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The Infertile Mind

Who are you? My name is Krystyn and I am a “thirty-something” living in Upstate NY. For the past 6 ½ years I have been working as medical educator in the field of addiction. I recently completed my Ph.D. in Behavioral Medicine. I also have B.A. in General Psychology and a M.A in Community Psychology.

How would you describe yourself? I would describe myself as an obsessive compulsive perfectionist who can’t sit still. I have a very comical attitude towards life. As a teenager, I started using humor to deal with the unpleasant aspects of life. I always say, “if I don’t laugh, I will cry.” I also have a secret fantasy of being a stand-up comedian. When I was 12, I wrote a letter to Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, and asked him to be on the show. Obviously, it didn't work out for me.

How would others describe you? Probably very similar to how I describe myself. In addition they would probably say that I am witty, honest (which isn’t always a good thing), loyal, and kind-hearted.

How did you get involved in the world of infertility? Back in July of 2009, after being married for three years, my husband and I decided that we were ready to start a family. Little did we know that this would be the beginning of a long and painful journey.

That November, I was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. Due to my ectopic and my history of irregular cycles, my OB/GYN referred me to a local fertility clinic. A few days after my initial consult, in February of 2010, I learned that I was pregnant again. Since I was already established with the fertility clinic, they agreed to follow me until 8 weeks at which time they would release me back to my OB. After several weeks of monitoring and having everything look good, the baby’s heart stopped at 8 weeks. At this point it was decided that I should move forward with a medicated IUI. We ended up doing a total of three injectable IUI’s, with the second one resulting in another missed miscarriage at 8 weeks.

In December of 2010 we moved forward and completed our first IVF cycle. While this cycle was initially a success, it ended up being a heterotopic pregnancy where one baby implanted in my fallopian tube and the other in my uterus. Sadly, we lost this pregnancy.

Before moving forward with a second IVF cycle, I decided to have a hysteroscopy done. It was discovered that I had a large uterine septum which was removed a month later during a second hysteroscopy. In May of 2011 we decided to proceed with a second IVF, but this time we would do genetic testing (PGD) on the embryos. After transferring back a genetically normal female embryo, we learned that this cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy.

After two more failed IVF cycles, we consulted with a reproductive immunologist in Manhattan who discovered that I had some serious issues with my uterine lining in addition to premature ovarian failure. It was decided that I would use a drug called Neupogen to help my lining with our next IVF cycle. In December of 2011, we went ahead with our fifth and final IVF cycle. This cycle originally resulted in twins but we lost one of the babies at 8 weeks. It is from this cycle that I have my son, my little miracle.


a blog by Krystyn LaBate, Ph.D., July 22, 2013

Due to the fact that we lost four pregnancies (at that time), my husband and I decided to do genetic testing on the embryos from our second IVF cycle. This is referred to as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). There are different types of PGD with the most common method referred to as FISH. FISH has the ability to look at 5-12 chromosomes within each embryo. This method is a good choice for someone that is looking for a specific disorder or an inherited disease. Since there are 23 unique chromosomes including one that determines gender, FISH is obviously not the choice for someone experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss as 11-18 chromosomes are left untested. Array-Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH), an advanced form of PGD, has the ability to look at all 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell obtained from an embryo. At the time that we did PGD there were just over 100 cases as it was a relatively new technology, not to mention, quite expensive. Despite my husband and I being genetically normal individuals determined by earlier karyoytyping, an abnormal number of chromosomes can result spontaneously from the maturation of the egg or during the process of embryo division. A common example of this is an extra chromosome number 21 (Down Syndrome or trisomy 21). It has been estimated that embryos fertilized in vitro contain chromosomal abnormalities in 50% or more of cases which leads to miscarriages.

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