Thursday, 19 May 2011

IVF and eggs

An oeuf is an oeuf
Well it looks as if Marty is going to have to learn to write pretty soon just to sign autographs.
Yup, we appear to have become famous, or at least far more famous than we ever were... which wasn’t difficult on account of us not being famous at all.
It all boils down to the wonders of IVF and egg white. Not content with just being the base ingredient of the culinary wonder that is meringue, eggs have branched out into the medical world and become the prime component in the creation of young Marty, or ‘Chicken boy’ as I might start to call him.
It all started when we tried, and failed, to have a baby. So we tried a bit more... and failed a bit more. So we had some tests and, sadly, these came back with the most damning verdict of all; ‘unknown infertility’. This was bad because it wasn’t an answer; I was fertile, Leanne was fertile, it should be working for us but it wasn’t and no one knew why.
So what do you do? If they’d told me:
Look, your balls have fallen off, we're all dreadfully sorry about it but we can’t find them anywhere so we're afraid you can’t have kids’
At least I’d have had a definite answer and we’d have had to move on in our lives.
After all, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of people in the world, we still had each other and, if the worst came to the worst, we could always borrow a niece or nephew to look after us in our dotage.
But a diagnosis of ‘unknown’ just leaves you with frustrated hope and, with something as emotively primal as having a baby, you can’t just turn your back on this hope.
So we tried IVF and were shocked when it failed. So we tried again and were utterly devastated when that also failed. So Leanne hit Google and started to find out as much as she could about the subject and what came up time after time was ‘immunology issues’, specifically the book by Alan E. Beer "Is your body baby friendly". Sadly Mr Beer is no longer with us, but Marty and many other youngsters are here because of him.
So off we went to the experts at CARE and we were told that this was an area they were currently working on and we could have some ‘Chicago tests’ if we wanted. So we did the tests and they came back saying that Leanne and I shared some common genes that might make it more difficult for the embryo to defend itself in the womb. On top of this Leanne also had a very active immune system and that would make it still harder for the embryo to win through.
Finally! We had some definite causes and, hopefully, a solution that wouldn’t require us to remortgage the house.
And this is where the egg white came in; apparently it works by helping to suppress the body’s immune system and, almost as importantly, it achieves this cheaply and with few, if any, adverse reactions.
Well there we go; eat a couple of extra large omelettes, add a bit of mayo and finish with a baked Alaska for desert and Leanne would be pregnant before you could say ‘More please sir’.
Obviously it was a little more complicated than that... but not by much; Leanne had to have an ‘intralipid’ drip just before egg transfer and a second one once we knew she was pregnant.. and that was it! Bob’s your uncle, Marty’s your son.
The tale of our endeavours seems to have interested the press, with first our local newspaper, the ‘Grantham journal’, running a Mother’s Day story and now the Mail on-line taking an interest. And today we got a call from Central News asking if we’d like to be on the telly!
One of the other medical issues with all this is that, if Leanne had got pregnant naturally, there’s a good chance that her immune system would have started to attack the foetus and she’d have miscarried – or at least have been at high risk of a miscarriage.
Which makes me wonder if this is a possible treatment for some of those women who have had multiple miscarriages?

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