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ivf while nursing? - Page 2

post #21 of 116
My daughter was conceived with my first try of injectable gonadotrophin treatment (similar drugs as IVF, just lower doses and not as intense) when I was 38. Now I'm 40 and my baby is 18 months. I've done #3 more rounds of gonadotrophin treatments, starting when she was 12 months...and been entirely unsuccessful. We co-sleep and night nurse.

Did the last #3 treatments fail because I'm older? Does her nursing somehow affect my fertility? I stimulated reasonably well #2 of the #3 times, so I ovulated, but were the eggs bad, or does nursing adversely affect implantation somehow?

I don't know the answers to my situation, but I am unwilling to wean my tiny girl to try again as this very well might be my only child--if I'm not conceiving due to my age and the quality of my eggs.
post #22 of 116
Wow, did I need to find this thread today. I just tried night weaning for a heartwrenching 45 minutes last night,and I couldn't stand it,there has to be a better way. My son just turned 2, I turn 42 at the end of Jan. and I"m on the IVF waitlist, so need to start meds probably in Feb or March. My son loves nursing and it feels so wrong to make him cry and traumatize him. I love nursing and co-sleeping, but want him to have a sibling. I got pregnant naturally twice (m/c both time) and on my first month of Clomid (that was my son) 2.5 years ago, but no luck in a year of trying on our own, with CLomid, and with CLomid and IUI. My FSH etc is good, but the RE told me my ovaries didnt' look like they were ready to produce a lot of eggs, so he doesn't know if I'll stim well.
MommalovesJAy, I'm Canadian too, and am at the Calgary clinic. May I ask which clinic agree to let you nurse and BF? Did they tell you your chances were diminished?
I know there is a solution to this, I"m just not sure what it is. Another mom on a different board talked about her son's short term need to nurse vs. his long term need for a sibling. I guess at my age the sibling is a real gamble, but the nursing is a sure thing! I do'nt want to regret weaning, or not giving my all to trying to have another baby. What a dilemma!!
post #23 of 116
Has anyone had their hormone levels checked? DS turned two in September, and is still nursing. However, in August my hormones started to shift. I started having hot flashes, mood swings, etc. I went to the midwife to have my hormones checked because I was concerned about early menopause. All that was happening was that, because ds had been more active and nursing just a little less, my hormones had finally shifted back to normal after two pregnancies one after another and extended bf. It was a relief to know that my hormones are "completely normal," as we are still nursing strong, and will be starting IVF and doing ICSI, hopefully completeing a transfer in July. My first two pregnancies were plain old sex induced, but dh had abdominal surgery that damaged nerves involved with reproduction. Can still use his sperm, but need to use needle aspiration to retreive them. I was nursing (about every 20 minutes, she was/is high needs, and almost constantly at night) a 10 month old dd when we conceived ds, so I guess I'm not sure that the "no nursing" policy i've heard so much about is any more than cya on the IF experts' part. I'm glad I found this thread, though, because it is a concern for me. We only have limited resources for cycles...probably one full cycle, hopefully with a few embryos for more than one transfer, if necessary.
post #24 of 116

postponed IVF due to nursing...

Our baby Jonah is 7.5m.o. He was conceived through IVF. We want to have one or two more babies and we were hoping to conceive the second one within a year or so after Jonah was born because we thought that it’d be a good idea to have a minimal age difference between the siblings as I believe it’d make them more close to each other and reduce possibility of jealousy.
Having said that, we already talked to our fertility doctor about a possibility of hormones-free IVF (I wanted to continue breastfeeding during my pregnancy and so I didn’t want to have any IVF related medicine).
According to his words it is possible even though the chances of success will be probably reduced. Of course, in order to do that a woman has to start ovulating to produce progesterone naturally.
We have few frozen embryos left from our first IVF cycle (we got pregnant after our first IVF), so for us it’d be easier to do hormones-free cycle; after transferring embryos inside the uterus it’d be pretty much the same thing as if it was natural conception with no extra help of making uterus lining nice and thick and etc.
Even if we wouldn’t have frozen embryos, hormones-free cycle would be still possible, the only thing is that they would have to use a single naturally produced egg to fertilize and to transfer which of course isn’t that great as far as chance of success, but still can lead to a pregnancy.
So we were hoping to go with our hormones-free frozen cycle in the beginning of March (our baby would be 9m.o.by then), but last few days I have been reading alot about tandem nursing and I realized that there is a good chance that my milk will dry up during the pregnancy (which seems to be pretty common during second trimester) and even if it doesn’t there is a chance that the baby will wean himself because of the change in milk’s taste which happens during pregnancy. Having said that, it made me realize that tandem nursing may not work out the way I imagined it to and therefore, we decided to postpone our frozen cycle for another at least 9 months. We are not crazy about it, but we have to do what we have to do to give Jonah the best chance for healthy and happy babyhood and further life which can be done by prolonged nursing .
post #25 of 116
I conceived my DS with IVF and ICSI, and my FSH was 9.9 at that time. Some clinics won't take you if you're over 10. (We were at University of Michigan.) I was 38 when they drew my FSH, and conceived on the first try at 39. I have no prior history of infertility, but my husband's quadraplegic so we also had to do sperm aspiration. They gave me pretty dismal odds because of that FSH, and I didn't respond to the drugs very well--we only got 8 eggs, and 4 of them fertilized. My periods were like clockwork, and I suspect I was ovulating regularly. We really want a sibling for our little guy, who's 4 months old. They told me I'd have to wean before we can try it again, which breaks my heart. BF'ing is going really well. Before he was born, I thought I'd wean after 6 months, but now I'm saying, "Maybe after 8 months".... I'm 40 now, and we don't want to wait too long. We can afford 2 more attempts, and don't want to reduce our odds. If he has a nursing strike anytime after 8 months or so, I'll probably let him wean. It's a tough spot to be in--I'm glad I found this board and know I'm not the only one!
post #26 of 116
Did you by any chance see Dr. Ohl? We've been seeing him but were considering a doctor closer to our house, as this doc. accepts payment plans and UofM does not. Just wondering what you thougt of the whole process, b/c that is exactly the same protocol that we will be following (aspiration, ICSI, and IVF). Thanks.
post #27 of 116
Yes, we did! Dr. Ohl had been my husband's urologist for years before we started trying to get pregnant. I really liked him. Feel free to E-mail me if you want to discuss this.
post #28 of 116
Thread Starter 

ivf med/nursing update--question

It's great to know I'm not alone in this...here's our update. I got an extension on our ivf approval, as we were unwilling to wean "traumatically". Our son is now 3 years, 4 months, and is almost completely weaned. He now falls asleep without nursing, which he had not done until a couple of months ago.
I am scheduled to begin ivf with this cycle!
I'm so glad we took the extra time. We felt moving forward to try for another child had to be right for our whole family, particularly since the outcome is so uncertain ( I'm 42, and our son was 4 years in the making). I have told my son that he may nurse in the summer, maybe in the spring...this was because the thought of stopping for awhile seemed more acceptable to him. He is one of those kids who vows to nurse until he's ten-talks about nursing, jokes about nursing, etc.
I'm wondering if anyone personally has nursed with ivf meds, or soon after. I will also most likely need progesterone for a few months if I do conceive.
Thanks for the comraderie- tonite for some reason, my little guy was very sad about not nursing, and it broke my heart...
post #29 of 116
I'm waiting to see how things go with you! Went to see my RE on Tuesday; I'll be 41 in May and my RE is now talking accepting having only one child or adoption...a distant second is donor eggs. We're doing day #3 bloodwork in a couple of weeks to see if I truely have too much "diminished ovarian reserve" for ever considering trying IVF with my own eggs, but he's not very optimistic, obviously. I am still nursing my 19-month-old baby and don't want to quit, either.

Have my fingers crossed for you!!! Keep us updated.

post #30 of 116

My decision, and a question...

Just wanted to update you on what I've decided: after much thought, I've decided to wean my little sweetie when he's a year old, and he can go right to cow's milk. Every formula ad in the parenting magazines claims "we're more like breastmilk!", and I just think, "how can I give this stuff to my baby when I HAVE breastmilk?!?" If I wasn't so concerned about giving him a sibling before I'm too old, I'd nurse him until he's two, and I know weaning him is going to break my heart, but I'm an only child and I DON'T want that for him if I can help it. Here's another question--has anyone ever heard of weaning, then resuming bf'ing? Is this even possible? If I could resume bf'ing him after I'm pregnant, that would be so good (if he's even interested by then).
post #31 of 116
Perhaps you would consider organic homemade goat milk formula vs. cow milk. I think it's so much better for a tiny 1y.o.baby. I have heard that there are plenty of recipes here on MDC, just search for them.
Good luck!!!
post #32 of 116
I did ICSI while BFing DD1 in 2004. As it turned out DD weaned the day of transfer, she was just nursing for bedtime and she was exactly 2.5yo
post #33 of 116

My Experience Losses mentioned.

I struggled with secondary infertility from 1980 until 2003 when current DD was born from our first IVF cycle. In between we fullfilled our longings for a family via adoption and foster care.

When DD was about eight months old we went back to RE eager to try again since we were both approaching 40. He recommended weaning and our hearts were torn. We decided to wait. Two months later he was sent away for an eighteen month deployment. It had been the right decision because I didn't want to experience pg. without him and while I could have cycled with his frozen sperm who wants to go through it alone? Nursing my DD was a tremendous comfort to me while he was gone. When he came back we went back to the RE, now DD was 2 1/2 and I had developed Andemyomas (sp?) that were causing heavy bleeding and OB/GYN recommened immediate hysterectomy~told me I could never have a child again. Well we went to RE and he did surgery twice and finally this past February I was able to cycle. Now DD was three and I was still nursing. RE didn't ask and I didn't tell. I know from other IF friends that he would cancel the cycle and not agree. Those two friends both ended up with healthy twins after cycling and breastfeeding their toddlers.

So I cycled and everything went perfectly at age 42. I became pregnant and we went forward happy to have again beaten the odds. Sadly at ten weeks I miscarried, still breastfeeding DD. Spoke with OB and two REs and all agreed I miscarried because of chromosonal error and advanced maternal age. I didn't do a D&C and they didn't think testing was necessary. I wanted to experience a natural miscarriage. I have a history of a miscarriage and two ectopics through the years. So my primary problem is tubal and we used ICSI for MF.

So in my case I don't think BF made a difference. I have not asked the RE since I feel it is my personal decision and I have researched it. I think there are far riskier behaviors that people engage in while cycling that do not stop them from cycling. In the end I needed to do what was best for my child and she is here now. Of course I want the best chance for a new baby and at this time I am hoping she will wean before we FET in July.

post #34 of 116

Thanks for the posts

MomUveight2B and everyone else,
I hope we (and future newcomers) can keep this thread alive because it is very helpful. Just wanted to say I found your experience helpful, Momuveight2B, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share it. I am almost 39.5 and nursing my nearly 3 year old. She nurses 2-3 times a day (upon awakening, before bed and before nap on the days I am home with her). I will be starting injectibles soon for IUI and am seriously starting to consider IVF, so this thread is very helpful.

Momuveight2B, how old were your friends who conceived via IVF while nursing?

Thanks again to everyone for sharing your experiences.

See also the thread on fertility meds while breastfeeding. I put a good link to Kathryn Dettwyler's article on fertility and breastfeeding there. She talks about potential implantation effects of BF. The article is on her site.

Cheers to all. Keep your head and heart up during this sometimes tough journey of TTC and let us enjoy the ones we have as wholely as completely as possible (I say this to myself as well).

post #35 of 116
I just wanted to revive this thread in the hopes that anyone has more information or updates.

My 17mo daughter is still nursing round the clock, but I've been cycling regularly with fertile CM for 10 months. She was conceived via IVF and I'm hoping to do a frozen transfer when she is 24mo. I do not want to wean.

It helps so much to not be alone. I posted to a board dedicated to fertility and after reading the responses there I was left with such an awful, alone feeling. I was told it was not possible to breastfeed through a pregnancy (what awful misinformation!) and was asked "why would you take chances" with breastfeeding while on drugs. Really, no support in sight.

So, thanks for this thread, even if no one has anything to add! It really changed my outlook for the better.

I have an appointment with an RE on September 7th. We are shipping our frozen embryos across the country since we moved a year ago, and we need to find a new doctor, hopefully one who will work with a breastfeeding mama. It seems like such an impossible task.
post #36 of 116
My story is that after 5+ years of TTC, we did our first IVF at the end of 2002. It worked and we have a beautiful DD. I also wanted lots of children close together and was told by my RE that we needed to wean for 2 months before starting a cycle. So at 16 months I weaned her. Well 20 months and 3 IVF cycles later I was still not pregnant. In retrospect, I regret weaning her. I assumed that beacuse I got pregnant with the first IVF that they would all be that way. Not true!! You never know what will happen and the child you have right now is all you can be sure of. If I had it to do all over again I'd still be nursing. If I get another chance I will not wean early.
post #37 of 116
Thread Starter 
I started this thread several months ago and am so glad its still a topic of interest.
Here's my news- I weaned my son at age 3 1/2, did ivf a month later ( failed cycle) in March , again in July ( bfn) and am beginning a third cycle. We weaned slowly, with humor and lots of love. There were some tough days, but never any that were as bad as I feared. I never denied him nursing, but instead did a brief nursing and then distractions, etc. I know it was much harder on me than it was on him. I am so glad we took the time he needed! He never would have stopped then on his own, and at age 42 I felt like it was now or never. I'm pretty sure the 1st cycle was affected by nursing. The second I had a much better response, so I'm hoping this one will work.
Since we gradually weaned, and since I no longer produce milk, I can "nurse" my little guy to sleep occasionally or during the day when he needs that extra tlc. I'm careful to not build up a supply..
I feel like it was the right decision for our family. It was not a consideration to wean when he was younger. I hope everyone else is able to get through it as well. Even though we may have missed our chance to conceive again by waiting, we're ok with that. He is our priority and although we desperately want another child we felt like we did the best we could for our family, and that's all we can do.
post #38 of 116
I have not been on this board for awhile. We did an FET in October while still nursing DD and the results were negative. She is still nursing morning and night for a few minutes. We have weaned in the daytime for the most part. One step forward and two back. I am currently cycling again and since she is four in January I would like to wean completely now.

As far as the LLL leaders I mentioned that became pregnant with twins while nursing and seeing the RE, one is not very open about her treatment so I don't know the details, she was about thirty at the time and has twins who are five now and doing wonderful. The other had four children in a previous marriage and then had her tubes tied. She did not have any fertility problems and was nursing her three year old. IVF was faster and cheaper than a reversal for her. She told me she took half doses of the recommended meds because she knew that she didn't want a bunch of eggs, just enough for one pregnancy and that she was very fertile. She was 32 at the time and got pregnant the first cycle, her twins are beautiful and must be almost three now. She and the boys are on the cover of the new breastfeeding twins book by LLL. I think their age and overall good health made it easier for them than for those of us who are older.

I would like for my dd to wean for this cycle but honestly I don't have high expectations even if she does. We have used the best embies that we have and the rest are marginal. I am just hoping for a miracle at this point.

post #39 of 116
I saw my fertility doc at the clinic's annual picnic two weeks ago and asked him about this issue. I was asking specifically about using some of our frozen embryos, not a full round of IVF from the beginning.

He said their main concern is the drugs being in the breastmilk, not because he actually thinks it's the most horrible, dangerous thing in the world, but because of liability issues and all that. Imagine in this world of litigious patients how fast someone would sue a doctor if the fertility meds did cause some kind of problem, or some other problem came up and someone could try to blame it on the meds.

He also confirmed that it's best to not be interfering with hormone levels to maximize chances of success.

However, he did say that there are enough initial consults, tests, etc. that if I was in the process of weaning, I could come in and get the ball rolling without any trouble. He said it'd be about six months from the initial appointment until I'd have to be finished with breastfeeding.

So if your nursling is poised to self-wean, you might be able to get things going soon.

The best thing to do is talk to your doc/clinic and find out how they feel. Some are more adamant than others.
post #40 of 116

my RE will do a frozen transfer while I'm breastfeeding

I posted here a few months ago saying I scheduled a consult with my fertility doctor to see if there was any impediment to doing a frozen transfer (transferring previously frozen embryos) while breastfeeding. Knowing that most fertility doctors will not see breastfeeding women left me feeling pretty discouraged. During our consult, my RE wanted to know when I was going to wean, and I told him, well, I don't know. Years? I'm not sure he really got what I was saying, but he was a good sport about it.

He said there are two potential issues with getting pregnant while breastfeeding, even if you have regular cycles and you are ovulating. One, each time you breastfeed, your body produces oxytocin, which causes contractions of the uterus. If there is a fertilized egg that is pre-implantation, it is possible that these contractions might expel the embryo, and of course you'd never know about it, but the possibility of such a thing happening is there.

The second issue is prolactin. Generally, if prolactin levels are high, fertility specialists take care to reduce prolactin levels before trying other methods of getting a woman pregnant. Prolactin levels tend to be higher in breastfeeding women. He said we don't know what impact that could have, either.

He said that the two main drugs they use in a frozen transfer, progesterone and estrogen, are naturally produced in the ovulating woman, and that he wasn't concerned about the additional progesterone/estrogen that would transfer into my milk, particularly since my child was a girl. I also looked up the drugs used in Hale's and I am personally comfortable with and assured of their safety. If I encountered a doctor whose only reservation was the effect of drugs on the breastfeeding child, Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk would be an excellent source to try to convince them of the safety of the injectible drugs.

Bottom line, he said that he would work with me while I was breastfeeding, and that he was willing to do the frozen transfer and a managed cycle with drugs (there is a way to do it with a natural cycle, no drugs) but that although it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding if you have regular cycles, breastfeeding is "nature's birth control" so it is going to reduce my chances of implantation.

He also said it was an interesting topic, extended breastfeeding/IVF, and he'd love to do a study on it, maybe starting with me. Not sure if he was serious about that, but he certainly seemed to be very open to it.

His name is Dr. Chetkowski, and he works alone, without any partners, at Alta Bates in Berkeley, CA. However, if anyone is thinking of switching to him, they do not accept the transfer of embryos from other facilities, though I suppose it is worth a call! http://www.abivf.com/

We are flying to California, where we used to live, to have this done in March, after my dd is 2.

Also, if anyone lives in the Boston area, Dr. Janice Fox at the Brigham is EXTREMELY supportive of extended breastfeeding, and she would also be open to working with a currently breastfeeding woman for a frozen transfer, and would "consider" full cycle IVF. They also do not accept frozen embryos from other facilities, however.

So, they're really out there! I found one on each coast.
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