As I mentioned in the previous post, at our initial visit, I had several vials of blood work taken - I also had additional blood work done about a week later for a fasting panel. We had just about every test imaginable completed - and that was important to us because we knew any imbalance with hormones, any deficiency, or any other abnormality could play a role in the difficulty we've dealt with in the past year and a half.
Please do not take any of this information below as medical advice. I've basically just combined education I received from my doctor as well as my own research to make this post.
The results for my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was was high - which means I have an under active thyroid. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland and then tells the thyroid glad to make and release it's hormones (T3 and T4). My TSH was high because it has to overcompensate for an under active thyroid. Why is this relevant to infertility? I'm glad you asked. Since my thyroid is under active, it's not producing all the hormones it should. Low levels of thyroid hormones interfere with the release of an egg during ovulation - becoming pregnant is impossible without the release an egg.
When we sat with the doctor, she threw out a diagnosis of PCOS because of some of my past medical history; however, my PCOS panel was negative and that doesn't seem to necessarily be my problem. Blood work seemed to indicate my problem with ovulation is more so related to the thyroid rather than PCOS.
I'm thinking this also probably explains the extra pounds I've put on since stopping birth control bills. Birth control pills, oh, the irony…
I'm taking levothyroxine for my hypothyroidism.
Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene mutation
Yes, that abbreviation looks like profanity. Moving on. This is a pretty complicated one - and by pretty, I mean really. I'm still confused about it because there's a MTHFR gene that also makes a MTHFR enzyme. There are also multiple types and combinations of the gene mutation that all have different symptoms and cause different problems. As simply and briefly as I can put it: the mutation I have decreases my ability to absorb folic acid. Folic acid is crucial to the development of a healthy baby.
I was prescribed FaBB (genetic Folgard) which is basically just a large, daily does of folic acid - along with the folic acid in my prenatal. However, I'm still trying to do some of my own research on this because even if I'm taking a large does, the bottom line is that I still can't absorb folic acid. Unless a larger does does help me absorb the folic acid. I'm not sure. If anyone has insight about this, I'd love to hear about it. This is a concern I will bring up next time I'm with my nurse or doctor.
My blood clots
I'm still not extremely sure if this is secondary to the MTHFR gene or its related to anticardiolipin (which was a word the RN mentioned). I received all the information in this post during one phone call - so it all kind of ran together. The bottom line is that my blood has a tendency to clot and because of that I am taking a daily baby aspirin - and when I do get pregnant, I'll have to take daily injections of Heprin (a blood thinner). The danger is that a clot can form in the placenta and cut off blood flow to the baby.
Vitamin D deficiency
Pretty self explanatory. My vitamin D was low and so was Chris's. From what I've read, this vitamin plays a key role in the production of hormones related to reproduction as well as regulating cell growth - both obviously crucial for fertility.
We're both taking a once a week vitamin D supplement for six weeks - then they'll retest our levels.
Thankfully, all others tests and blood work came back negative. So while I now am taking more medication that I've ever taken in my life, things could always be worse. I'm extremely grateful for the extensive testing that was completed and that anything that's going on is relatively easy to treat with medication.