Saturday, May 23, 2009

prothrombin mutation

So much going on lately, hardly know where to start getting everyone caught up with everything.

One of the things I did this spring, when our ttc efforts were not working, was to get a set of advanced tests that check for various issues that can lead to problems getting pregnant. These are all tests pioneered by a Dr. Beer, who wrote about them in his book Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?: Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage & IVF Failure - Explained and Treated (An absolutely fascinating book, if you know anyone who has repeated miscarriages or IVF failure, they should definitely take a look at this.)
Fortunately I tested out ok on the immune issues (a too active immune system can attack the embryo). But we found two genetic defects that I have that could be affecting my fertilty.
One is a defect in the MTHFR gene which means that my body is not processing certain B vitamins properly, including folic acid. That one, however, is not so difficult to deal with. We just gave me new vitamins that have special forms of those B's that my body can process more effectively -- Methyl-Guard and Ultra Nutrient. I'll have to keep using these forever. (Interestingly, my acupuncturist works with a lot of autistic children and says that they often have this same genetic mutation) If one doesn't take these right form of B's you can end up with elevated homocysteine levels, which cause all sorts of problems, but fortunately mine are fine. The L-Arginine and Folic Acid formula that I am taking as an extra boost for my eggs also has the right form of folic acid. (Interestingly, my acupuncturist said that even without the genetic test she would have figured out that I needed the special B's from the Metametrix urine test that I did at about the same time).
The other defect is not such an easy one to deal with. It is called the G20210A prothrombin Factor II mutation. What this means is that my blood clots more easily than other people's. This can lead to little clots that torpedo the embryo as it's trying to implant and grow. So people with this mutuation have trouble getting pregnant, and if they do they often lose the baby. (Although not all the time I am assuming, because otherwise how could people who have this reproduce?)
The way they treat it is to give you Heparin or another blood thinner during the luteal phase and then throughout the pregnancy. Obviously this is a pretty radical approach, and as a result Dr. Beer was considered a radical (and so is my IVF doctor, who worked with him and is carrying on his approach . But it's also scary, these blood thinners are strong and dangerous. And in case you didn't notice, recently people have been dying from Heparin too...

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