Immune Fertility Testing & Treatment Process

  
 

What to expect from your immune fertility testing and treatment with us

This information is provided to help you on your fertility journey with us but is not a substitute for medical advice.

Your medical and fertility history

During your first appointment, our Doctor will want to understand you and your partner’s medical and fertility history. It is therefore important that you bring copies of any relevant medical records and test results with you. It is also helpful if both partners can attend. For telephone consultations, we would be grateful if you could forward copies of relevant medical records to us in good time before the consultation.

Our initial advice

The majority of our patients have a complex medical and fertility history (often having had failed fertility treatment elsewhere and/or Recurrent Miscarriage). Our initial advice at the first consultation may well be confined to our suggestions for further testing before we can advise you on the most appropriate treatment at a follow up consultation.

Follow up consultations

Results from some tests, for example HLA-DQ Alpha, may take up to 10 days. We prefer, where possible, for you to see the results in advance of your follow up consultation as it may help you to understand our advice. Copies of your results will be sent to your home address from the lab directly. When we have received all the results of initial testing, we aim to advise you on the most appropriate treatment at your follow up consultation. However, it is sometimes necessary to continue to adapt your treatment plan as treatment progresses. For example, if you are being treated with LIT, Humira or antibiotics in advance of your cycle, it will usually be advantageous to wait until the results of any subsequent retests are known before advising you on the most appropriate treatments to take during your cycle. Most of our patients will need further follow up consultations as their treatment and pregnancy progress.

Working alongside other clinics

We provide a full service of fertility treatments (IVF, ICSI, IUI, Timed intercourse etc) and gynaecology using the operating theatres and embryology facilities of our partner clinics. Most of our patients needing fertility treatment in combination with immune treatments choose to have both together at our Wimpole St clinic. For patients based elsewhere (or, for example, having treatment overseas), we have successfully worked alongside other clinics many times, providing immune support.

Practicalities of your appointment

  • Where Chicago immune blood tests are required, blood needs to arrive in Chicago promptly after being drawn, and during working hours. Accordingly, if patients want to have blood drawn for these tests at the first appointment, the appointment needs to be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday morning (any bank holidays in the UK or US or any flight disruptions need to be taken into account).
  • If necessary, UK long distance patients can often arrange to have blood drawn locally on Monday or Tuesday afternoon and sent back to us by Next Day Special Delivery before midday so that it can be couriered to Chicago within the necessary timescale. Other arrangements may be possible for International patients.
  • For all blood tests apart from tests for insulin resistance (glucose tolerance, fasting glucose etc), fasting is not required, but patients are requested to avoid eating fatty foods shortly before the blood is drawn.
  • The timing of other tests may depend on your menstrual cycle. For example, uterine biopsies are ideally performed within a week before your period.
  • Hormonal tests for FSH, LH, estradiol and prolactin are best performed on day 1-3 of your cycle (but are often available locally from your GP).
  • AMH (anti-müllerian hormone) tests of ovarian reserve can usually be performed on any day of your cycle.
  • Tests on menstrual fluid are usually performed on approximately day 2 of your period (but are often collected at home and forwarded to the laboratory by courier).
  • Ultrasound scans for antral follicle count are usually performed near the beginning of your cycle.
  • Vaginal swab can be performed any time of the cycle.
  • Semen analysis normally requires a specific appointment at the laboratory and 2-3 days abstinence from ejaculation but not more than 5.
  • Fasting glucose tests (glucose tolerance, insulin resistance etc) are done first thing in the morning and require you to have fasted since 12 hours beforehand. Accordingly, they need to be arranged in advance, but may be available to you through your GP.
  • Therefore, more than one attendance at our clinic or the nearby laboratory may be required to complete any suggested tests, but for long distance patients alternative possibilities may be available.

Arranging infusions

Most of our patients who need IVIg or Intralipid infusions attend our Wimpole St clinic where our Doctor performs the infusion and is on hand in the very unlikely event that a patient suffers an allergic reaction or other complications. For UK-based long distance patients, given adequate notice, a nursing agency will usually be able to administer infusions to patients at home. However, we recommend at least the first infusion to be given in our clinic in case of any problems.

Arranging LIT

We have established a very successful LIT program for years. We do Partner, Donor and Pooled Donor LIT procedures according to the couple’s DQa and the patient’s response to previous LIT.

Referrals

We are happy to see UK and international patients initially by self-referral, although we may, with your consent, need to correspond with your GP and other doctors. To obtain an initial appointment, please call our receptionist. We try to keep our waiting list to a minimum.

Filling prescriptions

We keep various medications in stock at Wimpole St, but, in the event that you need to fill a private prescription from our clinic elsewhere, there are several pharmacies in the local area.

Patient populations

Many of our UK patients travel long distances to see us and we have many patients from overseas. We have experience working with single ladies, couples using egg or sperm donation or surrogacy and are happy to work with same sex couples.

Peer support

Many of our patients have benefited from the support of other patients on the chat forum websites: fertilityfriends.co.uk, fertilityzone.co.uk, health.groups.yahoo.com (Yahoo Immunology Support Group), mumsnet.com, pregnancyzone.co.uk, babycentre.co.uk, rollercoaster.ir, supermama.lt, familjeliv.se & many other websites in different countries.

Background information

The reproductive immunology book, “Is your body baby friendly?” by Alan Beer has been found helpful by many of our patients.