07-18-2005, 07:56 PM
I just spent a while typing this up on another bulletin board, and thought it might be worthwhile to cut and paste onto this one. As an endo patient, I'm actively pursuing immune testing. My lap was in May, 2005, and my immunology test results come in this week.
After researching endo for many years, I've recently been trying to wrap my mind around all things "immune," and it's been a real challenge. One of the saddest things I've discovered so far is how many endo women aren't doing the two most important things for endo IF treatment: lap surgery and immune testing/treatment.
The latest in my growing library of IF books is a good one: "In Vitro Fertilization: The A.R.T. of Making Babies" by Geoffery Sher, et al. Here are some excerpts about endo women and immunological issues. I've retyped what follows, so please forgive any typo found below:
"Endometriosis impacts on fertility. To hold that infertility can only be attributed to endometriosis if significant anotomical disease can be identified is to ignore the fact that biochemical, hormonal, and immunological factors profoundly impact fertility... One-third of women with endometriosis (regardless of severity) have immunological implantation problems that virtually preclude a viable pregnancy. Such women often fail to conceive even with repeated IVF attempts where numerous good-quality embryos or blastocycst were transferred."
"The causes of these problems are (1) toxins in the peritoneal fluid and (2) the immunologic rejection of the early embryo as it attempts to implant in the uterine lining..."
"Toxins that impair fertilization of the egg are present in the peritoneal secretions of most women who have endometriosis, regardless of its severity. This explains why women with endometriosis are three to four times less likely to conceive per month of trying and why procedures such as intrauterine insemination do not increase the chances of pregnancy... It also explains why IVF, which entails removing the eggs through aspriation of the ovarian follicles before they can be affected by the peritoneal toxins, improves pregnancy rates dramatically and, accordingly, is the treatment of choice for most endometriosis patients with infertility."
"Given the potential roles of immunologic problems in pregnancy and IVF, it is important to properly evaluate all women who have the following risk factors for such problems before they undergo IVF:
1) unexplained or recurrent IVF failures
2) endometriosis (about 33 percent of cases are associated with increased Nka, requiring IVIG therapy)
3) unexplained infertility
4) infertility following recurrent miscarriage, and
5) personal or family history of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, and hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's disease."
Of all the things I've been trying to learn related to IF, the immune issues have been the hardest to grasp. I never would have considered doing the extensive testing if it weren't for this FT web site. Now, I can say that, as an endo patient, I would never consider doing IVF without prior immune testing.
My testing was extensive -- 25 vials in all (yowzers). My husband gave 6 vials. Some of the vials are processed locally and some are sent to a lab in Chicago. The results take 2 weeks to process. We're prepared to begin IVF, but the director of our IVF clinic told us that the immune testing and subsequent treatment (if we receive an immunology dx) may make IVF unnecessary. What great news!
Anyway, I hope any endo sisters reading this find it to be helpful in some way. Good luck to everyone; baby dust all around.