriosis usually will fail to significantly improve pregnancy generating potential. In contrast, IVF, by removing eggs from the ovaries prior to ovulation, fertilizing these outside of the body and then transferring the resulting embryo(s) to the uterus, bypasses the toxic pelvic environment and is therefore is the treatment of choice in cases of endometriosis-related infertility.
4. Ovarian Endometriomas: Women, who have advanced endometriosis, often have endometriotic ovarian cysts, known as endometriomas. These cysts contain decomposed menstrual blood that looks like melted chocolate…hence the name “chocolate cysts”. These space occupying lesions can activate ovarian connective tissue (stroma or theca) resulting in an overproduction of male hormones (especially testosterone). An excess of ovarian testosterone can severely compromise follicle and egg development in the affected ovary. Thus there are two reasons for treating endometriomas. The first is to alleviate symptoms and the second is to optimize egg and embryo quality. Conventional treatment of endometriomas involves surgical drainage of the cyst contents with subsequent removal of the cyst wall (usually by laparoscopy), increasing the risk of surgical complications. We recently reported on a new, effective and safe outpatient approach to treating endometriomas in women planning to undergo IVF. We termed the treatment ovarian Sclerotherapy. The process involves; needle aspiration of the “chocolate colored liquid content of the endometriotic cyst, followed by the injection of 5% tetracycline hydrochloride into the cyst cavity. Such treatment will, more than 75% of the time result in disappearance of the lesion within 6-8 weeks. Ovarian sclerotherapy can be performed under local anesthesia or under conscious sedation. It is a safe and effective alternative to surgery for definitive treatment of recurrent ovarian endometriomas in a select group of patients planning to undergo IVF

I am not suggesting that all women with infertility-related endometriosis should automatically resort to IVF. Quite to the contrary…. In spite of having reduced fertility potential, many women with mild to moderate endometriosis can and do go on to conceive on their own (without treatment). It is just that the chance of this happening is so is much lower than normal.

IN SUMMARY: For young ovulating women (< 35 years of age ) with endometriosis, who have normal reproductive anatomy and have fertile male partners, expectant treatment is often preferable to IUI or IVF. However, for older women, women who (regardless of their age) have any additional factor (e.g. pelvic adhesions, ovarian endometriomas, male infertility, IID or diminished ovarian reserve-DOR) IVF should be the primary 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 use
• Clomiphene Induction of Ovulation: Its Use and Misuse!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email:
concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Gina

Hi Dr. Sher. I had a successful fresh transfer at age 36 with my own eggs. I had a failed FET at age 38 with my own eggs. I am one week away from transferring 2 frozen donated embryos from a 38 year old and they have not been chromosomally tested. I am 41 years old now. My lining yesterday was a 10. Performing an ERA scratch next week instead of the transfer to narrow down the window of implantation was discussed. Would I really need to do this test since the fresh transfer was successful and I’m using the same implantation window on the transfer next week? If my implantation window was “off” by a few days, then wouldn’t the successful transfer have failed? Or does the “window” vary depending on age. I’m just frustrated and confused.
Also, I read about embryo “glue”. Should I try that with this FET of the 2 embryos? Thanks so much.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Hi Gina,
Very respectfully, I do not believe in the ERA test or the use of embryo glue. I do not think it has value.

Geoff Sher

reply
Gina

Thank you for your opinion of the ERA and embryo glue. I just feel since the transfer was successful in 2013 without either one then next weeks transfer “window of implantation” is not off by enough days to warrant an ERA. And the embryo glue research I’ve read is not convincing yet.
God bless you and your new journey.

reply
Stefanie

Dr. Sher,
I would love to get your thoughts on discontinuing hormone therapy (estrogen and progesterone) after successful FET? Do you suggest 10 weeks or continuing for longer? What are the chances that the placenta does not adequately produce these hormones when discontinuing therapy?

reply
Brynna G.

Hello Dr. Sher!
My current situation is that I have 2 beautiful baby boys that were easily conceived and I carried to term. My husband and I decided to try for another baby about a year ago. We conceived after 2 months but miscarried at 8 weeks. Following that, I’ve had about 4 chemical pregnancies and now, I don’t even think I get pregnant anymore. My situation sounds similar to this case study of yours:

https://haveababy.com/fertility-information/ivf-authority/dear-dr-sher-a-healthy-baby-followed-by-multiple-miscarriages

My only difference is that I’ve carried two babies to term. Is that unusual for someone experiencing IID, especially the alloimmune type? I am seeing an RE this week and was hoping to request the testing found in your case study, but I’m unsure if it is useful in my case.

Any help is appreciated. We just want one more little baby.

Thank you!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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.SherIVF.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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Denise

Hi Dr. Sher,

Best of luck with SFS! Will you continue to answer questions on this blog once you begin that role in March? Will the information / articles that you’ve posted on this site stay available?

Thanks!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

The answer to both questions is YES!

I will be establishing Sher-Fertility Solutions (SFS) in April 2019. SFS will be a venue for providing fertility consultations to the ever growing number of patients from 40 different countries who, with complex fertility problems seek my input. In the past, I have not been able to connect with most of these patients, having had to confine my SKYPE consultations to those who expressed a willingness to travel to Las Vegas for treatment with me. But now with the “birth” of SFS, all this is about to change since upon leaving SIRM, I will as of April no longer be concentrating on the hands-on treatment to patients seeking my services. Instead, (with few exceptions) I will in large part be confining my activities to providing consulting services to as many patients as possible.
Patients will be able to access SFS online, by phone or by email (see http://www.sherIVF.com for details), the subsequent enrollment for a consultation, and the remittance of a $400.00 fee, I will review all forwarded medical record, and follow this with an initial +/-1 hour SKYPE consultation. Thereupon, I will request (and where needed) will help facilitate, additional medical and laboratory testing as may be required. This will be followed by additional SKYPE/phone consultations as might be required to make a comprehensive assessment. I will thereupon generate and forward to the patient, a written report which will also include a recommended plan of action which can be shared with the patient’s treating fertility physician(s) and, upon request by both patient and treating doctor, I will be will be happy to interact and confer with both.
By largely confining my activities to consultation and advice giving, rather than conducting hands-on treatment, I hope to remove any semblance of posing a “threat” to the treating physicians and patients .Instead, It both my objective and commitment to serve as a resource to patients from all over the world who have complex fertility issues and feel that they are spinning their wheels.
I hope soon to compile and post on my website, a list of quality Fertility doctors from key locations all over the United States, and perhaps even from abroad, who I endorse and to whom I would selectively refer SFS patients upon request. However, I would be willing to confer with the fertility physician of any patient subject to patient and physician request to do so.
Ultimately I hope to expand SFS services, nationally through consumer-driven workshops, seminars, Town Hall Meetings and by way of online outreach through webinars and social media. Needless to say, I will perpetuate personal blogging on http://www.SherIVF.com / http://www.Sherfertilitysolutions.com and through my current weekly video live feeds on Face Book (Dr Geoffrey Sher).
For me this is a very exciting venture. Please become part of the SFS family and help spread the word!

Geoff Sher

reply
Ann Johnson

Dr Sher we would really like a chance to expand our family with you before you leave SIRM! We would like it if we could get a discount on a FET or payment plan or anything? If you could help us once again make our and our daughters dreams come true of adding a sibling we would be forever grateful. Thank you

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

If you wish for me to treat you in my last treatment cycle at SIRM-LV in March, you really need to call Tina at 800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691, no later than today or tomorrow and she will get things in motion. Ask her to se4t you up with a follow-up consultation with me immediately t make arrangements.

Thank you.

Geoff Sher

reply
selena

Hi Dr. Sher, I did an immunity test and the CD19 and CD5+ cell count was 65% where normal was 5-10. In addition, my Intracelleluar cytokine ratio was also slightly elevated. We have done IVF now about 5 times with no success and only did the immunity testing before this last time. The clinic mentioned that the results were only borderline and the regimen of pred and clexane was enough. What is your opinion on these elevated results? Do you think intralipid is needed?Noone discussed the relevance of CD19 and CD5 cells in pregnancy and I am a bit at a loss as to what to do.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

If your TH-1 levels are even slightly elevated, it strongly suggests that you might have activation of NK cells and require intralipid/steroid therapy. In my opinion the testing should be expanded.

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!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Cassie

Hi dr sher hope you are well. I have 2 ngs helthy embryos I have one 5aa and one 5cc dos etge grades really matter do they have the same % of implementing thanks

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Probably both of equivalent quality/”competency”.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

reply
Jhansi

Sir iam tubectomised 2years back…in dec 31 2018 had one fet with 2 grade 3 embryos….on day 14 my beta hcg came 21 with negative upt
Day 16 beta hcg came49
Day 18 b hcg came 112
Day 20 b hcg came 228
Day 23 bhcg came 484
Day 27 b hcg came 710
But sir till now gestational sac is not visible any where..my ivf specialist told that it is a pregnancy of unknown location …repeated scan can also find nothing so she adviced me to stop all medicines since 4 days…now my endometial thickness came from 15mm to 9mm yesterday…after stopping all med also i got b hcg value of 710 sir…it increased but it didnt doubled…after 7weeks they could see nothing in my uterus…will i miscarry normally sir or i require methotrexate dose…? Is tubectomy the reason for my PUL or ectopic pregnancy sir? Please suggest can i go for another fresh ivf cycle…iam afraid of this ectopic prenancy as i read that in tubal infertility bacause of pressure changes it sucks back the embryo placed in uterus into the tube..please explain me about this issue sir…iam totally confused..

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

If there is nothing in the uterus and the beta hCG keeps rising, it is likely to be an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and I would discuss taking MTX with your RE.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

Geoff Sher

reply
Whitney Stucki

Although you are not continually doing cycles now. Would you be willing to do a transfer for a previous client?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Yes! But to make my last cycle in Mid March, you would need to call Tina (800-780-7437) tomorrow to book. My last cycle at SIRM is likely to be hectic.

I will be establishing Sher-Fertility Solutions (SFS) in April 2019. SFS will be a venue for providing fertility consultations to the ever growing number of patients from 40 different countries who, with complex fertility problems seek my input. In the past, I have not been able to connect with most of these patients, having had to confine my SKYPE consultations to those who expressed a willingness to travel to Las Vegas for treatment with me. But now with the “birth” of SFS, all this is about to change since upon leaving SIRM, I will as of April no longer be concentrating on the hands-on treatment to patients seeking my services. Instead, (with few exceptions) I will in large part be confining my activities to providing consulting services to as many patients as possible.
Patients will be able to access SFS online, by phone or by email (see http://www.sherIVF.com for details), the subsequent enrollment for a consultation, and the remittance of a $400.00 fee, I will review all forwarded medical record, and follow this with an initial +/-1 hour SKYPE consultation. Thereupon, I will request (and where needed) will help facilitate, additional medical and laboratory testing as may be required. This will be followed by additional SKYPE/phone consultations as might be required to make a comprehensive assessment. I will thereupon generate and forward to the patient, a written report which will also include a recommended plan of action which can be shared with the patient’s treating fertility physician(s) and, upon request by both patient and treating doctor, I will be will be happy to interact and confer with both.
By largely confining my activities to consultation and advice giving, rather than conducting hands-on treatment, I hope to remove any semblance of posing a “threat” to the treating physicians and patients .Instead, It both my objective and commitment to serve as a resource to patients from all over the world who have complex fertility issues and feel that they are spinning their wheels.
I hope soon to compile and post on my website, a list of quality Fertility doctors from key locations all over the United States, and perhaps even from abroad, who I endorse and to whom I would selectively refer SFS patients upon request. However, I would be willing to confer with the fertility physician of any patient subject to patient and physician request to do so.
Ultimately I hope to expand SFS services, nationally through consumer-driven workshops, seminars, Town Hall Meetings and by way of online outreach through webinars and social media. Needless to say, I will perpetuate personal blogging on http://www.SherIVF.com / http://www.Sherfertilitysolutions.com and through my current weekly video live feeds on Face Book (Dr Geoffrey Sher).
For me this is a very exciting venture. Please become part of the SFS family and help spread the word!

Geoff Sher

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Yes! I will likely be continuing doing w cycles after I leave SIRM on a limited basis. BUT it would be at a location other than SIRM-Las Vegas since my tenure is up after the March cycle. The location that I might be performing cycles at will soon be determined. I am weighing up the options at present. As for doing an FET for you ..I would indeed be able to accommodate you in March but to get in to that cycle, you should call Tina tomorrow at 800-780-7437 and schedule both an urgent follow-up consultation with me and put your name down for the March 19th cycle.

I will be establishing Sher-Fertility Solutions (SFS) in April 2019. SFS will be a venue for providing fertility consultations to the ever growing number of patients from 40 different countries who, with complex fertility problems seek my input. In the past, I have not been able to connect with most of these patients, having had to confine my SKYPE consultations to those who expressed a willingness to travel to Las Vegas for treatment with me. But now with the “birth” of SFS, all this is about to change since upon leaving SIRM, I will as of April no longer be concentrating on the hands-on treatment to patients seeking my services. Instead, (with few exceptions) I will in large part be confining my activities to providing consulting services to as many patients as possible.
Patients will be able to access SFS online, by phone or by email (see http://www.sherIVF.com for details), the subsequent enrollment for a consultation, and the remittance of a $400.00 fee, I will review all forwarded medical record, and follow this with an initial +/-1 hour SKYPE consultation. Thereupon, I will request (and where needed) will help facilitate, additional medical and laboratory testing as may be required. This will be followed by additional SKYPE/phone consultations as might be required to make a comprehensive assessment. I will thereupon generate and forward to the patient, a written report which will also include a recommended plan of action which can be shared with the patient’s treating fertility physician(s) and, upon request by both patient and treating doctor, I will be will be happy to interact and confer with both.
By largely confining my activities to consultation and advice giving, rather than conducting hands-on treatment, I hope to remove any semblance of posing a “threat” to the treating physicians and patients .Instead, It both my objective and commitment to serve as a resource to patients from all over the world who have complex fertility issues and feel that they are spinning their wheels.
I hope soon to compile and post on my website, a list of quality Fertility doctors from key locations all over the United States, and perhaps even from abroad, who I endorse and to whom I would selectively refer SFS patients upon request. However, I would be willing to confer with the fertility physician of any patient subject to patient and physician request to do so.
Ultimately I hope to expand SFS services, nationally through consumer-driven workshops, seminars, Town Hall Meetings and by way of online outreach through webinars and social media. Needless to say, I will perpetuate personal blogging on http://www.SherIVF.com / http://www.Sherfertilitysolutions.com and through my current weekly video live feeds on Face Book (Dr Geoffrey Sher).
For me this is a very exciting venture. Please become part of the SFS family and help spread the word!

Geoff Sher

reply
Tara

Any increased chance with 2 chemical pregnancy via iu at age 42?
One in May, then just few days ago also possible one last month no serum labs but Home test positive
Amh 0.11
Fsh 16-18 day 3comes down on own by 5 to 8
Estrogen nml 28-42
Lh day 3 is 7-8
Antral 2-3.
I make one to 2 eggs egg with estrogen 308 for 1 and 604 for 2.
I was able to use Injectables in May and January. Just menopur 150-225 starting day 8.

Do you think it’s reasonable to try another iui given what I have read that 3-6 of them increase odds to 80% but my concern is the old eggs!
If so any other med suggestions ?
What about hcg stim versus using menopur?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

You clearly have an adverse effect on egg “competency + a progressive diminution in ovarian reserve (DOR). With a higher chance of age related egg aneuploidy + fewer eggs available, your chance of IVF success with own eggs is much reduced. Clearly, only IVF with egg donation will combat both these detractors and this clearly is the recommended approach . However, if you wish to try with own eggs then you MUST take in consideration that the protocol used for ovarian stimulation and its implementation is a pivotal decision.

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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

Also, my book, “In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com .

Geoffrey Sher MD

reply
Tara

Hi Dr.Sher I was hoping you could give me your professional advice on my ivf/icsi journey. I have now done 5 rounds of ivf/icsi and I’m feeling very lost at what my next step forward should be. I shall run through my history with you. My husband and I started our ivf journey in nov 2017 in Ireland

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

WE would need to alk Tara!

Women who (regardless of age) have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production, and/or biological activity, of LH. This can result in excessive ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production. This 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, www. SherIVF.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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Harriet Nakibuuka

I am 34yo with low Amh’7.0pmol July/2018. I’ve had 3 failed IVF cycles. 2017,2018 and 2019/24/1. 2 with own follicles and one donor cycle. I ovulate, great estrogen and good endometrium, oh!and supposedly good sperm. I’ve been trying for 7 years. I have been pregnant twice in 2008(aborted), 2010, a son now 9yo. My partner now 53 has 3 girls from a previous relationship. We are both healthy and non obese. My last cycle a few days ago yielded 2 eggs. One premature another fully developed but failed to show any improvement after 24hours- cycle cancelled. The lab said that the follicle wall was too soft whilst injecting- not sure what this meant and is unsure at present what the very likely cause of infertilsation was. All times of ER, only two have been collected and the first 2IVF”s, one was transferred at day 2 and and 4donor eggs at day 3. No success.
Should I give up?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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
e. Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) Infection of cervical mucous and the endometrial lining of the uterus, can sometimes present as unexplained early pregnancy loss or unexplained failure following intrauterine insemination or IVF. The infection can also occur in the man, (prostatitis) and thus can go back and forth between partners, with sexual intercourse. This is the reason why both partners must be tested and if positive, should be treated contemporaneously.
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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher
__________________________________________________________
Addendum:

IVF: FACTORS AFFECTING EGG/EMBRYO “COMPETENCY” DURING CONTROLLED OVARIAN STIMULATION (COS)
Geoffrey Sher MD

The potential for a woman’s eggs to undergo orderly development and maturation, while in large part being genetically determined can be profoundly influenced by the woman’s age, her “ovarian reserve” and proximity to menopause. It is also influenced by the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) which by fashioning the intra-ovarian hormonal environment, profoundly impacts egg development and maturation.
After the menarche (age at which menstruation starts) a monthly process of repeatedly processing eggs continues until the menopause, by which time most eggs will have been used up, and ovulation and menstruation cease. When the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries falls below a certain threshold, ovarian function starts to wane over a 5 to10-years. This time period is referred to as the climacteric. With the onset of the climacteric, blood Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and later also Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels begin to rise…. at first slowly and then more rapidly, ultimately culminating in the complete cessation of ovulation and menstruation (i.e. menopause).

One of the early indications that the woman has entered the climacteric and that ovarian reserve is diminishing DOR) , is the detection of a basal blood FSH level above 9.0 MIU/ml and/ or an AMH level og <2.0ng/ml.
Prior to the changes that immediately precede ovulation, virtually all human eggs have 23 pairs (i.e. 46) of chromosomes. Thirty six to forty hours prior to ovulation, a surge occurs in the release of LH by the pituitary gland. One of the main e purposes of this LH surge is to cause the chromosomes in the egg to divide n half (to 23 in number) in order that once fertilized by a mature sperm ends up having 23 chromosomes) the resulting embryo will be back to having 46 chromosomes. A “competent” mature egg is one that has precisely 23 chromosomes, not any more or any less. It is largely the egg, rather than the sperm that determines the chromosomal integrity of the embryo and only an embryo that has a normal component of 46 chromosomes (i.e. euploid) is “competent” to develop into a healthy baby. If for any reason the final number of chromosomes in the egg is less or more than 23 (aneuploid), it will be incapable of propagating a euploid, “competent” embryo. Thus egg/embryo aneuploidy (“incompetence”) is the leading cause of human reproductive dysfunction which can manifest as: arrested embryo development and/or failed implantation (which often presents as infertility), early miscarriage or chromosomal birth defects (e.g. Down’s syndrome). While most aneuploid (“incompetent”) embryos often fail to produce a pregnancy, some do. However, most such pregnancies miscarry early on. On relatively rare occasions, depending on the chromosome pair involved, aneuploid embryos can develop into chromosomally defective babies (e.g. Down’s syndrome).

Up until a woman reaches her mid- thirties, at best, 1:2 of her eggs will likely be chromosomally normal. As she ages beyond her mid-thirties there will be a a progressive decline in egg quality such that by age 40 years only about 15%-20% of eggs are euploid and, by the time the woman reaches her mid-forties, less than 10% of her eggs are likely to be chromosomally normal. While most aneuploid embryos do appear to be microscopically abnormal under the light microscope, this is not invariably so. In fact, many aneuploid embryos a have a perfectly normal appearance under the microscope. This is why it is not possible to reliably differentiate between competent and incompetent embryos on the basis of their microscopic appearance (morphologic grade) alone.

The process of natural selection usually precludes most aneuploid embryos from attaching to the uterine lining. Those that do attach usually do so for such only a brief period of time. In such cases the woman often will not even experience a postponement of menstruation. There will be a transient rise in blood hCG levels but in most cases the woman will be unaware of even having conceived (i.e. a “chemical pregnancy”). Alternatively, an aneuploid embryo might attach for a period of a few weeks before being expelled (i.e. a “miscarriage”). Sometimes (fortunately rarely) an aneuploid embryo will develop into a viable baby that is born with a chromosomal birth defect (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
The fact that the incidence of embryo aneuploidy invariably increases with advancing age serves to explain why reproductive failure (“infertility”, miscarriages and birth defects), also increases as women get older.

It is an over-simplification to represent that diminishing ovarian reserve as evidenced by raised FSH blood levels (and other tests) and reduced response to stimulation with fertility drugs is a direct cause of “poor egg/ embryo quality”. This common misconception stems from the fact that poor embryo quality (“incompetence”) often occurs in women who at the same time, because of the advent of the climacteric also have elevated basal blood FSH/LH levels and reduced AMH. But it is not the elevation in FSH or the low AMH that causes embryo “incompetence”. Rather it is the effect of advancing age (the “biological clock”) resulting a progressive increase in the incidence of egg aneuploidy, which is responsible for declining egg quality. Simply stated, as women get older “wear and tear” on their eggs increases the likelihood of egg and thus embryo aneuploidy. It just so happens that the two precipitating factors often go hand in hand.

The importance of the IVF stimulation protocol on egg/embryo quality cannot be overstated. This factor seems often to be overlooked or discounted by those IVF practitioners who use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to ovarian stimulation. My experience is that the use of individualized/customized COS protocols can greatly improve IVF outcome in patients at risk – particularly those with diminished ovarian reserve (“poor responders”) and those who are “high responders” (women with PCOS , those with dysfunctional or absent ovulation, and young women under 25 years of age).
While no one can influence underlying genetics or turn back the clock on a woman’s age, any competent IVF specialist should be able to tailor the protocol for COS to meet the individual needs of the patient.
During the normal ovulation cycle, ovarian hormonal changes are regulated to avoid irregularities in production and interaction that could adversely influence follicle development and egg quality. As an example, small amounts of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) that are produced by the ovarian stroma (the tissue surrounding ovarian follicles) during the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle enhance late follicle development, estrogen production by the granulosa cells (cells that line the inner walls of follicles), and egg maturation.
However, over-production of testosterone can adversely influence the same processes. It follows that protocols for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS should be geared toward optimizing follicle growth and development (without placing the woman at risk from overstimulation), while at the same time avoiding excessive ovarian androgen production. Achievement of such objectives requires a very individualized approach to choosing the protocol for COS with fertility drugs as well as the precise timing of the “trigger shot” of hCG.

It is important to recognize that the pituitary gonadotropins, LH and FSH, while both playing a pivotal role in follicle development, have different primary sites of action in the ovary. The action of FSH is mainly directed towards the cells lining the inside of the follicle that are responsible for estrogen production. LH, on the other hand, acts primarily on the ovarian stroma to produce male hormones/ androgens (e.g. androstenedione and testosterone). A small amount of testosterone is necessary for optimal estrogen production. Over-production of such androgens can have a deleterious effect on granulosa cell activity, follicle growth/development, egg maturation, fertilization potential and subsequent embryo quality. Furthermore, excessive ovarian androgens can also compromise estrogen-induced endometrial growth and development.

In conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by increased blood LH levels, there is also increased ovarian androgen production. It is therefore not surprising that “poor egg/embryo quality” is often a feature of this condition. The use of LH-containing preparations such as Menopur further aggravates this effect. Thus we recommend using FSH-dominant products such as Follistim, Puregon, and Gonal-F in such cases. While it would seem prudent to limit LH exposure in all cases of COS, this appears to be more vital in older women, who tend to be more sensitive to LH

It is common practice to administer gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) agonists such as Lupron, and, GnRH-antagonists such as Ganirelix and Orgalutron to prevent the release of LH during COS. GnRH agonists exert their LH-lowering effect over a number of days. They act by causing an initial outpouring followed by a depletion of pituitary gonadotropins. This results in the LH level falling to low concentrations, within 4-7 days, thereby establishing a relatively “LH-free environment”. GnRH Antagonists, on the other hand, act very rapidly (within a few hours) to block pituitary LH release, so as achieve the same effect.

Long Agonist (Lupron/Buserelin) Protocols: The most commonly prescribed protocol for Lupron/gonadotropin administration is the so-called “long protocol”. Here, Lupron is given, starting a week or so prior to menstruation. This results in an initial rise in FSH and LH level, which is rapidly followed by a precipitous fall to near zero. It is followed by uterine withdrawal bleeding (menstruation), whereupon gonadotropin treatment is initiated while daily Lupron injections continue, to ensure a “low LH” environment. A modification to the long protocol which I prefer using in cases of DOR, is the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol (A/ACP) where, upon the onset of a Lupron-induced bleed , this agonist is supplanted by an antagonist (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) and this is continued until the hCG trigger. In many such cases I supplement with human growth hormone (HGH) to try and further enhance response and egg development.

Lupron Flare/Micro-Flare Protocol: Another approach to COS is by way of so-called “(micro) flare protocols”. This involves initiating gonadotropin therapy simultaneous with the administration of GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin). The intent here is to deliberately allow Lupron to elicit an initial surge (“flare”) in pituitary FSH release in order to augment FSH administration by increased FSH production. Unfortunately, this “spring board effect” represents “a double edged sword” because while it indeed increases the release of FSH, it at the same time causes a surge in LH release. The latter can evoke excessive ovarian stromal androgen production which could potentially compromise egg quality, especially in older women and women with PCOS, whose ovaries have increased sensitivity to LH. I am of the opinion that by evoking an exaggerated ovarian androgen response, such “(micro) flare protocols” can harm egg/embryo quality and reduce IVF success rates, especially in older women, and in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Accordingly, I do not prescribe them at all.

Estrogen Priming – My approach for “Poor Responders” Our patients who have demonstrated reduced ovarian response to COS as well as those who by way of significantly raised FSH blood levels are likely to be “poor responders”, are treated using a “modified” long protocol. The approach involves the initial administration of GnRH agonist for a number of days to cause pituitary down-regulation. Upon menstruation and confirmation by ultrasound and measurement of blood estradiol levels that adequate ovarian suppression has been achieved, the dosage of GnRH agonist is drastically lowered and the woman is given twice-weekly injections of estradiol for a period of 8. COS is thereupon initiated using a relatively high dosage of FSH-(Follistim, Bravelle, Puregon or Gonal F) which is continued along with daily administration of GnRH agonist until the “hCG trigger.” By this approach we have been able to significantly improve ovarian response to gonadotropins in many of hitherto “resistant patients”.
The “Trigger”: hCG (Profasi/Pregnyl/Novarel) versus Lupron: With ovulation induction using fertility drugs, the administration of 10,000U hCGu (the hCG “trigger”) mimics the LH surge, sending the eggs (which up to that point are immature (M1) and have 46 chromosomes) into maturational division (meiosis) This process is designed to halve the chromosome number , resulting in mature eggs (M2) that will have 23 chromosomes rather that the 46 chromosomes it had prior to the “trigger”. Such a chromosomally normal, M2 egg, upon being fertilized by mature sperm (that following maturational division also has 23 chromosomes) will hopefully propagate embryos that have 46 chromosomes and will be “:competent” to propagate viable pregnancies. The key is to trigger with no less than 10,000U of hCGu (Profasi/Novarel/Pregnyl) and if hCGr (Ovidrel) is used, to make sure that 500mcg (rather than 250mcg) is administered. In my opinion, any lesser dosage will reduce the efficiency of meiosis, and increase the risk of the eggs being chromosomally abnormal. . I also do not use the agonist (Lupron) “trigger”. This approach which is often recommended for women at risk of overstimulation, is intended to reduce the risk of OHSS. The reason for using the Lupron trigger is that by inducing a surge in the release of LH by the pituitary gland it reduces the risk of OHSS. This is true, but this comes at the expense of egg quality because the extent of the induced LH surge varies and if too little LH is released, meiosis can be compromised, thereby increasing the percentage of chromosomally abnormal and of immature (M1) eggs. The use of “coasting” in such cases (see below) can obviate this effect.

reply
M.F.

Hi Dr. Sher,

I came across your article about IVF for PCOS patients. I have PCOS and just completed my first egg retrieval, with rather disappointing results. From 16 eggs retrieved, 12 were mature, 10 fertilized w/ICSI, and only 2 made it to blastocyst (both 4BB). Both were sent to a PGS lab and I’m awaiting results.

I’m thinking of doing another retrieval and wanted to make sure I get better results this time. Here was my protocol from the first round; I was wondering if you could shed light on how to improve it:

Day 1-Day 3: 225 Menopur
Day 4 & Day 5: 150 Menopur + 150 Gonal-F
Day 6-7: 75 Menopur + 75 Gonal F + Ganarelix
Day 8: Ganarelix only (my E2 levels were too high, 7000+)
Day 9: Lupron trigger
Day 11: Egg retrieval

My doctor said I could’ve gotten more eggs but since my E2 levels were already so high at day 8, I was at risk for OHSS and had to do an early retrieval. I’m only 29 (turning 30 soon) so I really did not expect such poor results from my 16 eggs. I would love to get a second opinion.

Much appreciated,

M.F.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Women like yourself are at risk that ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins will result in the, of development of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a life-endangering condition that is often accompanied by a profound reduction in egg “competency” and on fertilization often yield an inordinately high percentage of “incompetent” embryos which have a reduced potential to propagate viable pregnancies.
Concern that a patient will develop of OHSS often leads the treating RE to take measures aimed at reducing the risk of this life-endangering condition. One such measures is to “trigger” egg maturation prematurely in the hope of arresting further follicular growth and the other, is to initiate the “trigger” with a reduced dosage of hCG (i.ed. 5,000U rather than the usual 10,000U of of Pregnyl/Profasi/Novarel, to use or 250mcg rather than 500mcg of Ovidrel or to supplant the hCG “trigger” with a Lupron “trigger” which causes a prompt LH surge from the woman’s pituitary gland to take place. While such measures do indeed reduce the risk of OHSS to the mother, this often comes at the expense of egg quantity and “competency”. Fewer than the anticipated number of eggs are harvested and those that are retrieved are far more likely to be “immature” and chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid”), or “immature” , thereby significantly compromising IVF outcome.
Against this background, It is my considered opinion that when it comes to performing IVF in women at risk of developing OHSS, the most important consideration must be the selection and proper implementation of an individualized or customized ovarian stimulation protocol. Thereupon, rather than prematurely initiating the “trigger” to arrest further follicle growth, administering a reduced dosage of hCG or “triggering with a GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin) that can compromise egg “competency”….. use of one of the following techniques will often markedly reduce the risk of OHSS while at the same time protecting egg quality:
1. PROLONGED COASTING…my preferred approach: My preferred approach is to use a long pituitary down-regulation protocol coming off the BCP which during the last 3 days is overlapped with the agonist, Lupron/Buserelin/Superfact. The BCP is intended to lower LH and thereby reduce stromal activation (hyperthecosis) in the hope of controlling LH-induced ovarian androgen (predominantly, testosterone) production and release. I then stimulate my PCOS patients using a low dosage of recombinant FSH-(FSHr) such as Follistim/Gonal-F/Puregon. On the 3rd day of such stimulation a smidgeon of LH/hCG (Luveris/Menopur) is added. Thereupon, starting on day 7 of ovarian stimulation, I perform serial blood estradiol (E2) and ultrasound follicle assessments, watching for the number and size of the follicles and the blood estradiol concentration [E2]. I keep stimulating (regardless of the [E2] until 50% of all follicles reach 14mm. At this point, provided the [E2] reaches at least >2,500pg/ml, I stop the agonist as well as gonadotropin stimulation and track the blood E2 concentration daily. The [E2] will almost invariably increase for a few days. I closely monitor the [E2] as it rises, plateaus and then begins to decline. As soon as the [E2] drops below 2500pg/ml (and not before then), I administer a “trigger” shot of 10,000U Profasi/ Novarel/Pregnyl or 500mcg Ovidrel/Ovitrel. This is followed by an egg retrieval, performed 36 hours later. Fertilization is accomplished using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) because “coasted” eggs usually have little or no cumulus oophoris enveloping them and eggs without a cumulus will not readily fertilize naturally. Moreover, they also tend to have a “hardened” envelopment (zona pellucida), making spontaneous fertilization problematic in many cases. All fertilized eggs are cultured to the blastocyst stage (up to day 5- 6 days) and thereupon are either vitrified and preserved for subsequent transfer in later hormone replacement cycles or (up to 2) blastocysts are transferred to the uterus, transvaginally under transabdominal ultrasound guidance. The success of this approach depends on precise timing of the initiation and conclusion of “prolonged coasting”. If started too early, follicle growth will arrest and the cycle will be lost. If commenced too late, too many follicles will be post-mature/cystic (>22mm) and as such will usually harbor abnormal or dysmature eggs. Use of “Coasting” almost always prevents the development of severe OHSS, optimizes egg/embryo quality and avoids unnecessary cycle cancellation. If correctly implemented, the worst you will encounter is moderate OHSS and this too is relatively uncommon.
2. EMBRYO FREEZING AND DEFERMENT OF EMBRYO TRANSFEDR (ET): OHSS is always a self-limiting condition. In the absence of continued exposure to hCG, symptoms and signs as well as the risk of severe complications will ultimately abate. Thus, in the absence of pregnancy, all symptoms, signs and risks associated with OHSS will disappear within about 10-14 days of the hCG trigger. Conversely, since early pregnancy is always accompanied by a rapid and progressive rise in hCG , the severity of OHSS will increase until about the 9th or tenth gestational week whereupon a transition from ovarian to placental hormonal dominance occurs, the severity of OHSS rapidly diminishes and the patient will be out of risk. Accordingly, in cases where in spite of best effort to prevent OHSS, the woman develops symptoms and signs of progressive overstimulation prior to planned ET, all the blastocysts should be vitrified and cryostored for FET in a subsequent hormone replacement cycle. In this way women with OHSS can be spared the risk of the condition spiraling out of control.
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.
· Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
· Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
· 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?
· Taking A Fresh Look at Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), its Presentation, Prevention and Management
· Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
· Understanding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the Need to Customize Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
· “Triggering” Egg Maturation in IVF: Comparing urine-derived hCG, Recombinant DNA-hCG and GnRH-agonist:
· The “Lupron Trigger” to Prevent Severe OHSS: What are the Pro’s and Con’s?
• .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.
• Implications of “Empty Follicle Syndrome and “Premature Luteinization”
• Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
• Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Monica Gardner

Can you go to the dentist and be administered numbing drugs after your IVF egg transfer.

reply
Shiva

Dear Dr. Geoffrey Sher,

I’m a 38 year old woman and my male partner is 36 years and we have undergone 4x IVF treatments (during the years 2015/2016 and 2018). Despite a low AMH 0.29 μg/L we had in total 9 transfers with fresh and frozen good quality embryos/blastocysts. We also had the chance to participate in a study and check two embryos in a PGS-studies in which one was ok and transferred. We have so far had no success with any of the IVF treatments.

At the age 27 dermoid cysts (8-9 cm) one on each side of the ovaries was removed with laparotomy. My partner’s sperm count and motility values are normal. Before IVF treatment a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) was done without any remarks.
My period now is around 21/24 days with 4-5 days of period and ovulate during day 11-12. I have always had issues with PMS and I have the same issues before ovulation. I have from my teenage years until now struggled with acne, especially on my back and some on the face. Being originally from Iran I also suffer from hirsutism. I also take extra multivitamin for women and high dosage of D-vitamin since I have olive-skin and live in Sweden. I’m allergic to lactose, grass pollen, leguminous and fur.
We are both normal weighted, non-smokers, exercising 1-2 time a week, working as engineers and trying to live and eat as healthy as possible.
During the fourth IVF treatment I ate DHEA for 1-2 months (50mg/day) and got additional extra medicine and treatments such as Lutinus, Progynon, Prednisolon, Trombyl, LEI and Intralipid to increase the chances. I also was treated with Letrozole before the last embryo transfer since I wanted to make sure that I had a ovulation so we could get back the two remaining embryos.

I have always got the long agonist protocol for all treatments, high dosage of Menopur up to 450 units/day with and without Elonva 150 units/day. My NK-cell levels where tested as well and they were too high.

My outcome from the 4 IVF’s has so far been:
IVF 1
11 eggs.
8 fertilized.
1x day 2 embryo regained.
2x day 5 blastocyst to the freezer, regained in natural cycles.
IVF2:
8 eggs.
6 fertilized.
1x day 2 embryo regained.
1x day 5 blastocyst and 1x day 6 blastocyst to the freezer, regained in natural cycles.

IVF3
8 eggs.
6 fertilized.
2x day 6 checked with PGS. 1 regained in natural cycle.

IVF4
8 eggs.
6 fertilized.
1x day 5 blastocyst regained.
2x day 5 blastocyst to the freezer, regained both of them in the same natural cycle.

Even if the chances are low to achieve a pregnancy, I’m looking for a options to increase our chances during the little time we got by trying at home, hey why not?! My doctor whom prescribed DHEA thinks I can take the medicine during 4 months since he has good experience with it and patients that achieved pregnancy trying at home. I wanted also to add Letrozole as an option. But then I read your statements regarding women suffering from DOR and that was absolutely not a good option, so now I’m a bit lost and need help before taking any decisions.

Kind regards from Sweden,
S

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I would need much more information in order to advise authoritatively. I believe that central to your problem lies an implantation dysfunction> I also do not believe that using DHEA is helpful…but that is far less important here.

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
e. Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) Infection of cervical mucous and the endometrial lining of the uterus, can sometimes present as unexplained early pregnancy loss or unexplained failure following intrauterine insemination or IVF. The infection can also occur in the man, (prostatitis) and thus can go back and forth between partners, with sexual intercourse. This is the reason why both partners must be tested and if positive, should be treated contemporaneously.
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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
S

Thank you for your reply, but I’m still lost and do not know how to proceed. What type of information would you need in order to give an advice? I have blood test results for various things. I also forgot to mention that my uterine lining has always been normal (more than 8 mm) before any implementation.

reply
barnali

I cant see my wife crying for a baby writing to you for help.
tbpcr with endmoetrial tissue negative
endometriosis,polycystic ovaries.
trying for 6 years
2 iui failure
1 self cycle ivf + one FET failure
1 donor egg cycle FET (ERA guided zoladex given a month before planning the transfer ,ecosprin 75 mg,aquajest 100ml ,progynova ,duphaston) (detected hcg 30 mIU/mL 2 weeks after transfer then droped to 13 mIU/mL after 2 days).

We are unable to diagonise the root cause of the problem. with so many failures we are begining to loose hope.
please suggest what to do.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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
e. Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) Infection of cervical mucous and the endometrial lining of the uterus, can sometimes present as unexplained early pregnancy loss or unexplained failure following intrauterine insemination or IVF. The infection can also occur in the man, (prostatitis) and thus can go back and forth between partners, with sexual intercourse. This is the reason why both partners must be tested and if positive, should be treated contemporaneously.
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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
SM

I am nearly 41 years old. I had a TFMR due to Trisomy 18 last year. I am undergoing IVF with PGS to avoid the same outcome as I terminated at 4 months and it was another 3 months before my period returned. I am doing several cycles to bank embryos as I would like to have more than one child. Since April of last year I have done 5 cycles.
4/2018- no 5 day embryos
6/2018- 6, 5 day Embryos tested, one euploid, one inconclusive
9/2018 – 1, 5 day Embryo tested, aneuploid
11/2018 – 3, 5 day Embryos, one euploid, one inconclusive
1/2019 – no 5 day embryos

prior to this in Sept 2017 there was my first IVF attempt at the age of 39 which resulted in the termination. I have 2 untested embryos frozen from this cycle.

My clinic says I should transfer as I have 2 euploid embryos and they think my ovaries need a break from stimulation. I feel that if I do get pregnant now and it is successful, when I can try again, it will be far more challenging to produce viable embryos than it is now. As I have been producing a euploid embryos atleast every other cycle and I am still responding to the medications, I would like to try a few more cycles. Looking at the statistics I was hoping to bank 3-5 euploid embryos in order to have 2 viable pregnancies. I am aware of the limitations of PGS, but still I do not want to transfer any untested embryos at the moment as if I have a miscarriage or termination, I feel I will lose too much time when I am at the cusp of when fertility drastically declines for women. Is it inadvisable for me to try a few more cycles over the coming months? What would you advise to a patient like me?

My FSH is 9,68mUI/ml; LH 2.76 mUI/mL; prolactin 26,8 ng/ml 562,8 uUI/ml, AMH 1,91 ng/ml 13,64 pmol/L, T4L 12, 30 pg/ml, TSH 1,53 uUI/ml

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I personally, completely agree with your position. At this time with what appears to be normal ovarian reserve, you have the best existing chance to bank more euploid embryos and I would urge to do so before transferring. I also suggest that your ovarian protocol for stimulation be carefully reviewed and possibly revised.

The potential for a woman’s eggs to undergo orderly development and maturation, while in large part being genetically determined can be profoundly influenced by the woman’s age, her “ovarian reserve” and proximity to menopause. It is also influenced by the protocol used for controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) which by fashioning the intra-ovarian hormonal environment, profoundly impacts egg development and maturation.
After the menarche (age at which menstruation starts) a monthly process of repeatedly processing eggs continues until the menopause, by which time most eggs will have been used up, and ovulation and menstruation cease. When the number of eggs remaining in the ovaries falls below a certain threshold, ovarian function starts to wane over a 5 to10-years. This time period is referred to as the climacteric. With the onset of the climacteric, blood Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and later also Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels begin to rise…. at first slowly and then more rapidly, ultimately culminating in the complete cessation of ovulation and menstruation (i.e. menopause).
One of the early indications that the woman has entered the climacteric and that ovarian reserve is diminishing DOR) , is the detection of a basal blood FSH level above 9.0 MIU/ml and/ or an AMH level og <2.0ng/ml.
Prior to the changes that immediately precede ovulation, virtually all human eggs have 23 pairs (i.e. 46) of chromosomes. Thirty six to forty hours prior to ovulation, a surge occurs in the release of LH by the pituitary gland. One of the main e purposes of this LH surge is to cause the chromosomes in the egg to divide n half (to 23 in number) in order that once fertilized by a mature sperm ends up having 23 chromosomes) the resulting embryo will be back to having 46 chromosomes. A “competent” mature egg is one that has precisely 23 chromosomes, not any more or any less. It is largely the egg, rather than the sperm that determines the chromosomal integrity of the embryo and only an embryo that has a normal component of 46 chromosomes (i.e. euploid) is “competent” to develop into a healthy baby. If for any reason the final number of chromosomes in the egg is less or more than 23 (aneuploid), it will be incapable of propagating a euploid, “competent” embryo. Thus egg/embryo aneuploidy (“incompetence”) is the leading cause of human reproductive dysfunction which can manifest as: arrested embryo development and/or failed implantation (which often presents as infertility), early miscarriage or chromosomal birth defects (e.g. Down’s syndrome). While most aneuploid (“incompetent”) embryos often fail to produce a pregnancy, some do. However, most such pregnancies miscarry early on. On relatively rare occasions, depending on the chromosome pair involved, aneuploid embryos can develop into chromosomally defective babies (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
Up until a woman reaches her mid- thirties, at best, 1:2 of her eggs will likely be chromosomally normal. As she ages beyond her mid-thirties there will be a a progressive decline in egg quality such that by age 40 years only about 15%-20% of eggs are euploid and, by the time the woman reaches her mid-forties, less than 10% of her eggs are likely to be chromosomally normal. While most aneuploid embryos do appear to be microscopically abnormal under the light microscope, this is not invariably so. In fact, many aneuploid embryos a have a perfectly normal appearance under the microscope. This is why it is not possible to reliably differentiate between competent and incompetent embryos on the basis of their microscopic appearance (morphologic grade) alone.
The process of natural selection usually precludes most aneuploid embryos from attaching to the uterine lining. Those that do attach usually do so for such only a brief period of time. In such cases the woman often will not even experience a postponement of menstruation. There will be a transient rise in blood hCG levels but in most cases the woman will be unaware of even having conceived (i.e. a “chemical pregnancy”). Alternatively, an aneuploid embryo might attach for a period of a few weeks before being expelled (i.e. a “miscarriage”). Sometimes (fortunately rarely) an aneuploid embryo will develop into a viable baby that is born with a chromosomal birth defect (e.g. Down’s syndrome).
The fact that the incidence of embryo aneuploidy invariably increases with advancing age serves to explain why reproductive failure (“infertility”, miscarriages and birth defects), also increases as women get older.
It is an over-simplification to represent that diminishing ovarian reserve as evidenced by raised FSH blood levels (and other tests) and reduced response to stimulation with fertility drugs is a direct cause of “poor egg/ embryo quality”. This common misconception stems from the fact that poor embryo quality (“incompetence”) often occurs in women who at the same time, because of the advent of the climacteric also have elevated basal blood FSH/LH levels and reduced AMH. But it is not the elevation in FSH or the low AMH that causes embryo “incompetence”. Rather it is the effect of advancing age (the “biological clock”) resulting a progressive increase in the incidence of egg aneuploidy, which is responsible for declining egg quality. Simply stated, as women get older “wear and tear” on their eggs increases the likelihood of egg and thus embryo aneuploidy. It just so happens that the two precipitating factors often go hand in hand.
The importance of the IVF stimulation protocol on egg/embryo quality cannot be overstated. This factor seems often to be overlooked or discounted by those IVF practitioners who use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to ovarian stimulation. My experience is that the use of individualized/customized COS protocols can greatly improve IVF outcome in patients at risk – particularly those with diminished ovarian reserve (“poor responders”) and those who are “high responders” (women with PCOS , those with dysfunctional or absent ovulation, and young women under 25 years of age).
While no one can influence underlying genetics or turn back the clock on a woman’s age, any competent IVF specialist should be able to tailor the protocol for COS to meet the individual needs of the patient.
During the normal ovulation cycle, ovarian hormonal changes are regulated to avoid irregularities in production and interaction that could adversely influence follicle development and egg quality. As an example, small amounts of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) that are produced by the ovarian stroma (the tissue surrounding ovarian follicles) during the pre-ovulatory phase of the cycle enhance late follicle development, estrogen production by the granulosa cells (cells that line the inner walls of follicles), and egg maturation.
However, over-production of testosterone can adversely influence the same processes. It follows that protocols for controlled ovarian stimulation (COS should be geared toward optimizing follicle growth and development (without placing the woman at risk from overstimulation), while at the same time avoiding excessive ovarian androgen production. Achievement of such objectives requires a very individualized approach to choosing the protocol for COS with fertility drugs as well as the precise timing of the “trigger shot” of hCG.
It is important to recognize that the pituitary gonadotropins, LH and FSH, while both playing a pivotal role in follicle development, have different primary sites of action in the ovary. The action of FSH is mainly directed towards the cells lining the inside of the follicle that are responsible for estrogen production. LH, on the other hand, acts primarily on the ovarian stroma to produce male hormones/ androgens (e.g. androstenedione and testosterone). A small amount of testosterone is necessary for optimal estrogen production. Over-production of such androgens can have a deleterious effect on granulosa cell activity, follicle growth/development, egg maturation, fertilization potential and subsequent embryo quality. Furthermore, excessive ovarian androgens can also compromise estrogen-induced endometrial growth and development.
In conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by increased blood LH levels, there is also increased ovarian androgen production. It is therefore not surprising that “poor egg/embryo quality” is often a feature of this condition. The use of LH-containing preparations such as Menopur further aggravates this effect. Thus we recommend using FSH-dominant products such as Follistim, Puregon, and Gonal-F in such cases. While it would seem prudent to limit LH exposure in all cases of COS, this appears to be more vital in older women, who tend to be more sensitive to LH
It is common practice to administer gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) agonists such as Lupron, and, GnRH-antagonists such as Ganirelix and Orgalutron to prevent the release of LH during COS. GnRH agonists exert their LH-lowering effect over a number of days. They act by causing an initial outpouring followed by a depletion of pituitary gonadotropins. This results in the LH level falling to low concentrations, within 4-7 days, thereby establishing a relatively “LH-free environment”. GnRH Antagonists, on the other hand, act very rapidly (within a few hours) to block pituitary LH release, so as achieve the same effect.
Long Agonist (Lupron/Buserelin) Protocols: The most commonly prescribed protocol for Lupron/gonadotropin administration is the so-called “long protocol”. Here, Lupron is given, starting a week or so prior to menstruation. This results in an initial rise in FSH and LH level, which is rapidly followed by a precipitous fall to near zero. It is followed by uterine withdrawal bleeding (menstruation), whereupon gonadotropin treatment is initiated while daily Lupron injections continue, to ensure a “low LH” environment. A modification to the long protocol which I prefer using in cases of DOR, is the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion Protocol (A/ACP) where, upon the onset of a Lupron-induced bleed , this agonist is supplanted by an antagonist (Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron) and this is continued until the hCG trigger. In many such cases I supplement with human growth hormone (HGH) to try and further enhance response and egg development.
Lupron Flare/Micro-Flare Protocol: Another approach to COS is by way of so-called “(micro) flare protocols”. This involves initiating gonadotropin therapy simultaneous with the administration of GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin). The intent here is to deliberately allow Lupron to elicit an initial surge (“flare”) in pituitary FSH release in order to augment FSH administration by increased FSH production. Unfortunately, this “spring board effect” represents “a double edged sword” because while it indeed increases the release of FSH, it at the same time causes a surge in LH release. The latter can evoke excessive ovarian stromal androgen production which could potentially compromise egg quality, especially in older women and women with PCOS, whose ovaries have increased sensitivity to LH. I am of the opinion that by evoking an exaggerated ovarian androgen response, such “(micro) flare protocols” can harm egg/embryo quality and reduce IVF success rates, especially in older women, and in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Accordingly, I do not prescribe them at all.
Estrogen Priming – My approach for “Poor Responders” Our patients who have demonstrated reduced ovarian response to COS as well as those who by way of significantly raised FSH blood levels are likely to be “poor responders”, are treated using a “modified” long protocol. The approach involves the initial administration of GnRH agonist for a number of days to cause pituitary down-regulation. Upon menstruation and confirmation by ultrasound and measurement of blood estradiol levels that adequate ovarian suppression has been achieved, the dosage of GnRH agonist is drastically lowered and the woman is given twice-weekly injections of estradiol for a period of 8. COS is thereupon initiated using a relatively high dosage of FSH-(Follistim, Bravelle, Puregon or Gonal F) which is continued along with daily administration of GnRH agonist until the “hCG trigger.” By this approach we have been able to significantly improve ovarian response to gonadotropins in many of hitherto “resistant patients”.
The “Trigger”: hCG (Profasi/Pregnyl/Novarel) versus Lupron: With ovulation induction using fertility drugs, the administration of 10,000U hCGu (the hCG “trigger”) mimics the LH surge, sending the eggs (which up to that point are immature (M1) and have 46 chromosomes) into maturational division (meiosis) This process is designed to halve the chromosome number , resulting in mature eggs (M2) that will have 23 chromosomes rather that the 46 chromosomes it had prior to the “trigger”. Such a chromosomally normal, M2 egg, upon being fertilized by mature sperm (that following maturational division also has 23 chromosomes) will hopefully propagate embryos that have 46 chromosomes and will be “:competent” to propagate viable pregnancies. The key is to trigger with no less than 10,000U of hCGu (Profasi/Novarel/Pregnyl) and if hCGr (Ovidrel) is used, to make sure that 500mcg (rather than 250mcg) is administered. In my opinion, any lesser dosage will reduce the efficiency of meiosis, and increase the risk of the eggs being chromosomally abnormal. . I also do not use the agonist (Lupron) “trigger”. This approach which is often recommended for women at risk of overstimulation, is intended to reduce the risk of OHSS. The reason for using the Lupron trigger is that by inducing a surge in the release of LH by the pituitary gland it reduces the risk of OHSS. This is true, but this comes at the expense of egg quality because the extent of the induced LH surge varies and if too little LH is released, meiosis can be compromised, thereby increasing the percentage of chromosomally abnormal and of immature (M1) eggs. The use of “coasting” in such cases) can obviate this effect
.I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.SherIVF.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
• 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 “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)
• Ovarian Stimulation in Women Who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): Introducing the Agonist/Antagonist Conversion protocol
• Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in Older women and Women who have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR): A Rational Basis for Selecting a Stimulation Protocol
• Optimizing Response to Ovarian Stimulation in Women with Compromised Ovarian Response to Ovarian Stimulation: A Personal Approach.
• Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
• Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
• 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?
• Staggered IVF
• Staggered IVF with PGS- Selection of “Competent” Embryos Greatly Enhances the Utility & Efficiency of 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.
• IVF: Selecting the Best Quality Embryos to Transfer
• 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
• IVF outcome: How Does Advancing Age and Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) Affect Egg/Embryo “Competency” and How Should the Problem be addressed.
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
SG

Just a few follow up questions:

1. Do you have a list of clinics/doctors willing to implement your suggested approaches in Czech republic where I am carrying out my treatment as I do not live in the US?

2. I have had always had a break of two months minimum between stimulation cycles, sometimes 3. Is it necessary as my clinic suggests to give my ovaries a break now from stimulation after 5 stimulation cycles between April 2018-January 2019? As I am 41 in a few days time, I want to continue sooner rather than later. My experience has been that the outcome of my cycles are less good when there is a longer break in between cycles, although usually the dosage has been increased following the longer break although the medications have stayed the same.

3. How many euploid embryos would you recommend to have banked in order to have a viable pregnancy? I was hoping for between 3-5 euploid embryos in order to achieve 2 viable pregnancies.

4. I don’t really understand the science behind everything you have written but you mention that over-production of testosterone can adversely effect outcomes. This last cycle, which produced many follicles I had 15 follicles aspirated (though many many more on the scans) at egg collection with 10 eggs retrieved, no 5 day embryos for testing. I had begun taking DHEA 75mg/day roughly 6 weeks before. Could this have had a negative outcome and should I stop taking it? In the scans prior to egg collection I had far more follicles this cycle than any preceding ones.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

1. Do you have a list of clinics/doctors willing to implement your suggested approaches in Czech republic where I am carrying out my treatment as I do not live in the US?

A: Sorry, I do not!

2. I have had always had a break of two months minimum between stimulation cycles, sometimes 3. Is it necessary as my clinic suggests to give my ovaries a break now from stimulation after 5 stimulation cycles between April 2018-January 2019? As I am 41 in a few days time, I want to continue sooner rather than later. My experience has been that the outcome of my cycles are less good when there is a longer break in between cycles, although usually the dosage has been increased following the longer break although the medications have stayed the same.

A: You need a 1 month hiatus between stimulations, but at 41y of age I would not wait longer. Besides there is no benefit in doing so.

3. How many euploid embryos would you recommend to have banked in order to have a viable pregnancy? I was hoping for between 3-5 euploid embryos in order to achieve 2 viable pregnancies.

A: That sounds right!

4. I don’t really understand the science behind everything you have written but you mention that over-production of testosterone can adversely effect outcomes. This last cycle, which produced many follicles I had 15 follicles aspirated (though many many more on the scans) at egg collection with 10 eggs retrieved, no 5 day embryos for testing. I had begun taking DHEA 75mg/day roughly 6 weeks before. Could this have had a negative outcome and should I stop taking it? In the scans prior to egg collection I had far more follicles this cycle than any preceding ones.

A: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), is steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and ovary. It is involved in producing the male hormones, androstenedione testosterone and also estrogen. DHEA blood levels tend to decline naturally with age.
Under the effect if luteinizing hormone (LH), DHEA is metabolized to testosterone in ovarian connective tissue (theca/stroma). Thereupon the testosterone is transported to the granulosa cells that form the innermost layer of the ovarian follicles where, under the influence of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)-induced desmolase and aromatase enzymatic activity the testosterone is converted to estradiol. As this happens, granulosa cells multiply, follicle fluid volume increases along with estrogen output and egg development is promoted.
It is recognition of the essential/indispensable role that male hormones (mainly testosterone) play in follicle and egg development that prompted the belief that by giving DHEA and boosting ovarian testosterone production might benefit follicle/egg development. This belief was given some credence by an Israeli study that in 2010 reported on improved fertility when a group of infertile women were given the administration of 75mg of oral DHEA for 5 months. However, this study was seriously flawed by the fact that it did not separate out women who had diminished ovarian reserve, older women and those with PCOS, all of whom have increased LH-induced production of testosterone. In fact, we recently completed a study (currently being processed for publication) where we conclusively showed that when follicular fluid testosterone levels exceeded a certain threshold, egg quality was seriously prejudiced as evidenced by a marked increase in the incidence of egg chromosomal defects (aneuploidy).
Consider the following: Ovarian testosterone is needed for follicular development. However, the amount required is small. Too much ovarian testosterone spills over into the follicular fluid and has a deleterious effect on egg/follicle development. Some women (women with diminished ovarian reserve –DOR, older women and those with polycystic ovarian syndrome-PCOS) who tend to have increased LH biological activity, already over-produce testosterone. To such women, the administration of DHEA to such women, by “adding fuel to the fire” can be decidedly prejudicial, in my opinion. Young women with normal ovarian reserve do not over produce LH-induced ovarian testosterone, and are thus probably not at significant risk from DHEA supplementation. It is noteworthy that to date, none of the studies that suggest a benefit from DHEA therapy have differentiated between young healthy normal women with normal ovarian reserve on the one hand and older women, those with DOR and women with PCOS on the other hand.

In Some countries DHEA treatment requires a medical prescription and medical supervision. Not so in the U.S.A where it can be bought over the counter. Since DHEA is involved in sex hormone production, including testosterone and estrogen, individuals with malignant conditions that may be hormone dependent (certain types of breast cancer or testicular cancer) should not receive DHEA supplementation. Also, if overdosed with DHEA some “sensitive women” might so increase their blood concentrations of testosterone that they develop increased aggressive tendencies or male characteristics such as hirsuites (increased hair growth) and a deepening voice. DHEA can also interact other medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, insulin and with other oral diabetic medications.
BUT the strongest argument against the use of routine DHEA supplementation is the potential risk of compromising egg quality in certain categories of women and since there is presently no convincing evidence of any benefit, why take the risk in using it on anyone.
Finally, for those who in spite of the above, still feel compelled to take DHEA, the best advice I can give is to consult their health care providers before starting the process.

Addendum: One potential advantage of DHEA therapy if used appropriately came from a study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MI and reported in the November 2004 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association” which showed that judicious (selective) administration of 50mg DHEA daily for 6 months resulted in a significant reduction of abdominal fat and blood insulin in elderly women.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher
.

reply
S

I took your advice and asked my clinic to review and possibly revise my protocol and am due to undergo another cycle in March. To my surprise, the clinic came back to me with exactly the same protocol as I had during my previous cycle (5th banking cycle at this clinic) in Jan 2019 for which they aspirated 15 follicles, retrieved 10 eggs and no blastocysts (norethisterone prior to the cycle). The exact same protocol was also used in Nov 2018 (4th cycle) which resulted in 12 eggs retrieved, 3 blastocysts, one euploid and one inconclusive. The protocol is as follows:

Days 2-6 350 iu Gonal-F
Days 7-12 200 iu Gonal-f, 150 iu Menopur
Day 8-12 cetrotide
Trigger with 250 Ovitrelle
(I am using birth control pills prior to this cycle, norethisterone prior to the last cycle).

Prior to this I was on a similar protocol but dosages varied.

Cycle one April 2017 – no blastocysts
Days 2-6 300iu Gonal-f
Day 7-10 150 iu Gonal-f, 150 IU Menopur
Day 7-12 cetrotide
Day 11-12 150 iu Gonal-f, 180 iu menopur
trigger 250 ovitrelle

Cycle 2, 6 blastocysts, 1 euploid, 1 inconclusive
birth control prior to cycle
Day 2-5 300 iu Gonal-f
Day 6 150 iu Gonal-f, 150iu Menopur,
Day 7–9 225 iu gonal-f, 150 Menopur
Days 10-11 150 iu Gonal-f, 150iu menopur
days 7-10 cetrotide

Cycle 3 sept 2018- one blastocyst, aneuploid
days 2-5 300 iu Gonal-f
Days 6-10 150 iu gonal-f, 150 iu menopur
days 6-10 cetrotide
trigger 250 ovitrelle

Prior to this at a different clinic I had one cycle which result 4 untested blastocysts (2 frozen, 2 transferred, resulting in a TFMR for Trisomy 18). I took Norethisterone prior to the cycle and during the cycle Dexamethasone .5mg, Merional 150iu, and Fostimon 150iu, + cetrotide, Doxcycline + Trigger with 5000IU pregnyl

I am at clinic number 2 because I have moved to a different country. I don’t want to lose time by changing clinics but I am disappointed to be given the same protocol that resulted in a failed cycle last month, though to be fair I have had good outcomes on this same protocol. However, I have noticed that when the dosage of medication is increased, initially I respond well. In subsequent cycles on the same protocol I do not respond well until the dosages are increased. Is it possible that my body just gets used to the protocol? I don’t know what to do. Should I change clinics? I am due to start the cycle in roughly 2 weeks and at 41 I do not want to waste time. I’ve asked the clinic if they would consider to review the protocol. What would you advise?

Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I really do not know what to say. I am concerned but do not know how to advise.

I strongly recommend that you visit http://www.SherIVF.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.
• A Fresh Look at the Indications for IVF
• 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.
• Human Growth Hormone Administration in IVF: Does it Enhances Egg/Embryo Quality and Outcome?
• IVF and the use of Supplementary Human Growth Hormone (HGH) : Is it Worth Trying and who needs it?
• 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
• Why did my IVF Fail
• Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Measurement to Assess Ovarian Reserve and Design the Optimal Protocol for Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS) in IVF.
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.

Geoff Sher

K

Hi Dr Sher

I’m currently undergoing my second IVF cycle and am in the UK. My first cycle produced low number of eggs so this time my stimulation dose is menopur 300iu I took this for 7 days and had a tracking scan on tuesday this week which showed 14 follicles, some measuring up to 20mm, estradiol level was around 14,000pmol/L. My dosage was reduced to 150iu menopur. I took this for 2 days and another scan today showed 16-20 follicles all 15-22mm roughly. Blood levels today showed estradiol at around 22,000pmol/L. I have been advised to take another 150iu menopur injection now and a trigger injection this evening for collection on saturday morning. I have read your information on this site about OHSS and coasting and am worried my estradiol level is too high. Do you think this is the right course of action for me, or are my estradiol levels too high to be triggering? Many thanks for your advice, K

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

This is a very high E2 and probably suggests that in actuality there are MANY more than 20 follicles. My calculation based upon you E2 level is that the number of overall follicles is likely >double that number. In my opinion you are are significant risk of OHSS BUT it is probably too late to “coast” at this stage as that would severely prejudice egg/embryo quality. I would definitely discuss this risk with your RE. Without much more detail I really cannot comment further ..authoritatively.

Women like yourself are at risk that ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins will result in the, of development of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a life-endangering condition that is often accompanied by a profound reduction in egg “competency” and on fertilization often yield an inordinately high percentage of “incompetent” embryos which have a reduced potential to propagate viable pregnancies.
Concern that a patient will develop of OHSS often leads the treating RE to take measures aimed at reducing the risk of this life-endangering condition. One such measures is to “trigger” egg maturation prematurely in the hope of arresting further follicular growth and the other, is to initiate the “trigger” with a reduced dosage of hCG (i.ed. 5,000U rather than the usual 10,000U of of Pregnyl/Profasi/Novarel, to use or 250mcg rather than 500mcg of Ovidrel or to supplant the hCG “trigger” with a Lupron “trigger” which causes a prompt LH surge from the woman’s pituitary gland to take place. While such measures do indeed reduce the risk of OHSS to the mother, this often comes at the expense of egg quantity and “competency”. Fewer than the anticipated number of eggs are harvested and those that are retrieved are far more likely to be “immature” and chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid”), or “immature” , thereby significantly compromising IVF outcome.
Against this background, It is my considered opinion that when it comes to performing IVF in women at risk of developing OHSS, the most important consideration must be the selection and proper implementation of an individualized or customized ovarian stimulation protocol. Thereupon, rather than prematurely initiating the “trigger” to arrest further follicle growth, administering a reduced dosage of hCG or “triggering with a GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin) that can compromise egg “competency”….. use of one of the following techniques will often markedly reduce the risk of OHSS while at the same time protecting egg quality:
1. PROLONGED COASTING…my preferred approach: My preferred approach is to use a long pituitary down-regulation protocol coming off the BCP which during the last 3 days is overlapped with the agonist, Lupron/Buserelin/Superfact. The BCP is intended to lower LH and thereby reduce stromal activation (hyperthecosis) in the hope of controlling LH-induced ovarian androgen (predominantly, testosterone) production and release. I then stimulate my PCOS patients using a low dosage of recombinant FSH-(FSHr) such as Follistim/Gonal-F/Puregon. On the 3rd day of such stimulation a smidgeon of LH/hCG (Luveris/Menopur) is added. Thereupon, starting on day 7 of ovarian stimulation, I perform serial blood estradiol (E2) and ultrasound follicle assessments, watching for the number and size of the follicles and the blood estradiol concentration [E2]. I keep stimulating (regardless of the [E2] until 50% of all follicles reach 14mm. At this point, provided the [E2] reaches at least >2,500pg/ml, I stop the agonist as well as gonadotropin stimulation and track the blood E2 concentration daily. The [E2] will almost invariably increase for a few days. I closely monitor the [E2] as it rises, plateaus and then begins to decline. As soon as the [E2] drops below 2500pg/ml (and not before then), I administer a “trigger” shot of 10,000U Profasi/ Novarel/Pregnyl or 500mcg Ovidrel/Ovitrel. This is followed by an egg retrieval, performed 36 hours later. Fertilization is accomplished using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) because “coasted” eggs usually have little or no cumulus oophoris enveloping them and eggs without a cumulus will not readily fertilize naturally. Moreover, they also tend to have a “hardened” envelopment (zona pellucida), making spontaneous fertilization problematic in many cases. All fertilized eggs are cultured to the blastocyst stage (up to day 5- 6 days) and thereupon are either vitrified and preserved for subsequent transfer in later hormone replacement cycles or (up to 2) blastocysts are transferred to the uterus, transvaginally under transabdominal ultrasound guidance. The success of this approach depends on precise timing of the initiation and conclusion of “prolonged coasting”. If started too early, follicle growth will arrest and the cycle will be lost. If commenced too late, too many follicles will be post-mature/cystic (>22mm) and as such will usually harbor abnormal or dysmature eggs. Use of “Coasting” almost always prevents the development of severe OHSS, optimizes egg/embryo quality and avoids unnecessary cycle cancellation. If correctly implemented, the worst you will encounter is moderate OHSS and this too is relatively uncommon.
2. EMBRYO FREEZING AND DEFERMENT OF EMBRYO TRANSFEDR (ET): OHSS is always a self-limiting condition. In the absence of continued exposure to hCG, symptoms and signs as well as the risk of severe complications will ultimately abate. Thus, in the absence of pregnancy, all symptoms, signs and risks associated with OHSS will disappear within about 10-14 days of the hCG trigger. Conversely, since early pregnancy is always accompanied by a rapid and progressive rise in hCG , the severity of OHSS will increase until about the 9th or tenth gestational week whereupon a transition from ovarian to placental hormonal dominance occurs, the severity of OHSS rapidly diminishes and the patient will be out of risk. Accordingly, in cases where in spite of best effort to prevent OHSS, the woman develops symptoms and signs of progressive overstimulation prior to planned ET, all the blastocysts should be vitrified and cryostored for FET in a subsequent hormone replacement cycle. In this way women with OHSS can be spared the risk of the condition spiraling out of control.
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.
· Egg Maturation in IVF: How Egg “Immaturity”, “Post-maturity” and “Dysmaturity” Influence IVF Outcome:
· Commonly Asked Question in IVF: “Why Did so Few of my Eggs Fertilize and, so Many Fail to Reach Blastocyst?”
· 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?
· Taking A Fresh Look at Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), its Presentation, Prevention and Management
· Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
· Understanding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the Need to Customize Ovarian Stimulation Protocols.
· “Triggering” Egg Maturation in IVF: Comparing urine-derived hCG, Recombinant DNA-hCG and GnRH-agonist:
· The “Lupron Trigger” to Prevent Severe OHSS: What are the Pro’s and Con’s?
• .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.
• Implications of “Empty Follicle Syndrome and “Premature Luteinization”
• Premature Luteinization (“the premature LH surge): Why it happens and how it can be prevented.
• Preventing Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) with “Prolonged Coasting”
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
K

Hi Dr Sher, thank you for your detailed reply. I went ahead with my trigger injection of 250 ovitrelle on 24th Jan and got 13 eggs collected and had fluid drained. I felt much better after collection and did not hyper stimulate but was surprised to get so few eggs in comparison to the amount of follicles I had. We had 2 embryos transferred on Day 5 but unfortunately none were suitable to be frozen. I was due to test on 12th Feb but my period arrived on 9th Feb.

We are extremely disappointed but we conceived naturally (but then had a miscarriage) after our previous ICSI cycle so we still have hope.

I will have a review with my clinic soon and wanted to ask if you felt the low number of eggs collected and low fertilisation rate, compared to the 22 follicles I had before collection, could be down to the simulation protocol and how it was managed when I had OHSS symptoms?

Also getting my period 3 days before test day happened in my last ICSI cycle too – is this significant? Would you recommend we do any further testing to help get some answers before proceeding with another cycle?

Many thanks
K

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Ideal egg development sets the scene for optimal egg maturation that occurs 36-42h prior to ovulation or egg retrieval. Without prior optimal egg development (ovogenesis), egg maturation will be dysfunctional and most eggs will be rendered “incompetent” and unable upon fertilization to propagate viable embryos. In IVF, optimal ovogenesis requires the selection and implementation of an individualized approach to controlled ovaria stimulation (COS). Thereupon, at the ideal time, maturational division of the egg’s chromosomes (i.e. meiosis) is “triggered” through the administration of hCG or an agonist such as Lupron, which induces an LH surge. The, dosage and timing of the “trigger shot” profoundly affects the efficiency of meiosis, the potential to yield “competent (euploid) mature (M2) eggs, and as such represents a rate limiting step in the IVF process .

“Triggering meiosis with Urine-derived hCG (Pregnyl/Profasi/Novarel) versus recombinant hCG (Ovidrel): Until quite recently, the standard method used to “trigger” egg maturation was through the administration of 10,000 units of hCGu. Subsequently,, a DNA recombinant form of hCGr (Ovidrel)was introduced and marketed in 250 mcg doses. But clinical experience strongly suggests that 250 mcg of Ovidrel is most likely not equivalent in biological potency to 10,000 units of hCG. It probably only has 50%-70%of the potency of a 10,000U dose of hCGu and as such might not be sufficient to fully promote meiosis, especially in cases where the woman has numerous follicles. For this reason, I firmly believe that when hCGr is selected as the “trigger shot” the dosage should best be doubled to 500 mcg at which dosage it will probably have an equivalent effect on promoting meiosis as would 10,000 units of hCGu. Failure to “trigger” with 10,000U hCGu or 500mcg hCGr, will in my opinion increase the likelihood of disorderly meiosis, “incompetent (aneuploid) eggs” and the risk of follicles not yielding eggs at egg retrieval (“empty follicles”). Having said this, it is my personal opinion that it is unnecessary to supplant hCGu with hCGr since the latter is considerably more expensive and is probably no more biopotent than the latter.

Some clinicians, when faced with a risk of OHSS developing will deliberately elect to reduce the dosage of hCG administered as a trigger in the hope that by doing so the risk of critical OHSS developing will be lowered. It is my opinion, that such an approach is not optimal because a low dose of hCG (e.g., 5000 units, hCGu or 250mcg hCGr) is likely inadequate to optimize the efficiency of meiosis particularly when it comes to cases such as this where there are numerous follicles. It has been suggested that the preferential use of an “agonist (Lupron) trigger” in women at risk of developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome could potentially reduce the risk of the condition becoming critical and thereby placing the woman at risk of developing life-endangering complications. It is with this in mind that many RE’s prefer to trigger meiosis by way of an “agonist (Lupron) trigger rather than through the use of hCG. The agonist promptly causes the woman’s pituitary gland to expunge a large amount of LH over a short period of time and it is this LH “surge” that triggers meiosis. The problem with using this approach, in my opinion, is that it is hard to predict how much LH will be released in by the pituitary gland. For this reason, I personally prefer to use hCGu for the trigger, even in cases of ovarian hyperstimulation hyperstimulated, with one important proviso…that being that is she underwent “prolonged coasting” in order to reduce the risk of critical OHSS, prior to the 10,000 unit hCGu “ trigger”.

The timing of the “trigger shot “to initiate meiosis: This should coincide with the majority of ovarian follicles being >15 mm in mean diameter with several follicles having reached 18-22 mm. Follicles of larger than 22 mm will usually harbor overdeveloped eggs which in turn will usually fail to produce good quality eggs. Conversely, follicles less than 15 mm will usually harbor underdeveloped eggs that are more likely to be aneuploid and incompetent following the “trigger”.

Geoff Sher:

____________________________________________________________________
SHER FERTILITY-SOLUTIONS (SFS): AN EXCITING NEW CHAPTER IN MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Geoffrey Sher MD

Sher-Fertility Solutions (SFS) will be officially launched in April 2019. Through SFS I will provide fertility consultations (via SKYPE) to an ever-growing number of patients (from >40 countries) with complex Reproductive Dysfunction (RD) who seek access to my input and guidance.

In the past, I have limited my consultations with patients from afar to those who expressed a willingness to travel to Las Vegas for treatment by me. But now with the “birth” of SFS, all this is about to change. With one notable exception I will, as of April, 2019, no longer be conducting and performing hands-on IVF treatments. Rather, I will focus on providing SKYPE consultations and guidance to as many patients as possible. The one important exception will apply to approximately 1,000 existing patients who, following IVF previously performed by me, have remaining eggs or embryos stored (cryopreserved) at SIRM-LV and wish for me to perform their Frozen Embryo Transfers (FETs). I have agreed to accommodate such patients…..but only through August, 2019.

Patients will have ready access online, to SFS: by going to http://www.SherIVF.com; by phone (1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691) and via email (sher@sherivf.com or concierge@sherIVF.com). A onetime fee of $400.00, will provide enrollees with access to: a full review of all their medical records (+ assistance in requisitioning additional records, as needed); a comprehensive initial 1 hour, SKYPE consultation with me; additional SKYPE consultations (as might be required); a written medical report (which will include a recommended plan of action) that you can share with a Physician(s) of choice. I would, subject to your approval and a request by such Physician(s), also be willing to discuss your case with him/her/them. I will in due course post on my website, a list of Fertility Physicians in key locations all over the United States and abroad, whom I endorse and to whom I would be willing to direct SFS patients for subsequent treatment.

I have good news for those of you who are interested in traveling to Las Vegas for IVF. Dr Russel Foulk, Medical Director of SIRM-LV has expressed a willingness to be receptive to, treatment plans that I recommend for SFS patients Moreover, Dr Foulk has graciously agreed to interact with me during such treatments. I highly recommend Dr Foulk to those of you who, following consultation with me, wish to have me remain involved in the implementation of your treatment. This having been said, the final say in any management decision is always up to the treating physician.

It is both my objective and commitment to serve as a resource to SFS patients on complex RD issues such as: Unexplained IVF failure; Recurrent Pregnancy loss (RPL); Immunologic Implantation Dysfunction-IID; Genetic/chromosomal issues; effects of Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) and advancing age on reproductive performance, etc.

I hope to ultimately expand the National and International reach of SFS, through my website (www.sherIVF.com) , through online webinars as well as Town hall- type consumer-based seminars, workshops and through social media. At the same time I will continue blogging on my website and doing bi-weekly Live-feed Facebook presentations (at “Dr Geoffrey Sher”) on a variety of subjects and topical issues.

For me this is a very exciting venture. Please become part of the SFS family and help spread the word!
I was very recently greatly honored in receiving an award by the prestigious; International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). For more information, go to the press release on my website, http://www.sherIVF.com .

reply
K

Many thanks again Dr Sher for this information. 250mcg of Ovitrelle is the standard trigger dose with my clinic, so this was not a decision that was made specifically for my situation.

I’m 39 and my partner is 38 and analysis showed low sperm motility. Our first cycle of ICSI gave us 4 eggs, 3 fertilised but just 1 was suitable for transfer on Day 3, with zero frozen, my period arrived 3 days before official test day.

I then conceived naturally 2 months later but miscarried at 6 weeks.

To recap, this second cycle gave us 13 eggs with 2 day 5 embryos transferred, and none suitable for freezing, but again a period arrived 3 days before official test day. Given our history and age, what do you think our next step should be? Would you recommend another ICSI cycle with a different stimulation protocol? Or any further testing? Many thanks!

Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I suggest we talk!

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

Also, my book, “In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com .

Geoffrey Sher MD

Rosaura

Hi!
I am 10.5 weeks pregnant. I received three IVIG already because I suffer from ovarian failure. I had an IVF on December 1st.Two blastocytes were transferred; at first I was pregnant with twins, but at 8.5 weeks one of the two embryos stopped growing. the other one appeared to be well in the last sonogram, which I had three days ago. My last IVIG was on January 11th (I was almost 9 weeks pregnant at that point). One of my immunologists wants me to get a fourth one, the other doctor says that it is not needed because at this stage there is no immunological risk as the placenta is already working. Are there any guidelines that stipulate until when are IVIG recommended for fertility purposes? Do you have any recommendations to share; I am sort of in the middle of the two opinions?

Regards,
Rosaura

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

There is in my opinion, no significant benefit in IVIG therapy after the 2nd infusion at the time the blood pregnancy test becomes positive, in cases of autoimmune implantation dysfunction. With alloimmune implantation dysfunction , monthly infusions until the 20th week are advised. The cost of IVIG makes this quite a financial burden. However, today, Intralipid infusions have all but supplanted the use of IVIG.

Geoff Sher

reply
ROSAURA

Thank you for your prompt response. I am not sure I understand the differences between the two dysfunctions. I believe I fall into the first case, but I am not sure. Just in case, I share with you some of the results I got, to see if that helps you identify in which of the dysfunctions I fall. I was given the IVIG because:

I had Native Killing Cells from 8.5 to 10% (E:T 50:1 Native State: 9.6; 25:1 = 4.3 and 12.5:1 = 1.8)
(CD3+/”CD4″+)/TNFa = 33.1
Anti-Ovarian ANTIBODY tested POSITIVE

I hope this makes it easier for you to tell me which of the two dysfunctions you described I appear to fall into?

Regards,

Rosaura

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

Frankly, the NK-native state killing appears quite normal tome. Thus I am not quite sure why IVIG was used.

Geoff Sher

reply
val

I am a 39- old woman with 5 failed FETs from one extraction. My doc put me on an estrogen priming protocol before the extraction cycle; even though I do not have DOR; instead have mild PCOS. In theory, this approach does not seem bad..however are there disadvantages to being on a estrogen priming protocol when you do not have DOR

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

I cant say there are real disadvantages. However, in my opinion there are no advantages in doing so.

Geoff Sher

reply
Lori

Dr. Sher,
I am entirely grateful for your earlier reply to my questions. In your reply you wrote:

“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).”

If I might ask some followup questions, I hope I’m not imposing too much on you? Starting from the end of your comment and working my way backward:

I actually asked my RE a few days ago about HGH and she told me that it is no longer allowed to be prescribed for IVF. Do you know anything about what she means?

And then, you mentioned an A/ACP protocol — I don’t know what that is. Could you describe it so I know better what to be asking for? Similarly, what kind of drugs are involved in a long-pituitary down-regime protocol, being new to all this I have no idea what that means either. 🙂

You mentioned LH in older women being an issue — I do know my LH on the three day FSH / LH test is 2.0.

Thank you for all your help to the IVF patient community —
Lori

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

HGH ism not available in NY but otherwise it is.

The use of GnRH antagonists as currently prescribed in ovarian stimulation cycles, i.e. the administration of 250mcg daily from the 6or 7th day of stimulation with gonadotropins is in my opinion problematic when used in women who have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) (i.e. are “poor responders” to gonadotropins),. In such cases the commencement of pituitary LH suppression with GnRH antagonists 6-7 days into the stimulation fails to suppress high tonic pituitary LH in the first few days of stimulation and it is at this time , formative (early) stage of follicle/egg development early on in the most the vulnerable stage. One of the roles of LH is to promote androgen (mail hormone) production which in turn is essential (in modest amounts) for optimal follicular growth to take place. In women with high LH and/or ovarian stromal hyperplasia, the failure of conventional GnRH antagonist protocols to address this issue, results in the inevitable excessive exposure of follicles to androgens (mainly testosterone). This can adversely influence egg/embryo quality and endometrial development.

The likely reason for the traditional approach of commencing GnRH- antagonist 6-7 days after stimulation with gonadotropins commences, is to try to block the release of LH (later in the cycle) so as to try to prevent the occurrence of the so called “premature LH surge” (syn; premature luteinization), which is most commonly seen in women with DOR, who tend to be susceptible to LH-induced “follicular exhaustion” resulting in poor egg/embryo quality. But if truth be known, the term “premature LH surge” is a misnomer. Contrary to popular belief, the concept of LH rising as a “terminal event” late in the cycle is, erroneous. In fact rather than representing an isolated event, the so called “premature LH surge” is the end point of a progressive escalation in LH (“a staircase effect”) which results in increasing ovarian stromal activation with commensurate growing androgen (mainly testosterone) production. A more appropriate term would be …”Premature Luteinization”. So, trying to improve ovarian response and protect follicular exhaustion by administering Ganirelix/Cetrotide/Orgalutron starting during the final few days of ovarian stimulation is like trying to prevent a shipwreck by collision, through removing the tip of an iceberg. The use of such late GnRH-antagonist protocols in women who have a normal ovarian reserve (i.e. are “good responders”) will probably not produce such adverse effects because the tonic endogenous LH levels are low (normal) and such women are unlikely to have ovarian stromal hyperplasia.
It is my opinion that some form of pituitary blockade, either in the form of a GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron, Buserelin, Superfact or Decapeptyl) or a GnRH antagonist (e.g. Orgalutron Cetrotide, and Ganirelix) is an essential component in ovarian stimulation of “poor responders” undergoing IVF. If this is not done, a progressive rise in LH –induced ovarian androgens (male hormones ….mainly testosterone) will often adversely affect follicle/ egg development, resulting in compromised embryo quality. However, when a GnRH antagonist is used in women with DOR, it is my belief (for reasons cited above) that it should preferably be administered from early in the cycle, at the time that gonadotropin stimulation starts and NOT 6-7 days later, as is traditionally done. In such cases, the dosage of the GnRH antagonist can in my opinion be reduced to 125mcg daily.
The long Pituitary agonist down-Regulation approach: With the long Lupron down regulation protocol the administration of the GnRH agonist begins several days in advance of commencing gonadotropin stimulation. As such, by the time gonadotropin stimulation commences, most LH has been expunged from the pituitary gland thereby avoiding over-production of ovarian androgens. However, this protocol involves continued administratio0n of the GnRH agonist throughout the stimulation phase and this is not ideal for women who have DOR where prolonged administration of GnRH agonists could blunt follicular response to ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins (perhaps by competitively binding with ovarian FSH receptors).
The agonist-Antagonist conversion protocol (A/ACP). I introduced the A/ACP for women with DOR, in order to counter the suppression effect of the traditional long Pituitary agonist down-regulation protocol.. With the A/ACP, low dose GnRH-antagonist (Ganirelix/Cetrotide Orgalutron) is commenced at the onset of menstrual bleeding that follows initiation of GnRH agonist therapy using a long-down-regulation protocol approach or at the onset of spontaneous menstruation. I currently prescribe the A/ACP to most of my IVF patients who have DOR. Results suggest that this is an optimal approach in such cases. In such cases I augment the stimulation with human growth hormone.
There is one potential draw back to the use of the A/ACP, in that the sustained use of a GnRH antagonist throughout the stimulation phase of the cycle, appears to compromise the predictive value of serial plasma estradiol measurements as a measure of follicle growth and development in that the estradiol levels tend to be much lower in comparison to cases where an agonist (e.g. Lupron) alone is used or where a “conventional” short GnRH antagonist protocol is employed. Rather than this being due to reduced production of estradiol by the ovary(ies), the lower blood concentration of estradiol seen with prolonged exposure to GnRH-antagonist, could be the result of a subtle, agonist-induced alteration in the configuration of the estradiol molecule , such that currently available commercial kits used to measure estradiol levels are rendered much less sensitive/specific. Thus when the A/ACP is employed, we rely much more heavily on ultrasound growth of follicles along with observation of the trend in the rise of estradiol levels, than on absolute estradiol values. For this reason I avoid prescribing the A/ACP in “high responders” who are predisposed to the development of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) where accurate measurement of plasma estradiol plays a very important role in the safe management of their stimulation cycles.

The A/ACP with Estrogen priming: In women who have severe DOR (AMH=<0.1 ng/ml) I modify the A/ACP The A/ACP through incorporation of “estrogen priming” with injections of estradiol valerate (Delestrogen), given twice weekly for about a week following the initiation of the A/ACP, and prior to commencing FSH-dominant gonadotropin stimulation. I then continue this through gonadotropin stimulation. Estrogen Priming appears to further enhance ovarian response….presumably by up-regulating ovarian FSH-receptors. ”.
“Flare Protocols” in women with DOR: With the “Flare” approach, GnRH agonist (e.g. Lupron/Buserelin/Superfact/Decapeptyl) is started with the initiation of gonadotropin stimulation. The agonist causes an immediate surge in pituitary gland LH release. Thus the follicles/ eggs of women on GnRH-agonist “flare protocols” are exposed to an exaggerated Lupron-induced LH release, (the “flare effect” The increased androgen production early on in the stimulation has a deleterious effect on egg development and thus on subsequent embryo quality.
The Traditional GnRH-antagonist , ‘short protocol” in women with DOR: While the follicles/eggs of women, who receive GnRH antagonists starting 6-8 days into the stimulation cycle are exposed to endogenous LH -induced ovarian androgens( especially testosterone). While this might not be problematic in in women who have normal ovarian reserve (i.e. “normal responders”), it could be decidedly prejudicial in women with DOR (“poor responders”) where endogenous tonic LH activity is usually raised and the ovaries may be inordinately sensitive to LH. In such cases excessive exposure of follicles and eggs to androgens (mainly testosterone) could severely compromise egg development and thus embryo quality.
Use of the Birth Control Pill to set up ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins: In my practice, patients are placed on a birth control pill for 10-40 days (depending on circumstance), before commencing a long antagonist protocol (whether conventional or the A/ACP). With this approach, the agonist is overlapped with the BCP in the last few days of its usage. Thereupon daily agonist administration continues until menstruation ensues a few days later at which point, the dosage of the agonist is halved and this is continued throughout stimulation until the hCG “trigger”.

The rise in FSH that occurs in ovulating women 5-6 days prior to menses, initiates recruitment of follicles available for the upcoming cycle. The BCP by suppressing ovulation (and FSH) precludes this premenstrual rise in FSH, suppressing follicle recruitment. Premenstrual GnRH agonist administration overcomes this by inducing a premenstrual FSH surge which then serves to recruits follicles in a timely manner…for the upcoming COH cycle. Following use of the BCP (without prior overlap with agonist) the first 4-6 days of FSH administration must first recruit follicles before growing them.

When the BCP is overlapped with a GnRH agonists towards the end of the BCP cycle, it triggers a pre-menstrual pituitary release of endogenous FSH (and LH). This results in recruitment of follicles to the antral follicle stage, whereupon the initiation of gonadotropin stimulation, while continuing agonist or supplanting this with low dose antagonist (i.e. A/ACP) to prevent further LH release, will induce an uninhibited and prompt follicle growth and development.

Given that FSH is so important to antral follicle “recruitment” , since the BCP suppresses FSH, it is essential (in my opinion) that the contraceptive pill be overlapped with an agonist during the last 3 days of its use to promote FSH production. If this is omitted optimal antral follicle development will not occur, and the response to subsequent ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins will in my opinion, be suboptimal. This could result in discordant egg/follicle development, a longer period of ovarian stimulation and compromised egg/embryo quality. I believe that unless the use of a long pituitary down regulation approach is contemplated, launching ovarian stimulation coming off a BCP is best be avoided.

Geoff Sher

reply
Jenna

Hi Dr. Sher,

I’m 37 years old with DOR. High FSH and AMH .6 . I conceived successfully in 2013 through IVF, and then again in 2015 with a frozen embryo from the same cycle (2 healthy boys today)! I tried another round of IVF last year, where only 4 eggs were retrieved and 1 made it to GoodBB and was hatching, but that embryo came back after PGS as missing one of chromosome 18 so was not transferred. I would like to try one more time! I started taking 75mgs of DHEA daily a couple of weeks ago and have already begun experiencing severe skin breakouts and suspected hair loss. I am second-guessing the DHEA after stumbling upon your site. My questions are:
-Would you recommend DHEA for me?
-Out of curiosity, have you ever seen an embryo that was missing one of chromosome 18 transferred and resulted in a healthy baby? I am considering not getting the PGS this time.

Thank you for your time and for your very helpful site!

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

In my opinion, an autosomal monosomy 18 is worthy of transfer. It could be a mosaic.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), is steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and ovary. It is involved in producing the male hormones, androstenedione testosterone and also estrogen. DHEA blood levels tend to decline naturally with age.
Under the effect if luteinizing hormone (LH), DHEA is metabolized to testosterone in ovarian connective tissue (theca/stroma). Thereupon the testosterone is transported to the granulosa cells that form the innermost layer of the ovarian follicles where, under the influence of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)-induced desmolase and aromatase enzymatic activity the testosterone is converted to estradiol. As this happens, granulosa cells multiply, follicle fluid volume increases along with estrogen output and egg development is promoted.
It is recognition of the essential/indispensable role that male hormones (mainly testosterone) play in follicle and egg development that prompted the belief that by giving DHEA and boosting ovarian testosterone production might benefit follicle/egg development. This belief was given some credence by an Israeli study that in 2010 reported on improved fertility when a group of infertile women were given the administration of 75mg of oral DHEA for 5 months. However, this study was seriously flawed by the fact that it did not separate out women who had diminished ovarian reserve, older women and those with PCOS, all of whom have increased LH-induced production of testosterone. In fact, we recently completed a study (currently being processed for publication) where we conclusively showed that when follicular fluid testosterone levels exceeded a certain threshold, egg quality was seriously prejudiced as evidenced by a marked increase in the incidence of egg chromosomal defects (aneuploidy).
Consider the following: Ovarian testosterone is needed for follicular development. However, the amount required is small. Too much ovarian testosterone spills over into the follicular fluid and has a deleterious effect on egg/follicle development. Some women (women with diminished ovarian reserve –DOR, older women and those with polycystic ovarian syndrome-PCOS) who tend to have increased LH biological activity, already over-produce testosterone. To such women, the administration of DHEA to such women, by “adding fuel to the fire” can be decidedly prejudicial, in my opinion. Young women with normal ovarian reserve do not over produce LH-induced ovarian testosterone, and are thus probably not at significant risk from DHEA supplementation. It is noteworthy that to date, none of the studies that suggest a benefit from DHEA therapy have differentiated between young healthy normal women with normal ovarian reserve on the one hand and older women, those with DOR and women with PCOS on the other hand.

In Some countries DHEA treatment requires a medical prescription and medical supervision. Not so in the U.S.A where it can be bought over the counter. Since DHEA is involved in sex hormone production, including testosterone and estrogen, individuals with malignant conditions that may be hormone dependent (certain types of breast cancer or testicular cancer) should not receive DHEA supplementation. Also, if overdosed with DHEA some “sensitive women” might so increase their blood concentrations of testosterone that they develop increased aggressive tendencies or male characteristics such as hirsuites (increased hair growth) and a deepening voice. DHEA can also interact other medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, insulin and with other oral diabetic medications.
BUT the strongest argument against the use of routine DHEA supplementation is the potential risk of compromising egg quality in certain categories of women and since there is presently no convincing evidence of any benefit, why take the risk in using it on anyone.
Finally, for those who in spite of the above, still feel compelled to take DHEA, the best advice I can give is to consult their health care providers before starting the process.

Addendum: One potential advantage of DHEA therapy if used appropriately came from a study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MI and reported in the November 2004 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association” which showed that judicious (selective) administration of 50mg DHEA daily for 6 months resulted in a significant reduction of abdominal fat and blood insulin in elderly women.

Women who (regardless of age) have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production, and/or biological activity, of LH. This can result in excessive ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production. This 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, www. SherIVF.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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
Amanda Johnson

Hello. I am 31 and i just went through my first IVF cycle but i had empty follicle syndrome and I’m wondering what your opinion is.

I have a diminished ovarian reserve FSH 19.1 U/L (unfortunately i do not know my AMH levels but when they were first taken i was told my chances of IVF being successful were 10% but after my AFC which showed better results – 5 and 4 – my doctor said we should try IVF).

For 2 months prior to my cycle i was on the birth control pill and also did one pump (1.25 g of gel) AndroGel 1% daily while i was on the pill. I did this for two cycles.

When i started IVF, i started on January 3 with Microdose Lupron (400/mcg/ml) 10 units or 0.1ml twice a day. I did Lupron for my whole cycle.

On January 5 i started Gonal-f 450 IU daily, continued my Lupron twice a day and also started Dexamethasone 1mg daily.
I did this until January 16th when i was instructed to do my trigger shot.

On January 16 i did Lupron in the morning, stopped the Dexamethasone and did 300 IU Gonal-f that night.
On January 16 i also did my trigger shot at 9pm which was 1000 IU hCG.

Egg retrieval was scheduled for 9 am on January 18 but then I had empty follicle sydnrome.

On January 16 my follicles measured
Right ovary – 14mm, 19mm, 20mm
Left ovary – 19mm, 8mm

I was sent for bloodwork following the retrieval and my HCG was 233 U/L which i was told was normal.

I also take synthroid 0.05mg and have taken this for 3 years.

Can you please let me know your thoughts. I am 31, health, 126 lbs, 5’4 and do not smoke.

Thank you,
Amanda

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

There are 3 issues: 1.”empty follicle syndrome; 2.your diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and 3. Hypothyroidism and the possible link to autoimmune implantation dysfunction.

a. Empty Follicle Syndrome:

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. Diminished Ovarian Reserve:

Women who (regardless of age) have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) have a reduced potential for IVF success. Much of this is due to the fact that such women tend to have increased production, and/or biological activity, of LH. This can result in excessive ovarian male hormone (predominantly testosterone) production. This 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

3. Autoimmune Thyroid Disease:

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.

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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
VSL

Hi Dr. Sher,
I recently have experienced 2 miscarriages and one chemical pregnancy all done through FETs. I have one daughter through the same IVF cycle and had a healthy pregnancy. All of the embryos were tested prior to transfer so we know the number of chromosomes were fine. My 1st miscarriage was last Spring at 8 weeks with massive bleeding and after D&C a rare AVM was discovered in uterus. I fully recovered from this after a few months and then did another transfer which resulted in chemical pregnancy. This Fall I did another transfer and heartbeat and measurement looked great at 6 weeks (as it had with Spring pregnancy) but again at 8 weeks miscarried. I did RPL blood panel and everything came back normal. We also tested both embryos after the D&Cs and they both came back healthy with no issues. I just did another round of IVF and my doctor is recommending putting me on a steroid when I begin my FET. I was told and have read there is a very small chance of cleft lip which scares me. If you were my doctor would you put me on a steroid even though we don’t know why I am miscarrying? Thank you !

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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.SherIVF.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
My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

reply
o. sahin

hi dr sher how are you
thak you aswering all our question.
i recently change my ivf doctor. allways puregon and orgalutron were my medicines.. amd i strated 2nd or 3th of my period. this doctor said after ovulation this month around cd15 he is going to check my uterus and ovary and start estrofem to ensure me eggs to be same size.. is it ok? and after ngs test i am going to have FET. he suggested natural cycles no estrofem etc.. because he said abortus ratio is low by this way (i had 2 abortions beace heartbeat stoped) but despite of my uterin lining and all other stuff ate normal i rejected this natural thing because i am 43 years old.. what do you think?

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

Also, my book, “In Vitro Fertilization, the ART of Making Babies” is available as a down-load through http://www.Amazon.com .

Geoffrey Sher MD

reply
Nna

Hi
I had frozen transfer done 01/10. My first beta today was 52. Any reason to panic? My next is in 2 days.

reply
Dr. Geoffrey Sher

We need to wait to see if it doubles. That is what it will take.

Good luck!

Geoff Sher

reply
Marie Ziegfeld

Hello Dr Sher.

We just completed an IVF cycle:  Five eggs were retrieved, two were mature, and zero fertilized. 

I’m 41 w/ day-three AFC of 12, AMH of 1.5, and FSH of 7.7.  I eat right and exercise regularly. I do not drink coffee or alcohol, and have never smoked. My thyroid levels are normal range. I take CoQ10, omegas, zinc, D, E, folic acid, etc. (I do not take DHEA supplements or maca, however.)

The protocol used consisted of estradiol, beginning one-week after LH surge, through menses. Then, on cycle day 3, beginning GonalF 450IU in the evening, adding Cetrotide 0.25 mg and Novarel 4IU, beginning on cycle day 7, through hCG trigger. The follicle sizes the day before trigger were 19.0, 15.5, 14.5, 13.0, 11.5, 10.0, and 9.0 on the right and 21.5 and 21.0 on the left. Trigger was with Novarel 10000IU intramuscular, 35 hours prior to scheduled retrieval time.

During the two previous IUI cycles, with letrozole 7.5 mg, I easily produced four follicles of good size, though the cycles did not result in pregnancy. (We found out, later, during the mock transfer, that I have uterine polyps. This was thought to be the reason for the failed IUIs. They will be removed, after banking embryos, and a later FET will take place in the spring.)

My husband is 51 w/ normal SA, although his morphology scores are on the low end.  We have not had a DNA fragmentation test done on his sperm. He did practice recurrent ejaculation every 24 hours the week of retrieval, and ejaculated 24 hours prior to collection. Fertilization was performed by ICSI.

We are disheartened by the failed first retrieval cycle, and are preparing to begin a second retrieval cycle. Do you have any advice to offer?

Thanks so very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Marie Ziegfeld

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

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
e. Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) Infection of cervical mucous and the endometrial lining of the uterus, can sometimes present as unexplained early pregnancy loss or unexplained failure following intrauterine insemination or IVF. The infection can also occur in the man, (prostatitis) and thus can go back and forth between partners, with sexual intercourse. This is the reason why both partners must be tested and if positive, should be treated contemporaneously.
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

My final IVF cycle at SIRM-LV commences on March 19th and concludes on April 2nd. If you are interested in undergoing a fresh IVF treatment cycle with me or if you have embryos cryopreserved at SIRM-LV and wish to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) prior to my departure, please contact me immediately….. My March cycle is likely to be very much in demand…….So, time is of the essence!
Following my departure from SIRM in mid-April, 2019, I will continue to provide comprehensive consultations to those of you that wish to have my guidance. Upon scheduling a SKYPE consultation with me, you will promptly receive a detailed questionnaire, along with a request that you submit available medical records for my review prior to our consultation. Additional tests and records can/will be requisitioned later, as needed. Your +/- 1 hour comprehensive SKYPE consultation will be followed by a detailed written report which you can also share with your personal Fertility Physician.
I will soon be posting a list of internationally regarded Fertility Specialists whom I endorse and who will have expressed a willingness to implement my suggested approaches, at their discretion. It is to one of these doctors that I would selectively refer you…upon request.
CONTACT INFORMATION:
• Online: Go to sherivf.com and Schedule a Skype Consultation. Upon doing so, you will be able to download a free copy of my new eBook ” Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and Unexplained IVF Failure: The Immunologic Link”
• Phone
o If you live in the USA or Canada: Please call 1-800-780-7437 or 702-533-2691
o If you reside elsewhere Abroad: Please call 702-533-2691
o Email: concierge@SherIVF.com
Please monitor this website for future announcements on further developments.
Geoff Sher

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