I wanted to write a post about (IVF) Co-culture to help those who have been recommended it and need some basic information. When my doctor first recommended the procedure to me I couldn’t find much info online or in the forums. My post references the info I obtained by scheduling a co-culture biopsy date at New York Hospital Weill Cornell’s Infertility Center, the Ronald Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine. Please keep in mind, this info is basic and specific to this center. The protocols at your center may be different so always discuss your concerns and questions with your RE or your infertility nurse.
Just to give you a quick review, since Fall 2010, we have been through 5 IUIs and 2 IVF cycles, all without success. The 1st IVF in 2012 resulted in 8 eggs, 6 fertilized (without ICSI), 3 transferred, none frozen. 2nd IVF resulted in 2 eggs, 1 fertilized, 1 transferred (I did have some empty follicles!@#$$%^!!!!).
Protocol in 2nd IVF was different with the addition of Clomid before stimming and delaying trigger until the follicles were larger and more mature. The embryo quality in the 2nd IVF was of poorer quality which brings us to the Co-culture recommendation. For the next IVF, the plan is to add co-culture and go back to a protocol similar to the 1st without Clomid since it did not help.
Here’s what I learned:
- Not many centers perform this procedure
- Co-culture involves biopsying the uterine lining to harvest the endometrial cells. The cells are prepared and grown in a dish for about a week then frozen. They are thawed close to retrieval time. The embryos are placed on the cells the day after retrieval. The idea is the cells help the development of the embryos and hopefully improve quality.
- Biopsies are performed Tuesdays and Thursdays only
- Biopsies are performed in the luteal phase 5-12 days after your LH surge
- LH surge must be monitored with an ovulation kit, cycle where co-culture biopsy is scheduled, you CANNOT try to conceive on your own
- Blood has to be drawn prior to biopsy and again during the stimming cycle before HCG (in an IVF cycle)
- All cervical culures must be complete and not beyond 1 calendar year of biopsy date
- It is possible to have co-culture biopsy and go straight into an IVF cycle
- The charge for co-culture is $1000 US payable when you start the IVF cycle
- There is also a doctors fee
- Biopsy is performed without any anesthesia. It is recommended I take Ibuprofen 400-600mg an hour prior to the procedure.
- They say I can return to work after the biopsy and moderate cramping can occur
Since I haven’t had the actual biopsy yet, I can’t say describe what it feels like so I’ll add that in another post afterwards.
Ever since the complication in December, I get so anxious when I have to go back to the hospital! Wish me luck!