Low Dose Naltexone For Autoimmune Issues – The 411

ivf 6 - naltrexone

Naltrexone itself was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium addicts, by blocking the effect of such drugs. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone also blocks the reception of the opioid hormones that our brain and adrenal glands produce: beta-endorphin and metenkephalin. Many body tissues have receptors for these endorphins and enkephalins, including virtually every cell of the body’s immune system.

In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician with a clinical practice in New York City, discovered the effects of a much smaller dose of naltrexone (approximately 3mg once a day) on the body’s immune system. He found that this low dose, taken at bedtime, was able to enhance a patient’s response to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. [Note: Subsequently, the optimal adult dosage of LDN has been found to be 4.5mg.]

In the mid-1990’s, Dr. Bihari found that patients in his practice with cancer (such as lymphoma or pancreatic cancer) could benefit, in some cases dramatically, from LDN. In addition, people who had an autoimmune disease (such as lupus) often showed prompt control of disease activity while taking LDN.

How does LDN work?

> LDN boosts the immune system, activating the body’s own natural defenses.

Up to the present time, the question of “What controls the immune system?” has not been present in the curricula of medical colleges and the issue has not formed a part of the received wisdom of practicing physicians. Nonetheless, a body of research over the past two decades has pointed repeatedly to one’s own endorphin secretions (our internal opioids) as playing the central role in the beneficial orchestration of the immune system, and recognition of the facts is growing.

Witness these statements from a review article of medical progress in the November 13, 2003 issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine: “Opioid-Induced Immune Modulation: …. Preclinical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected.1,2 Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved. The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.3

The brief blockade of opioid receptors between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. that is caused by taking LDN at bedtime each night is believed to produce a prolonged up-regulation of vital elements of the immune system by causing an increase in endorphin and enkephalin production. Normal volunteers who have taken LDN in this fashion have been found to have much higher levels of beta-endorphins circulating in their blood in the following days. Animal research by I. Zagon, PhD, and his colleagues has shown a marked increase in metenkephalin levels as well. [Note: Additional information for Dr. Zagon can be found at the end of this page.]

Bihari says that his patients with HIV/AIDS who regularly took LDN before the availability of HAART were generally spared any deterioration of their important helper T cells (CD4+).

In human cancer, research by Zagon over many years has demonstrated inhibition of a number of different human tumors in laboratory studies by using endorphins and low dose naltrexone. It is suggested that the increased endorphin and enkephalin levels, induced by LDN, work directly on the tumors’ opioid receptors — and, perhaps, induce cancer cell death (apoptosis). In addition, it is believed that they act to increase natural killer cells and other healthy immune defenses against cancer.

In general, in people with diseases that are partially or largely triggered by a deficiency of endorphins (including cancer and autoimmune diseases), or are accelerated by a deficiency of endorphins (such as HIV/AIDS), restoration of the body’s normal production of endorphins is the major therapeutic action of LDN.

What diseases has it been useful for and how effective is it?

> Bernard Bihari, MD, as well as other physicians and researchers, have described beneficial effects of LDN on a variety of diseases:

Cancers
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Carcinoid
  • Colon & Rectal Cancer
  • Glioblastoma
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)
  • Lymphocytic Leukemia (chronic)
  • Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
  • Malignant Melanoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer (untreated)
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Throat Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
Other Diseases
  • Common Colds (URI’s)
  • Emphysema (COPD)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Depression (Major; and Bipolar)
Autoimmune

Neurodegenerative:

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS)
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
  • Transverse Myelitis

Other Autoimmune Diseases:

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Behcet’s Disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • CREST syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Dystonia
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Pemphigoid
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)
  • Systemic Lupus (SLE)
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Wegener’s Granulomatosis

> LDN has demonstrated efficacy in thousands of cases.

Cancer. As of mid-2004, Dr. Bihari reported having treated over 300 patients who had a cancer that had failed to respond to standard treatments. Of that group, some 50%, after four to six months treatment with LDN, began to demonstrate a halt in cancer growth and, of those, over one-third have shown objective signs of tumor shrinkage.

Autoimmune diseases. Within the group of patients who presented with an autoimmune disease (see above list), none have failed to respond to LDN; all have experienced a halt in progression of their illness. In many patients there was a marked remission in signs and symptoms of the disease. The greatest number of patients within the autoimmune group are people with multiple sclerosis, of whom there were some 400 in Dr. Bihari’s practice. Less than 1% of these patients has ever experienced a fresh attack of MS while they maintained their regular LDN nightly therapy.

HIV/AIDS. As of September 2003, Dr. Bihari had been treating 350 AIDS patients using LDN in conjunction with accepted AIDS therapies. Over the prior 7 years over 85% of these patients showed no detectable levels of the HIV virus — a much higher success rate than most current AIDS treatments, and with no significant side effects. It is also worth noting that many HIV/AIDS patients have been living symptom-free for years taking only LDN with no other medications.

Central Nervous System disorders. Anecdotal reports continue to be received concerning beneficial effects of LDN on the course of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS—Lou Gehrig’s disease), and primary lateral sclerosis. Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless has found a very positive effect of LDN, in appropriately reduced dosage and applied as a transdermal cream, in children with autism.

> How is it possible that one medication can impact such a wide range of disorders?

The disorders listed above all share a particular feature: in all of them, the immune system plays a central role. Low blood levels of endorphins are generally present, contributing to the disease-associated immune deficiencies.

Research by others — on neuropeptide receptors expressed by various human tumors — has found opioid receptors in many types of cancer:

  • Brain tumors (both astrocytoma and glioblastoma)
  • Breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell)
  • Neuroblastoma and others…

These findings suggest the possibility for a beneficial LDN effect in a wide variety of common cancers.

> LDN can be prescribed by your doctor, and should be prepared by a reliable compounding pharmacy.

Naltrexone is a prescription drug, so your physician would have to give you a prescription after deciding that LDN appears appropriate for you.

Naltrexone in the large 50mg size, originally manufactured by DuPont under the brand name ReVia, is now sold by Mallinckrodt as Depade and by Barr Laboratories under the generic name naltrexone.

LDN prescriptions are now being filled by hundreds of local pharmacies, as well as by some mail-order pharmacies, around the US. Some pharmacists have been grinding up the 50mg tablets of naltrexone to prepare the 4.5mg capsules of LDN; others use naltrexone, purchased as a pure powder, from a primary manufacturer.

> LDN is not expensive.

One of the first pharmacies to compound LDN was Irmat Pharmacy in Manhattan. Their recent price for a one-month’s supply of 4.5mg LDN (30 capsules) was $38. Irmat does monthly quality control testing on its LDN, accepts prescriptions from any licensed physician, checks for insurance coverage, and includes shipment anywhere in the US or to other countries.

Pharmacies that are known to be reliable compounders of LDN:

Pharmacy Phone Fax
Irmat Pharmacy, New York, NY (212) 685-0502 (212) 532-6596
Belmar Pharmacy, Lakewood, CO (800) 525-9473 (866) 415-2923
The Compounder Pharmacy, Aurora, IL (630) 859-0333
(800) 679-4667
(630) 859-0114
The Pharmacy Shop and
Compounding Center, Canandaigua, NY
(585) 396-9970
(800) 396-9970
(585) 396-7264
McGuff Compounding Pharmacy,
Santa Ana, CA
(714) 438-0536
(877) 444-1133
(877) 444-1155
Skip’s Pharmacy, Boca Raton, FL (561) 218-0111
(800) 553-7429
(561) 218-8873
Smith’s Pharmacy, Toronto, Canada (416) 488-2600
(800) 361-6624
(416) 484-8855
Dickson Chemist, Glasgow, Scotland +44-141-647-8032
+44-800-027-0673
+44-141-647-8032

 

IMPORTANT: Make sure to specify that you do NOT want LDN in a slow-release form.

Reports have been received from patients that their pharmacies have been supplying a slow-release form of naltrexone. Pharmacies should be instructed NOT to provide LDN in an “SR” or slow-release or timed-release form. Unless the low dose of naltrexone is in an unaltered form, which permits it to reach a prompt “spike” in the blood stream, its therapeutic effects may be inhibited.

Fillers. Capsules of LDN necessarily contain a substantial percentage of neutral inactive filler. Experiments by the compounding pharmacist, Dr. Skip Lenz, have demonstrated that the use of calcium carbonate as a filler will interfere with absorption of the LDN capsule. Therefore, it is suggested that calcium carbonate filler not be employed in compounding LDN capsules. He recommends either Avicel, lactose (if lactose intolerance is not a problem), or sucrose fillers as useful fast-release fillers.

> LDN can be prescribed by your doctor, and should be prepared by a reliable compounding pharmacy.

Naltrexone is a prescription drug, so your physician would have to give you a prescription after deciding that LDN appears appropriate for you.

Naltrexone in the large 50mg size, originally manufactured by DuPont under the brand name ReVia, is now sold by Mallinckrodt as Depade and by Barr Laboratories under the generic name naltrexone.

LDN prescriptions are now being filled by hundreds of local pharmacies, as well as by some mail-order pharmacies, around the US. Some pharmacists have been grinding up the 50mg tablets of naltrexone to prepare the 4.5mg capsules of LDN; others use naltrexone, purchased as a pure powder, from a primary manufacturer.

What dosage and frequency should my physician prescribe?

The usual adult dosage is 4.5mg taken once daily at night. Because of the rhythms of the body’s production of master hormones, LDN is best taken between 9pm and 3am. Most patients take it at bedtime.

Notable exceptions:

  • People who have multiple sclerosis that has led to muscle spasms are advised to use only 3mg daily and to maintain that dosage.
  • For intial dosage of LDN in those patients who have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with hypothyroidism and who are taking thyroid hormone replacement medication, please read Cautionary Warnings, below.

Rarely, the naltrexone may need to be purchased as a solution — in distilled water — with 1mg per ml dispensed with a 5ml medicine dropper. If LDN is used in a liquid form, it is important to keep it refrigerated.

The therapeutic dosage range for LDN is from 1.5mg to 4.5mg every night. Dosages below this range are likely to have no effect at all, and dosages above this range are likely to block endorphins for too long a period of time and interfere with its effectiveness.

source: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org


 

Oh My God Sweet Baby Jesus ! This JUST Got REAL ! – the 411

Oh My GawdThat moment when you speak to the nurse coordinator about your upcoming cycle and learn that since today is CD1, the very next CD1 is the first day of your IVF cycle !   OH LAUD !!!

After starting my day annoyed by people’s posts on Facebook (1) regarding the recently orphaned teen girl who was physically assaulted by a “police officer” in South Carolina and the rude, arrogant, judgmental statements spewing out of the mouths of racist individuals I actually thought were decent people (until they posted the most ignorant and racially charged words a person could say) and (2) a thread which started yesterday about people being allowed to bring children to a fertility clinic for their treatment which turned into a conversation about secondary infertility-  I feel that if you are a parent, and you PLANNED to be a parent, then be an adult and hire a babysitter and stop bringing children to places children have no place being- moreover, I do NOT want to be at a fertility clinic watching women fawn all over their existing children when mine never made it to birth…  it is rude and inconsiderate !  and while I feel for any woman who is battling infertility, there is NO comparison of SI to a woman who has never had the opportunity to be a mother.  There is a different level of pain.  These are two different situations and one does not negate the hardship of the other, but it is just different….  SO after reading this foolishness, I was annoyed until…. My nurse called to discuss the plan for my upcoming cycle and to go over what to expect.

Well, color me surprised that I start taking birth control pills after my next cycle !  In 5 weeks, I will be back to CD 1 and will start the pill along with the donor to sync our cycles YIKES !  This Just Got Real !!  Now I have butterflies in my stomach ! I take birth control pills then I will be on Lupron until I am instructed to start taking Estrace to thicken my lining.  I will also be on two different antibiotics (Doxycycline) and some other one that begins with a C that I have never heard of that is taken vaginally.  I also will have to take PIO and Endometrin plus all my normal autoimmune meds. My meds have been ordered and I will fill them over the next month !!  THIS JUST GOT REAL !!!

I have to purchase another all access pass to Xytex again and look through the all of the profiles to make sure that I do not want to change my donor for a better model (lol).  I have not looked at the donor list since 2013 when I selected my donor, who I used for all of my cycles.  I am going to make sure there are no newer donors that I may like better.  I am kinda nervous about changing donors, but in almost two years, I am sure some new people have surfaced possibly and I may like them better….

In other news, my film has been screening as a final selection of the Reel Recovery Film Festival all across the USA.  I was invited to do a live appearance for Q&A at the New York and Los Angeles festivals and next Saturday, it is screening in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  I am elated that all that hard work paid off and I am now an award winning film producer !

I am still dealing with Ms. Lunatic, Cristal !  For some reason, she is under an illusion that calling my phone from spoofed numbers, posting negative reviews about my books on websites and the like will not be tied back to her.  There is this little thing the Police and FBI do called INVESTIGATING IP ADDRESSES and they can track things back to the originator.  That coupled with public death threats and ones she has made over the phone and via text from spoofed numbers, it is just a matter of time before she lands herself in a padded cell.  It has been since MAY and this woman is STILL obsessed with me.  WHO does that? Insane Assylum-bound idiots !

On the family front, my sister and I are throwing a Tiffany & Co. Themed baby shower for our niece next week in Washington DC and it is a surprise for my niece.  I have been busy learning how to make cake pops and purchasing all the favors and items for the shower.

My mom is scheduled to start her reconstructive surgery on December 2nd !  We lucked out that she no longer has to have her stomach done to fix the breasts ! No flap needed !  She will be getting two new implants and the left breast lifted and made smaller to match the right one. We will be in Northern Virginia for a week while she recuperates.

I am excited about being there because I will be able to spend some time mentoring pregnant teens with the Mary Elizabeth Project and also have time to volunteer at two shelters I support.

I am headed out shortly to Dollar Tree to go shopping for cases of items needed to make blessing bags for the homeless.  My friend, former American Idol contestant, Frenchie Davis, is doing these bags for the homeless on Skid Row in LA this year so I am buying items to help out with her cause.  I also opted to donate the money I was going to spend on myself during my annual Christmas Shopping Spree to a cause my make up artist is heading up to purchase Christmas gifts for homeless and low income children.   I normally buy myself a new coat, boots, jewelry at Macy’s sales, and new clothing I find on sale, so this year, I will not be buying gifts for myself but for children and I feel pretty darn good about it.

In ME news, I have been doing my walk/run intervals every morning for 3.5 miles and again in the evening for 2 miles.  I also go to aqua zumba 2-3 days a week.  I am awaiting a call back from a great ballroom dance school and I am going to take lessons.  I am truly enjoying living on the ocean and waking up to waves every morning or looking at the moon sit and shine over the ocean at night.  I know now that this is where I belong !  ON THE SEA ! lol.   Now if God can get that memo and make my pockets match up so I can buy a house on the Pacific Pallisades and a nice 100 ft yacht and all will be well with the world !  As you can see, I am big dreamer… but hey, you have to have something to work towards.  🙂

I am headed out to Dollar Tree and then off to a consignment shop to look for baby boy clothes for the teen I am sponsoring.  I will also look for cute clothes for my niece and my niece’s baby… onesies are sooooo cute ! 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone !!

Understanding Immunologic Factors and How They Can Affect Fertility

source: http://www.Nurtureacupuncture.com

baby - immunology

There are two types of immunologic reactions involved in conception and infertility:

Autoimmune disorders are more common, contributing to over ninety percent of immune-related infertility. A woman’s immune cells form antibodies (small proteins that target and attach to cells and identify them for destruction) to tissue that is normal and part of their own body. This is an abnormal reaction that is associated with several non-pregnancy related diseases.

Alloimmune disorders, in contrast, involve the formation of antibodies against tissue associated with the male partner (e.g., paternal sperm proteins). Alloimmune problems are associated with less than ten percent of implantation failure or recurrent pregnancy loss.

During implantation, at the site where the fetal and maternal tissue meet (the embryo meets the vaginal wall), the maternal immune cells in the lining interact with one another through mutual exchange of hormone-like substances called cytokines. Because of this complex immunologic interplay, the uterus is able to foster the embryo’s successful growth without allowing bacteria and other abnormal cells to infiltrate. In other words, the immune cells aren’t shut down, they agree to host the embryo when all goes right. Thus, the trophoblast establishes the very foundation for the nutritional, hormonal, and respiratory interchange between mother and baby. In this manner, the interactive process of implantation is not only central to survival in early pregnancy but also to the health of the baby after birth. Problems occur when the maternal immune cells don’t cooperate. Typically when this occurs, it will lead to implantation failure or pregnancy loss thereafter.

How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Immunologic Factors

Traditional Chinese medicine has been treating autoimmune infertility for thousands of years. Modern Reproductive Endocrinology has only recently recognized the impact that immunologic factors have on fertility. Elevated immune markers, like Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APA) and Natural Killer Cells (NKa), are thought to be associated with an immune reaction to an implanting embryo. Anti-sperm Antibodies (ASA) inhibit the sperm from ever reaching the egg for fertilization. Other markers of potential immunological fertility factors include anti-nuclear antibody, premature elevations of follicle stimulating hormone, lupus anticoagulant, and other clotting factors. The main treatment protocol in Chinese medicine for immune factors is to reprogram the immune system so it will not react to self-tissue, and to allow the normal suppression involved in implantation to occur.

Acupuncture will balance the immune system by treating the immune system directly and via the lymphatic system. By selecting certain points, acupuncture can either down regulate or modulate the immune system and reduce possible inflammation that may be causing the elevation.

Chinese herbs are very effective at modulating the immune system and can thin the blood to encourage proper circulation.

Reproductive organ massage (ROM) increases blood flow to the entire abdominal area and all of the organs through gentle manipulation of the abdominal musculature. This technique targets areas of stagnation and adhesions which can impede proper follicular maturation and release. ROM also retrains the breath into a deeper diaphragmatic space, allowing the body to process stress more quickly and achieve a parasympathetic state on a more regular basis. This parasympathetic state is necessary for proper hormonal production and regulation, and helps control an overactive immune system.

Nutritional management is an essential element in ensuring proper functioning of the immune system. Eating a diet rich in organic fruits, vegetables, grains, and microalgae, and eliminating cold and raw food, as well as wheat, will ensure the immune system does not become overactive. Supplementation with antioxidants, flower pollen, and Reishi mushrooms will also help rebalance the body. Including mediation and stress reduction into your daily activities will reduce stress and lower the immune response as well.

Research

Immune infertility is a type of autoimmune disease. Women with immune infertility produce anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) in their reproductive tracts. These antibodies neutralize sperm by clumping them together and poking holes in their membranes. Anti-sperm antibodies also smother receptors involved in sperm-egg binding and fertilization. An estimated 12-15 percent of unexplained infertility in women is linked to ASA.

The “Me” I Never Thought I Would Become and The Stain Infertility Leaves On Your Soul- The 411

hurt

Infertility indelibly leaves a horrid stain on your spirit.  It is an experience so lonely, only those who have gone through it could possibly understand.  It is a pain so deep, it changes the fabric and core of who you are.

I have slowly become the “Me” I never wanted to become.  Slowly, but surely, I find myself at times being cold, stoic, uncaring, unphased, bitter, and a shell of the person I once was when I started this process.  It comes in waves. There are times when I feel empowered and strong and other times, more often than not lately, that I feel weak, like a failure, and like there is no end to this pain.

The hormones the doctors soup you up on wrecks havoc on your emotions.  I have, over time, been able to separate the hormonal crash that happens after cycling, as the drugs are finally leaving your body, from my true feelings.  It is important to know when you are just being hormonal and when you are connecting to your inner self and in touch with your emotions.  Sometimes the lines blur and you feel like you are in a twilight zone.

Infertility is this thing that sneaks into your existence and you have absolutely no control over it.  No matter how much you hope, how much you pray, how much you feel you can control and manipulate, in all honesty, you are a slave to it.

For a woman who is always in control, always planning everything out, is successful at all other things, being a failure at what should come so very naturally is the most daunting and hurtful thing ever.

With every sliver of hope that is dashed, a bit of you dies on the inside.  It is the kind of longing and hurt that none other, save those who have experienced it, can truly understand.

Hearing the “It is Gods timing…. Are you sure this is what God wants for you… Not everyone can bear children… God doesn’t intend for everyone to be a parent… Why did you wait so late….Keep trying, it will happen…. Just relax, it will happen…. Give it time….Just give it God…  God has got you…. etc  CUTS . LIKE. A. MACHETE !

I have spent so many hours pondering what cosmic curse I am under…what could I have ever done in my life for this to be what I must bear?

My entire life, I have ALWAYS been a good person.  I have always had a giving heart and have always given my all to everything.  When none of my “elite” friends could not be bothered, save for writing a check, I would give up a day or two every week to stand in the serving line at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, N Street Village, Union Central Mission, S.O.M.E, and volunteered more hours than I can count at homeless shelters and with the LBGT homeless kids on the streets of NYC in partnership with New Alternatives NYC.  I have taught acting classes to impoverished children in partnership with Tommy Hilfiger Foundation…. and so many other things.  I have given the coat off of my back to a homeless person and had to trek back to my apartment in below zero temps.

Although I do all of these things simply because it is the right thing to do and expect nothing in return, should I not have a few little brownie points with the big guy upstairs?  I am by no means perfect, but I do have a good heart and I for the life of me can not wrap my mind around why a loving God would keep me from two things I desire more than anything in this world.  I would give up everything I have to have these two things. One, finding one man who will be my best friend, confidant, road dog, lover, protector, and life partner and Two, twins (boy and girl or two girls) who are bright, loving, sweet, healthy, and all mine.

After I avoided what would have been the most catastrophic thing that could have ever have happened in my life, the wedding that never happened, I took some time to heal.  After time went by, I decided that I really wanted to be a mom.  There was this deep longing to love someone and nurture another life and devote myself to giving a child all the love and knowledge I have.  I had the best mom ever and my grandfather was the best thing since popcorn.  If I could be half as good of a parent as they exemplified, my kids will be awesome !

There are no words to describe the pain that infertility causes.  There is nothing that compares.  Losing my grandfather, my stepfather, dealing with my mom and godmother’s cancer, dealing with the sudden illness of my spiritual mom/advisor, and even the heartbreak I went through with my ex doesn’t cut as deeply as this does.

Experiencing the loss of a life once growing under your heart is indescribable.  It is a debilitating pain that never heals, no matter how much time passes.  I do not think that even being able to bring another child into the world will erase or lessen the pain from loss.

No one tells you how stressful going through IVF is.  Aside from the thousands of dollars per day in medications, thousands of dollars paid to fertility clinics, LabCorp, monitoring centers, travel, hotels, hundreds of dollars in supplements, specialty foods, weekly acupuncture sessions and herbs, massages, additional specialty doctors, testing, procedures and all the other numerous expenses, the largest source of stress comes from the process of stimming for weeks, going through two procedures, sitting on pins and needles for the 2WW (two week wait) and then learning that you went through ALL of that for a BFN (big fat negative).  Somehow, you put that behind you and put forth faith for another go at it, and it is failure after failure.

After my first IVF, I was elated to learn that I got pregnant on the very first try.  My first IVF was done because I was partner-less and wanted to be a mom.  Color me surprised when I learned that my baby, a perfect little girl, was genetically normal and that I had autoimmune and possibly alloimmune issues that were to blame.  Getting a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is not the business !  It SUCKS !  What sucks even more is that infertility is an illness just like diabetes yet our healthcare system will not cover treatment.

I am now at a crossroads in my treatment.  My eggs are now aneuploid and are not sticking to my womb.  They are dying off before they stick and some are dying off before they can even do ICSI.  The quality is declining and in order for me to have a child, now I must do donor egg IVF.  I can accept that.

It has been damn near impossible to find an egg donor who is black and has the qualities I need for her to have.  I have found several donors of other races who fit the bill, however, that would mean I have to change my sperm donor.  I am extremely unhappy with Xytex now because they increased the family unit to 60 and they do not keep good records all the time because women do not always report live births and they do not go out of their way to follow up.  Moreover, 60 families means family units, not children.  60 women could decide they want 2-10 kids from a donor and each woman represents ONE family unit regardless of how many children are born to her.  That is a hell of a lot of kids out there.  I do not want my children meeting up with their donor sibling and ending up on the next episode of Springer !

In searching for a black sperm donor, it is hard to find an ID open donor who has the educational background, medical history / familial medical history background, and other criteria that my current donor has.  Black sperm donors are more often than not, anonymous donors. I definitely want an ID open donor so that my children can, at the age of 18, arrange to meet their “father”, should they choose to.  With egg donors, it is anonymous, but I am not that concerned about it because of epigenetics, only 8 cells or so come from the egg donor and the millions of cells that will grow to make your baby, the blood that flows through their veins, etc come from ME, the mother.  I do need to leave the door open for my children to find their father, if they want to.

As sorry a father as I had, I knew who he was.  My parents divorced when I was 16 and that was the best day of my life.  But I did know who my father was.  I knew all about him and it made a difference to me.  He died shortly after my stepfather died and just before my grandfather died. They all died within a five year span.

I had given much thought into having one of my friends be the donor for several reasons. (although I initially did not want to go that route) I do not want my children to have hundreds of donor siblings out there, and I have no desire to meet any donor siblings, although many women do.  My children are MY family and I am not a fan of doing this blended family thing.  It would be completely different if my donor had children, however.   I have intentionally never dated men with children because I did not want to get involved in a ready made family situation with all the drama that could entail.  My male friends are all gorgeous, tall, highly intelligent, educated, and down right good people.  They all are men of integrity, have great senses of humor, have wonderful families who have decent health histories, and the men I know are all healthy. They have varied talents and interest, but all things I would desire in a partner if I were checking for them in that capacity.  Any one of them would be a great father.

I am now researching cryobanks and trying to decide which one(s) I will purchase an all access pass to (another expense I am not looking forward to) and try to find a sperm donor that will be what I am looking for.  This is stressing me out so badly.   When I did my initial selection of my sperm donor, it was a long, tedious process.  I narrowed my selection down to I think four and then had a donor selection party with my family and closest friends and my godmom and they all voted for the one I liked most, and I never let on which one I had in mind nor did I tell them who I went with.  I have blow $2300 on sperm vials !  Three vials of sperm for $2300 !  Ridiculous !  I could have gone with a less expensive cryobank, but since I am making a baby like a damned Build A Bear, I saw no reason to cut corners.  I wanted the best possible donor, the cryobank which offered the most comprehensive testing, and one which had a stellar record.  Now, if I do not have a friend who is willing to help me make these babies, I will have to find a cryobank that is acceptable.  The problem I have with a lot of banks is that they do not offer lifespan photos, they do not properly vet donors nor require psychological testing, they do not do the same level of testing, and some of them do not have a large Black donor pool.

It has been well over a year since I selected my initial donor so I basically have to start over from scratch.  There are a few cryobanks which limit family units to 10.  I am definitely going to want a low family unit cryobank.  I, myself, am multiracial, so I definitely want my children to be, although their racial make up will differ from my own.  My family is Black, Native American and White. My children will likely be Black and White (European) or Indian.

I am beyond stressed out at this juncture because in selecting an egg donor, it has to be done now because it could be as little as a six month wait for her to become available to me.  All of the most desirable egg donors are always with a waiting list.  The clinic had me submit photos of myself so that they could match me with  donors, but all new donors they are getting in are not Black, thus, I will definitely have to change my sperm donor to black.

I am so stressed out about this whole thing.  I am working diligently to get my body back to my ideal weight, although my BMI is still normal for my height (thank God !).  I have dropped 15 pounds already and am working on dropping at least 20 more. I would rather be underweight going into another stim cycle, even though I will not be on all those meds again, than to be at my normal weight and balloon once pregnant.  I also worry about getting preeclampsia because of using donor sperm from a man with whom I have not slept with, due to an absence of his antibodies in my body.  That is another reason I would prefer to use one of my male friends as the donor.  I could possibly be intimate with them once to avoid the whole risk, which ultimately is life threatening.  There are so many variables to this infertility journey and it so unfair.

I am SICK of people telling me to trust God and it is going to happen.  It is not like I woke up one day and decided that this is what I wanted. I have wanted this for several several years but I was not in a committed relationship at those times or the relationships I was in were not such that they would lead to marriage. I wanted to experience this with a husband who adored me and would be appreciative of the gifts we created together.  That is not what God has laid out for my path.  I am angry about that too.  It is not fair.  I tried to do the “right thing” and do things the “right way”  and now I am at a point where I am doing what I have to do.  My perception of what was the “right thing” and the “right way” were based on how I was taught in church.  It was not until I was talking to my spiritual mom, who is a Pastor in Atlanta, that I realized that I was doing nothing wrong by using medical intervention to have children.  Married or not, I would still have to take this path.  She opened my eyes to a lot of things and gave me her blessing.  My mom and my family were thrilled that I made this choice, and my grandmother, who thinks she is so holy that she walked with Jesus and sin never lived on her street, also had no problem with me doing IVF.  (color me surprised, flabbergasted, and shocked!)

I have gotten to a point that I no longer desire to even pray about this anymore.  I force myself to pray at 6 am and 6 pm daily.  I have found that by taking my issues to the throne of grace, that I am less burdened.  I am a woman who is not used to being told no.  I am a go getter and I am used to finding a way to make things happen.  THIS is not that kinda situation clearly !  No matter what I do, I can not MAKE this just happen.  Even using donor eggs, there is a possibility that it will not work.  I have the strongest chance of conceiving by using donor eggs.  My chances go from 4 % to 90% and I like those odds.   I will not allow myself to believe that this will not happen.  God can not be that cruel !

I currently experiencing the hormonal crash that always follow a stim cycle.  I will be so glad when my body and my hormones level off.  It did not help things at all that I have been on estrogen for 13 days for the mock cycle.  It was horrible.  My breasts were tender, my nipples ached so badly that I had to pull off my bra as soon I walked in the door (with the balloon from 36C to 38DDD because of these damned meds) because I could not leave the house bra-less.  I also had a lot of irritation after the first week of taking the Estrace.  Just as I was about to call the doctor and ask to switch to the injections in lieu of vaginal administration, the irritation and burning stopped just as quickly as it started… go figure.

Today, the movers were here to pack up the truck and take the belongings that need to go to NC.  I was able to talk them into driving this 26 foot truck down there !  Yesterday, the movers took all of my items to storage.  I am going to dread having to move all this stuff again in a few months once I find a place in California.  I have decided to wait until February/ March to do the donor’s egg retrieval and my transfer because I would rather pay for this in full.  It is going to take me several months to recoup enough money to pay for this damned cycle ! I am opting to do a sole cycle with my donor so that I get all of her eggs.  I am nervous about only getting half of them because I do not know how many transfers I will have to do before getting pregnant.  I would rather have more embryos than I need than have to pay for another cycle and then chance that the donor will not be available.  In the event that I only get pregnant with a singleton, I will do another transfer six to eight months after giving birth (a year max) to give the baby a sibling and then I will done with baby making.

I ask for you prayers and well wishes, as I am overwhelmed beyond measure.  This entire ordeal would be so much more manageable if I had someone to share this with.  But as they say, it is what it is.  I am learning my own strength.