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Depot Lupron and Infertility
Depot Lupron became part of my IVF protocol when we started our journey at a new clinic. I truly feel it was the “magic” to our outcome. Ongoing studies are being performed in reproductive clinics with this medication for those diagnosed with endometriosis, miscarriage, and failed embryo transfer. Before determining my protocol, a test was performed called ReceptiviaDX, which indicated I was positive for BCL6.
Let’s begin by looking at what depot lupron is. This medication is a GnRH agonist medication, also known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist. This medication causes the ovaries to stop making estrogen and progesterone in females. It is commonly used to treat prostate cancer in males and cause the testicles to stop making testosterone. Injecting myself with this medication was a weird thing for me to get over, as I had given it to males several times when working as a nurse.
The side effects are something everyone needs to be aware of because you are entering menopause. I had hot flashes, dry skin, some hair loss, and mood changes. If I had been aware of what was coming, I would have asked to be placed on depression medication to help offset those symptoms. It did go away the moment I had estrogen patches back. I would do it all over again even with those nasty side effects!
Let’s talk about BCL6 for a quick moment. This gene biomarker is present when there is inflammation. Studies have demonstrated that BCL6 is over-expressed in women with endometriosis. It can identify lining issue dysfunction and resistance to progesterone. This is thought to cause progesterone resistance and contribute to implantation problems. Another study showed that women with elevated BCL6 results are five times less likely to succeed in IVF or subsequent transfer attempts.
My OB-GYN collected an endometrial biopsy sample and sent it to ReceptivaDx. This particular test is applicable for all stages of endometriosis and other conditions that interfere with implantation. This is not to be confused with the ERA (Endometrial Receptivity Analysis) test, which looks at an optimal embryo transfer window. The ReceptivaDx test does not tell us anything about transfer timing. It has been shown that uterine inflammation is a major cause behind unexplained infertility, failed IVF transfers, and recurrent pregnancy loss, even in cases where embryos have been tested.
Studies are still being completed to show success rates after utilizing this test. Research has demonstrated failed IVF transfer patients went from a 10 percent success rate untreated to over a 50 percent live birth rate after treatment. Some were even as high as 70 percent.
Let’s tie this back to depot lupron. BCL6 positive patients treated with depot Lupron showed the highest rates of pregnancy (81 percent) and live birth and ongoing pregnancy (68 percent). Treatment protocols are typically 60-90 days of GnRH agonists medication such as Depot Lupron(R). Mine was one shot per month for two months before my transfer. There are several different ways your doctor may utilize this medication with your protocol.
I want to encourage you to have a conversation with your reproductive doctor to discuss adding this to your protocol if you have unexplained infertility, failed IVF transfers, and/or recurrent pregnancy loss. This also applies if you have had your embryos tested. Always follow your “gut” feeling (aka your intuition) and advocate for your reproductive healthcare.