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.