Thursday, January 31, 2013

Excuse my Food Tangent....MTHFR Verdict is In

Just when we thought we'd make it out of this crazy cold season unscathed, hubby must have picked something up on his last stint of traveling. He's over the hump already, but I'm working pretty hard at not catching whatever "it" is. Needless to say, every bed sheet, blanket, and throw pillow that he's touched is getting washed right now. Taking a little breather to talk to my awesome blogosphere friends while sipping a cup of this...

Add a little stevia and you're golden.

I've never considered myself a huge ginger fan, but it's probably because the first experience I had with it was a much too generous helping on the side of an unsuspecting Asian dish. Without warning, I took a huge bite and proceeded to turn bright red, eyes watering, like something straight out of a cartoon. If you've ever swallowed a huge ass piece of ginger like that you know, it's too late....there is no rewind button for that! I learned my lesson and have been brave enough to find other ways of enjoying it in smaller amounts. This tea is the bomb! And yes, it really does help with digestion! Ginger is supposed to have many beneficial "warming properties" according to Chinese medicine and also helps to clear out phlegm and assist in a less hostile environment where sperm and egg meet.

I've been drinking a cup everyday along with huge spinach salads full of raw veggies. I've been in major cleansing and rebuilding mode following the methotrexate injections for the ectopic. That stuff robs your body of folate. I'm on a mission to rebuild right now with lots of folate rich foods, like wheat germ in my hot oat bran every morning and spinach salads everyday for lunch. I am a total copycat and stole this salad idea from the Costco deli after falling in love with theirs, and now I just make my own at home. I don't think I could ever get sick of these...

Spinach salad w/ red onions, grape tomatoes, hard boiled egg, grilled chicken,
black walnuts, dried cranberries, grated parmesan & lemon poppyseed dressing

Are you hungry yet? While we're on the topic of favorite foods, my other addiction this week has been carrot chips. Oh em gee! These are sooooo good, and I've been snacking on them between meals, with meals, anytime I just want to reach for something.

Salty + Sweet = heavenly snacking

There are only 120 cal & 6 g fiber in 3/4 cup and only 3 ingredients (carrots, non-hydrogenated canola oil, sea salt). How many other chips can say that? I am so addicted it's not even funny! I'm salivating now, so excuse me while I grab a handful.  :)

I actually came on here to blog about my Counsyl genetic counseling phone consult but clearly just went off on a food tangent. Thanks for bearing with me! I should probably update on the fertility front while I'm here...

Yesterday morning, I had my phone consult with the Counsyl genetic counselor. They offer this for FREE when you have the testing done. I've got to say I was uber impressed with my counselor Beth's knowledge. Apparently she had twelve years of experience in a prenatal genetic testing setting prior to working with Counsyl and I could tell by the way she was answering my questions. I understood most all of the report reading it on my own, which I talked about in my previous blog, but I did have some concerns still regarding the MTHFR diagnosis.

Beth told me that this diagnosis is somewhat controversial and that there was a great deal of hype about it in the early 2000's, including some opposing findings on pregnancy loss. She said that while it is true many people with MTHFR do lose pregnancies, what they know now is that it may not be THE CAUSE of the losses. In reality many people who have MTHFR might also have other clotting factors/autoimmune issues present. The rate of pregnancy loss in the general public is high as it is, and so is the fact that 1 out of 3 people are carriers of MTHFR. It's virtually impossible to isolate MTHFR on it's own saying it's "the cause", due to the common occurence in individuals who bear other conditions. It would be inaccurate to say "Emily lost the baby because she has MTHFR and wasn't treated", when in reality, I do have the presence of 3 blood clotting disorders known as well. So, many of the studies regarding MTHFR are somewhat flawed, because they ultimately show a relationship of correlation and not necessarily causation.

Counselor Beth also said that someone with a mild diagnosis of MTHFR and no other known issues would not need to necessarily take blood thinners during pregnancy. It's only when the other clotting factors are present that this would be necessary, because having a mild form of MTHFR on it's own is not going to cause your blood to clot or cause pregnancy loss.

What MTHFR can do in various combinations is to block the absorption of folic acid in SOME people, not all.  In my case, she kept reiterating how this was a mild condition. I asked if I should have my folate levels checked and she said NO. A more reliable way to tell if your body is able to absorb folic acid properly is to have homocysteine levels checked. This is a better indicator if you are absorbing folic acid properly or if you have anything to worry about.

Luckily I just had my homocysteine level checked as part of my RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss) blood panel, and my level was 6.3 on a scale (5-12). I'm so glad I had that test done by the way! It's nice and low which shows the MTHFR is NOT affecting my ability to absorb folic acid, and further proof that my diagnosis is really not much to worry about. It's when homocysteine levels are elevated, that there could be cause for concern. As I mentioned in my previous blog, some dr.'s do advise taking Lovenox and aspirin upon pregnancy as a precaution for the MTHFR condition, especially when paired with other blood clotting factors. I'm already taking baby aspirin daily and have my script for Lovenox ready to go the minute I find out I'm pregnant, so I'm all set there. 

So, I guess you can say I'm not going to worry my pretty little head about the whole MTHFR thing. I'm not an expert on MTHFR by any means, so if you have this condition please seek your own medical advice in relation to the combination of enzymes you possess and the severity of your diagnosis based on your own individual circumstances. As for me, I'm glad to know it's there, but also glad to know it's really not going to change my protocol when it comes down to it. Going on with business as usual here!

I did inquire about hubby's abnormal 45x, 46xy karyotype as well for a second opinion after the last genetic counselor couldn't give us many answers. Counselor Beth basically said she unfortunately had the same feedback...that this karyotype is one of those things that "just may or may not affect anything." She said she wouldn't necessarily recommend doing PGS with our IVF based only on the fear of passing down this abnormal karyotype.  She did, however, suggest that PGS could be very beneficial for us solely based on my age of almost 35. She talked about the aging of eggs, the prevalence of chromosome abnormalities, rate of miscarriage, Down's Syndrome and other trisomy conditions. She said that age and risk factors such as these would be the larger reason for choosing to have PGS done on our embryos and NOT hubby's chromosome analysis.

This means we've had 2 professional genetic counselors now tell us that it's basically "up to us" if we want to do PGS with our IVF. We know that PGD is clearly not needed now that we've done all of the genetic testing, but PGS still remains a personal decision. We will continue thinking on this and discussing it. I haven't even priced the entire PGS procedure as an add on to IVF either, but at this point it's not about money for's about doing what is best and having the best probable rate of a successful pregnancy.

Of course, we are still praying for a miracle this month to avoid IVF altogether, so please keep us in your prayers as we give it our best shot. Fertility Friend is predicting ovulation in about 7-10 days, so we'll see if it's right. Testing with OPK's begins tomorrow!


  1. Your salad looks absolutely incredible! I wasn’t even hungry but after seeing the picture and reading what you put in it, I am starving now :)

    That is awesome that they have a counselor that does a follow up call with you, what a great reassurance! I’m so happy that everything is looking good for you and that you won’t need to do PGD before a transfer. I am with you on the PGS though, with our increasing age, it’s worth the extra money for piece of mind that your baby is healthy and your chance of another miscarriage is decreased.

    Did your hubby have karyotype testing done in addition to the genetic counsyl? My RE wants mine to do that, but if they found out all they did with the genetic counsyl, that would save thousands!

    Lots of baby dust your way and I'm praying that you get your miracle this month and don’t need IVF :)

    1. We both had the karyotyping done separately Sara. However, it was covered by insurance since my RE coded the order for "recurrent pregnancy loss". We had it done when we found out we were losing our second pregnancy. I'm not sure how much it would have cost without coverage on that one since we have zero fertility coverage.

      You might be able to have some of these tests covered simple as "prenatal testing" though if ordered by your physician that way. You might even want to ask your OB about them instead of an RE, if you are seeing one. I've noticed that my insurance will deny certain claims that seem to be fertility related but if the order comes from my OB and is just coded as "prenatal testing" they cover it. Oh, the games we play to get things covered, but it does work in some instances!

    2. Thank you for your reply! I went back through my paperwork from my first recurrent pregnancy loss and all of mine was there (so exciting!). My OB never went over the results with me, just said everything was fine so I didn't even know what they tested for until a couple of days ago.

      The nurse came back and said Chris' was a LOT less than we were expecting, so they did it Friday and gave him the paperwork so we could send it off to his insurance company this week.

      Thank you again for all of your info :)

  2. Sounds like a great phone call session with the counselor. I'm really happy how well everything went and I'm glad that in your case MTHFR isn't affecting you too much. Fingers crossed, prayers, positivity and lots of love your way for you to get a BFP this round!! Oh, and the food looks YUM!

  3. Hey girl! Would you email me, so I can ask you some questions about other things you've given up. My email is

    Thanks for the encouragement :)))

  4. I just love it when you talk about food. It always looks so delicious. As I was reading your post I was drinking tea myself and it made me want some of the ginger one. Ive grown bored of the teas I've been drinking. Smh! I am glad you got a knowledgeable counselor. Its always best to hear confidence in someones voice while you are seeking their help to elaborate on things you dont understand. I am praying you get a BFP this cycle so you wont have to move on to IVF. =D

  5. Food porn!! LOVE. Sounds like you guys are getting so well informed and will be completely ready when the time comes for your IVF. (though I'm hoping that you get a miracle before you go that route!)

    Big hugs and thanks so much for your recent post. Always appreciate your opinions, comments and support!!

    More later. I'm EXHAUSTED. But I've been behind this past week, and had to at least comment!