Oct 26, 2016

Endo Scratch

When our first transfer failed, I immediately jumped into action to see what our options were.

I had read that our doctor frequently performed endometrial scratches that could lead to better success. (part of me just assumed he did this in the first attempt, the same day as my saline sono, but turns out....nope.)

The day of our negative beta, the nurse had called to leave the shitty news around noon.
And between that point and when I left from work, around 4pm, I had two additional emails.

One from the nurse, and one from my doctor.

Thankfully I didn't read either, otherwise I would have spoiled all the "fun" in letting us both get to hear the bad news at the same time.

The nurse emailed to say the doctor recommended I get an ERA biopsy testing completed and would perform an endo scratch with the next transfer, but it's typically not performed until after a second failure.

Personally, I just think this is complete nonsense.

A person has to go through what I just went through, TWICE, (assuming they even have enough embryos), to get the better treatment?

Oh nooooo. Nuh-uh gurl. Don't mess with my only baby. 
No way, no how, was I going to allow that.

I did some research on both of their suggestions, and while the ERA is definitely something I think will be making more of a presence in the future of IVF, I am running out of time this year.

See, an ERA stands for Endometrial Receptivity Analysis.
It is cutting edge technology that helps to determine if Day 5 is the correct day the doctor should be transferring your embryo.

The study reads that 25% of all transfer are being performed on the "wrong day," meaning the woman's lining and hormones may be just shy, or even too far past, their correct development. When the the embryo is launched into their uterus on Day 5, the woman's body may reject it because it's not the right timing.

So you get the test done and it'll tell you, right? Ehhhhh.....not quite.

The nurse did indicate it would be out of pocket because it's considered experimental.
To the tune of $900.

At this point, $900 isn't even a big deal considering everything we have been through before, but before I said yes, I kept digging.

Here is what I found out.
What happens is...you go through the entire transfer process...all the shots, all the monitoring, all the hormones (yes, even those dreaded PIO shots), and then on the day of your "transfer"...instead of putting an embryo back into you, they do a biopsy of you uterine lining.

Sounds like a blast right?
You get no baby and instead a cut on the wall of your uterus.
Good times.

And then they test that biopsy.
And if it's the wrong day....guess what?

You have to do the fucking biopsy again...on a different day.

And you get to pay another $900.

And do more shots and all that jazz....again.

This can set someone back months....MONTHS.

Or, the results could just come back to say....yea, you were doing it correctly the whole time, do you boo. And all those shots and that painful biopsy would technically be for nothing more than peace of mind, should you be at your wits end with multiple failures.

So with that I said a big NO THANK YOU....I'll just take my endo scratch, please.

And what is an endo scratch, you say?

Well, IVF docs believe that by irritating your uterine lining with a shallow biopsy from a catheter, the way it heals releases extra good baby-sticking hormones that allows the transferred embryo to attach reeeealll nice and good-like.

I have heard of other practices using things like Embryo Glue (yes, it's a thing...but the scratch is supposed to trump the glue...did I mention how weird all this shit is?)

For whatever reason, the standard protocol is to fail twice, and then try it.

Well, we all know I only have one shot left, so I pushed.
And I got my way.

And the nurse kept telling me it doesn't hurt that bad, but after everything I have been through in the last few years with scrapes and shots and surgeries and tests, I can tell you one thing....everything fucking hurts in one way or another...so I begged for Valium.

I would rightly assume that a catheter scratching the inside of my lady parts is about as comfortable as sitting on hot coals.

But...I'll do almost anything for a baby at this point, so I headed in.
Mark took me to and from work, as my appointment was scheduled for 3pm.

I headed back to the room with the stirrup table, while a newer nurse awkwardly talked me through the process of undressing from the waist down.
I quickly stopped her, told her I've been here since January 5th, and where is the paper gown, please?

The Valium was sort of doing its magic, so I tried desperately to relax.

Ultimately, it really was a quick procedure, but it most certainly wasn't painless, even with the Valium.
The doc talked through the process the entire time.
CRAMP. In goes the catheter.
MEGA CRAMP.....and the scrape is over.
Think of it like one of those scrapey pipe cleaners grinding over your delicate lady-bits.

So. Much. Fun.

Doc tells me to hang tight for a few minutes to let the cramping subside, but it was awkward enough just sitting there half naked in a brightly lit room, so I hustled up, got dressed and went home.

You will likely have slight bleeding or discharge from that betadine cleaner, so ladies...pack a pantiliner so you don't have to use one of the hospital-grade thunder pads...unless you're into that stuff. :)

The cramping finally went away after about 30 minutes, but the bloat was real.
That lasted for about a day.

Will it help? Who knows....but I'm hopeful we are doing everything in our power to make this one work. And we are one step closer!

Thanks for reading! XO


  1. That is RIDICULOUS they require two failures before doing an endo scratch!! We did mine on the first round, it's part of the standard protocol after my RE discovered it was increasing the chances of implantation. Now I had NO IDEA that was how they did an ERA..jeez what a time consuming and crazy process plus at $900 each!!! DANGGGGG.

  2. Just caught up on this one. You are already doing so much for this little one Tia, it's really quite inspiring to see. Hoping this (painful!) scratch works it's magic in you!!

  3. I'm glad you insisted on the scratch. I can't believe they make you go through two failures to get it. I hate that mentality in medicine and it needs to go away forever. With recurrent miscarriage, most doctors make you go through THREE losses to get testing done. That is insane. Can you imagine having three miscarriages and then the results are you just had a vitamin D deficiency or needed to take a little baby aspirin?! The only reason I got to do it after 2 is because a) I'm a pain in the ass. and B) my OB is besties with the MFM doctor.