Dear Professor Winston
I am a 40 year old female who has under gone 2 failed IVF treatments (funded) during the last two years. My consultant suggested egg donation would now give us a much higher chance of success as he suspects poor egg quality is the reason for our IVF being unsuccessful. He has suggested a clinic in Cyprus, which he has links to, and reports success rates of 70% as the women donating eggs are younger than donors in the UK, therefore the quality of their eggs are likely to be better. Do you agree with this? and are such high success rates possible?
My dilemma now, however, is whether to proceed at all with IVF. I have recently been recalled back for a second Lletz procedure as the pathologist looking at my biopsy in October 2014 has been found to have made an error and early cancer cells found to be present. The specimen/biopsy has shown no residual disease which the consultant is quite reassured by. I have had 15mm removed in total and now fear risk of miscarriage and pre-term delivery. This is a very upsetting and stressful time. I see on your website that your colleagues are currently carrying out research into pre-term birth after pre-cancer treatment. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. I also have a submucosal fibroid measuring 4x 5cm . I had a hysteroscopy earlier this year and my consultant said it is not distorting the uterine cavity and should not compromise any future IVF treatments. As i now have to wait 6 months for a smear test this would be a good time to have the fibroid removed -if you think it may be a problem?
We are finding this journey emotionally exhausting and now with the extra factor of expense (£10,000K in Cyprus) we really need to know if we stand a reasonable chance of success or is it realistically time to move on.
I would be extremely grateful for any advice you may be able to offer me.
Kind regards, H

Reply…

Dear H,

As there appears to be even less regulation in Cyprus than in the UK, I would be cautious about claims of very high success rates which are well outside expected norms. How young are these donors – 18???? In women receiving egg donation and who are still menstruating, egg donation carries around a 35% birth rate. I don’t know what the success rate is when three or four embryos from donated eggs are placed in the uterus but this is a totally unacceptable and dangerous practice which should not, in my view, be contemplated in any country. The pregnancy rate in women who are well past the menopause and not therefore menstruating is perhaps 15% better. This is because it is easier to prepare the uterus before transfer to get it in an optimal state using hormone treatments.

It is difficult to comment on the fibroid without a careful view of it, but I think I would certainly consider its removal if it genuinely is five centimetres. Submucosal fibroids are associated with infertility. Have your periods changed much? Got heavier or more painful?

As to the cancer smears, I would not be too concerned but I really think you have to ask the opinion of these doctors. The risk of miscarriage and premature labour is certainly there but it may have been exaggerated. Their careful opinion is important.

Best wishes
Robert Winston

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