Breastfeeding Through Fertility Treatments (IVF and FET)

So, I’ve made an important decision.  I didn’t make it lightly or quickly.  It involved information that was, frankly, very hard to find.  I want to include my research here so someone else might be able to find it in the future. I’ll talk about my decision at the end.


The topic: Doctors require you de riguer to wean your baby before attempting a subsequent IVF or FET cycle.  This might seem like a black and white issue to some – why not wean if you doctor says so?  You want to have another baby right?  But, for infertile women it is a very loaded question.  I have journeyed through hell to get my baby and I want to give her ALL that I can.  At the same time I want more children and want to bring my embryos a chance at life.  Sadly, this isn’t researched/discussed at all and most (in the US nearly ALL) doctors won’t even discuss it with you.

I don’t want to hurt Aellyn with drugs.  I dont’ want to hurt our breastfeeding relationship by reducing my supply drastically or weaning.  I don’t want my Frozen Embryo Transfer not to work.  I don’t want to wait (as I get older and older) to attempt to have more children.  If we have to build our family in another way (foster, adopt, etc.) time is ticking.  So, I wanted the facts.  I didn’t want to just take at face value “thou shalt wean.”

Here is what I’ve found:

The absolute best resource I could find was from a talk by Jeany Elliot of the Australian Breastfeeding Association – Hot Milk Podcast on Breastfeeding Through IVF Treatment.  She had 2 children via IVF and FET while breastfeeding.  Here are my notes from her podcast or you can listen yourself at the link.

Knee jerk on the part of doctors reaction to wean a child before treatment.  Prolactin inhibits ovulation and development of the lining.  Prolactin levels decrease over time.  Many women resume ovulation while continuing to breastfeed.  “You must wean” fails to recognize the wide diversity of patients and not given true choice.

Are the drugs dangerous to the baby? Determined by age of child, frequency of nursing, and types of drugs.

  1. BCP (birth control pills) – no harm to baby.  some reduction in milk supply (however, pregnancy will also reduce supply so that isn’t a good reason to wean).
  2. Gonadotropin releasing hormone (Lupron – injection, Synarel – spray) –   drugs for suppression.  Broken down by baby’s digestive system[1. She talks about this with several of the drugs.  The point being that they aren’t give to women orally specifically because they break down in digestion and not enough reaches the blood supply to work.  Even if some reaches the mothers breastmilk and then the baby gets it the drug must be digested by the baby.  The resulting bioavailability is exceedingly low].  Given once or twice a day so you can breastfeed immediately before dosing to reduce exposure (note: she isn’t saying this is necessary but just an additional way to reduce risk if it bothers you).
  3. Clomid – superovulation, daily oral dose.  once per day so time breastfeeding.  May cause reduction in milk supply (see caveat above #1)
  4. Stimulation drugs (Gonal-F, FSH, LH) – normal hormones in menstruating women with no harm to baby.  Once daily so time breastfeeding. 4-6 hour half-life common.  If it passes through it is unlikely to be absorbed by baby’s digestive system into the bloodstream.
  5. HCG (ovidrel) – triggers ovulation.  injection.  normal hormone of pregnant women.  no known harm to babies.  Once daily so time breastfeeding.
  6. *Progesterone – (injectible PIO or suppositories) normal hormones in women.  no known harm to babies.
  7. (she did not talk about this but I added it because it is used in my FET protocol) *Estrogen (estrace) – normal hormone.

Who NEEDS to wean:

  1. menstrual cycle not returned during lactation
  2. women who do not ovulate without drugs – prolactin would interfere so weaning would be better

Who MAY NOT need to wean (ideal candidate for not weaning):

  1. resumed regular menstrual cycles with adequate luteal phase and known ovulation – no benefit of weaning
  2. frozen embryos don’t need to superovulate.  all they need is timing – no benefit of weaning
  3. male factor is reason for infertility
  4. Fallopian tube blockage is reason for infertility
  5. b/f child over 1 year
  6. not breastfeeding more than 3 or 4 times a day

Psychological issues – 2 mindsets

  1. Will you regret not doing “everything” to make it successful?
  2. Nothing is guaranteed in infertility treatments.  I’m not going to compromise the b/f relationship with the child I have for a pregnancy that might not happen.

She didn’t tell the doctors! :)

*****

Other resources:

Dr. Hale’s thread on fertility drugs during lactation.  I also checked LactMed.  For FET protocol (at my clinic they do not use Lupron just estrace and then progesterone.  medrol and tetracycline on transfer day) all of the drugs are generally recognized as safe during breastfeeding by LactMed and the AAP.

Transition to Full Fertility at Kelly Mom

Trying to Conceive while Breastfeeding at Kelly Mom

*****

I’ve lost much sleep worrying about this and then I decided to just do what I do best – research.  Now I feel comfortable with my decision.  I’m going to do my FET while breastfeeding and I’m not going to tell my doctors.

How did I choose this?

  1. I’ve had clockwork menstrual cycles since Aellyn was 8 months old.
  2. I know (via Natural Family Planning methods) that I’m ovulating
  3. Aellyn will be 18 months this summer
  4. She currently nurses 3-4 times a day
  5. We have male factor infertility
  6. I’m doing a Frozen embryo not fresh cycle (thus I don’t need to superovulate)
  7. I’m lying because a) I believe, through my research, that it is not life threatening to me or my child (I wouldn’t lie about something germane to our health) and therefore b) I’m not going to argue my case with my doctor about what comes down to a judgment call when her judgment might not (and probably doesn’t) include the value I place on breastfeeding and c) I know my FET has about a 30-40% chance of success and I won’t blame breastfeeding on a failure but I would blame myself for prematurely weaning Aellyn.

I hope they don’t read my blog!


Edited to Add: Based on Deb’s comment I’m going to post some things I find about prolactin and implantation.
The Role of Prolactin in Implantation and Luteal Maintenance in the Ferret
BRUCE D. MURPHY

“It is concluded that PRL can sustain luteal progesterone production during the first half of pregnancy in hypophysectomized ferrets. Further, PRL can qualitatively maintain the CL of pregnancy as evidenced by its ability to induce embryo implantation in hypophysectomized ferrets.”

Paracrine control of uterine differentiation and implantation
HN Jabbour, HOD Critchley & O Gubbay

Prolactin is secreted by the decidualised endometrium at the time of predicted conception and in the event of pregnancy local expression/secretion of prolactin persists until term.  PRLR deficiency results in implantation failure[4. Paracrine refers to hormones that are secreted locally into adjacent cells as opposed to hormones released into the bloodstream]

http://www.biology-online.org/articles/control-human-trophoblast-function/decidualization.html

Decidualization

In order for implantation to occur, endometrium has to be changed into decidua. This process consists in modifying endometrial stromal cells, uterine glands and vessels, as well as the population of uterine immune cells. In humans, unlike other species [1], decidualization is independent of the blastocyst’s presence in the uterine cavity and begins in the late secretory phase of the menstrual cycle. It is evoked by progesterone
Together, these results show that luteal P4 production via ovarianPRLR signaling is required for implantation and early pregnancy.The function of uterine PRLR remains unclear. However, the eventualloss of pregnancy in P4-treated PRLR-/- mice suggests that uterine PRLRmay be essential for the support of late gestation
Control of luteal function and implantation in the mink by prolactin – I read the following passage and it sounded bad because it uses the word termination.  I had to find out what embryonic diapause was.  It is a dormancy state of an embryo that some mammals use when ecological conditions are not right for having offspring.  This allows the embryo to suspend its development until conditions are right when it then implants.  so “termination of embryonic diapause” is the embryo coming out of dormancy and implanting.
Mink (Mustela vison) were treated during the period of embryonic diapause with prolactin or ergocryptine (CB-154). Prolactin advanced implantation time and hastened onset of luteal phase progesterone secretion. Duration of gestation in prolactin-treated adult mink was shorter than that of control mink. Ergocryptine had the opposite effects, prolonging gestation and inhibiting onset of luteal phase progesterone secretion. Prolactin is suggested to be the luteotrophin necessary for termination of embryonic diapause in mink.

Hormonal requirement for ovum implantation – This article isn’t about humans but I took it to read that either progesterone alone or progesterone and estrogen are needed for implantation.

examination of effects on hormone levels and the receptivity of target tissues of drugs which interfere with implantation. The reported results indicate that both progesterone and estrogen are needed for implantation in rats, mice, and Mongolian gerbils; in other species of animals progesterone alone may be sufficient to induce implantation, although synergistic effect of estrogen appears to be seen in some species such as in the rabbit. It remains to be determined whether the blastocysts of those animals that need only progesterone for implantation have greater ability to produce estrogen than the blastocysts of the animals that need both progesterone and estrogen. Control mechanism of secretion of progesterone and estrogen for inducing implantation may be different in various species. It has been suggested that both leutropin and follicle stimulating hormone are needed for pre-implantation estrogen secretion in the rat, whereas only follicle stimulating hormone is needed in the mouse. In the species where the obligatory delay in implantation is observed, neuroendocrine mechanisms are reported to be involved in controlling the pituitary-ovarian function that causes a delay in implantation.

Prolactin and Delay of Implantation in Lactating Adrenalectomized Rats – adrenalectomized means “had the adrenal gland removed”

Adrenalectomy before pregnancy in rats caused the persistence of high blood levels of prolactin (PRL) throughout the ensuing postpartum lactation. The persistence of hyperprolactinaemia was without effect on the (delayed) timing of blastocyst implantation during lactation. The findings indicate that ovarian cycles and pregnancy may continue normally despite the absence of adrenal hormones. They reveal that the enhanced release of pituitary PRL in response to suckling is not dependent on the removal of the adrenals during early lactation. The normal delay of blastocyst implantation through suckling, in the presence of abnormally high concentrations of PRL in blood, throws doubt on the supposed critical role of PRL in determining the length of the period of delay of implantation during lactation.
Neither TSH nor prolactin levels correlated with overall IVF outcome
Just more reading for everyone interested!

115 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Through Fertility Treatments (IVF and FET)

  1. I faced this exact same question and found the same talk (I’m a member of the ABA). However, this does not cover all of it. I don’t say this to sway you, just to add some information.

    My fertility clinic agreed absolutely that there was no need to wean for the safety of the baby I already had. However their reasoning was that breastfeeding caused hormone surges in oxytocin and something else I can’t remember (sorry it’s 3 years ago now, it may have been prolactin) which could interfere with implantation of the new embryo. They didn’t ask me to wean, but strongly suggested that I cut down to one or two feeds a day. Their reasoning was that if you are going through all this trouble you want to give the new embryo the best chance you can.

    I didn’t wean but cut down for two unsuccessful FET cycles with two day old embryos. I then weaned completely and we grew our remaining embryos to blastocyst stage, with only one beautiful candidate which took and is now our amazing second daughter. Do I think it was due to weaning? I have no idea. I doubt it, because I think the embryo/blastocyst difference was more important, but at the time it was psychologically important to feel I had done everything I could.

    Also important is the fact that my eldest daughter unweaned while I was pregnant and went on to breastfeed until she was 4 and weaned naturally, so I know that has influenced my views.

    Good luck, it is a hard decision. I sincerely hope you have as good an outcome as we did and have the next child you long for. For the record, not that you need this, I completely agree with the ‘lying’ and would do the same in an instant.

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    • Thanks for your sharing your story Deb! I didn’t know you had a FET baby!

      I have read about prolactin and implantation. I’ll probably research more about that and see if it changes my opinion.

      How cool that your daughter unweaned. I was wondering if I could do something like that for the month of the FET.

      We have 2 3-day embryos and 1 blastocyst frozen. I haven’t gotten to talk to the RE yet about what their plan would be (this is a new decision). I really think that success is largely about the viability of the embryo.

      Thanks for adding to my understanding! :)

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  2. congratulations on coming to an educated decision! i agree that it’s hard to have conversations with MDs about breastfeeding when they don’t place the same value on it as we do.

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  3. I was just thinking more about my decision making process. I guess I see only four possible outcomes of my FET:

    1. I don’t wean and I get pregnant – happy beyond measure

    2. I wean and I get pregnant – insanely happy but always wonder if I cheated Aellyn

    3. I don’t wean and the FET fails – Always wonder if the FET would have worked had I weaned.

    4. I wean and the FET fails – Unparalleled devastation that I lost my embryos AND my breastfeeding relationship with Aellyn.

    1 and 2 are great. 3 would be hard. 4 is not something I can live with. It would be horribly devastating to me. I guess that’s why I’m choosing not to wean.

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  4. @babydust Thanks for the mention, but I think it was @ScienceMum Deb who gave the information. I totally support you, though!

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  5. Thanks for the mention, it looks like prolactin is actually pretty good.

    My gorgeous girls are both from FET cycles, I produce insane numbers of eggs and they won’t let me implant during a collection cycle because I’m at high risk of hyperstimulation.

    I like your 4 options, that’s pretty much where I was. I did two cycles with the big girl still feeding then my husband and I agreed we needed to wean just so we could be sure we’d done everything. I think it’s important to remember you can change your mind and wean later, but not always so easy to unwean even though we did it, so I agree absolutely with trying first. Good luck.

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  6. Have you asked if you can do a natural FET? Since you think your ovulating all you have to do is track ovulation with BT’s or OPK’s and they time the transfer around your ovulation so that it fits in with your luteral phase timing. Sometimes they help you with a trigger and progesterone but thats all so it’s a minimum drugs cycle and would suit you since you wnat to safely BF through it.
    Just a thought.

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  7. Yay! Great post! I’m so glad to find someone else who not only DOES breastfeed through out her treatment, but speaks out about it – especially in an educated way.

    I researched before we did our last round of IVF and decided I had the same 4 options. I did talk to my Dr and she said she would prefer that I cut down to night time nursing and comfort nursing. Part of that for him, and part to aid in implantation, or rather, not to hinder it.

    I breastfeed until I was 12 weeks pregnant, and miscarried. I was away from him for 4 days recouping (no pump. I never mastered that skill) and was sooo worried I would lose my milk supply in addition to the baby, but luckily didn’t and he is nursing again. I’ll be doing a FET again in September and plan on nursing through that as well.

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  8. I’m planing on doing a FET in late Oct or early Nov. I don’t want to stop breast feeding either. I have a hard time lying but would be more then happy to not even mention it to my doctor. However how can I say i’m not breast feeding and then they take levels of my hormoes and they are sky high like I am breast feeding. They have to know. Call it my guilty concious but to me the doctor can call me on it. Am I just parinoid? If I knew I could pull off lying about it i’d just say yeah I’m not breast feeding anymore, he’s still drinking breast milk but it’s from what I collected and stored (which wouldn’t be a lie because I have a deep freezer full). I know I can’t pump enough to store for my son until he is 1, from now until the FET and still continue to breast feed him at night and pump while I work an 8 hour day (pump every 2 hours). I guess my question is what would you say to the docs if they said well it looks like you are still breast feeding your hormone levels are really high.

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  9. You say that one MUST wean if one hasn’ t had a period and if one doesn’ t ovulate. I am 49 and haven’ t had a period since my baby boy was born 10 months ago, don’ t know if it is menopause (I was having periods before getting pregnant) or the fact that I BF very frequently still and during the night.
    Why is that?
    Thank you for being there, I finally found other women who are going through the same!
    Good luck to all of you
    Lucia

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  10. I would tell the docs that you still pump a little bit or squeeze some out just so you avoid mastitis… it would explain the higher than normal prolactin levels. It’s what I’m gonna do.

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  12. Thank you so much for this! I am having a really hard time with this whole thing. The problem is, I have to take provera to induce a period. I am about to start treatments and I’m worried that I don’t have a thick enough lining to keep a pregnancy. Thank you so much for summing up all of my thoughts! My husband read this with me and it makes me feel so much better that I’m not the only one! :)

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    • I’m so glad LIndz! It was a very hard decision and I didn’t feel like the doctors were giving me the whole story. I wish you luck on your decision. Check back and let me know the outcome!

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  13. THANK YOU!!!! My son is 18 months and we tried for many years to get pregnant and I’ve ben battling with wether or not to wean him before our next try (in 6 months to a year). We will be doing an FET also. We’ll see what the next 6 months look like….but we will nurse on through if need be. THANK YOU!

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  14. Hi ladies,

    I’m currently doing a IVF cycle of which I’m still deciding if I should totally wean yes or no. I have read all the information available and even spoke with the IVF specialist about it. He really leaves it up to me to decide.

    By reading all your replies did any of you get pregnant whille still breastfeedilng? Would be nice to read some success stories.

    Thanks

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  15. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I have been worried about this since I picked up my Lupron kit. I start my injections in ONE week and I cant fathom cutting my 20 month old off cold turkey. She only nurses twice a day and she BEGS for it. I think once the volume/taste changes during pregnancy, she’ll naturally wean. (The point about bioavailability and having to inject the drugs instead of taking them orally, really made total sense.) Baby dust to all..

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  17. Thank you, thank you and thank you again for your post, it has helped me very much.
    I was afraid to ask – the fertility center just said “wean” (oh, so easy for them to say) – but when I mustered courage after reading your post and links, and did, their only real argument was as deb says, and I was not pressured to wean…at least not more than what is sadly normal in italy if breastfeeding above 12 months.
    I’m waiting now for the IVF outcome, and still nursing 16 months anna.

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  18. Thanks for all of your posts-they are so helpful to read. I am two days in to having fully weaned my 14 months old. I am really not coping with the whole concept-it feels so wrong. My IVF doctor said just wean and when I started talking to my husband about it during the appointment she said “I don’t care how you do it, just do it” so easy for them to say…..
    I’d be more than happy to keep feeding throughout pregnancy and then tandem feed. I wish there was more definitive information out there. My biggest concern is that BF could affect the embryo implanting-if I knew for sure it wouldn’t I would continue. I am considering unweaning my daughter when/if I fall pregnant-has anyone else done that??

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  19. thank you so much for researching this and blogging about it! I am 37 will be 38 in November. it took us 7 years before finally conceiving our son, who is now 26 months old, with an injectable IUI cycle. I started cycling again when he was 14months, feeling because of my age I don’t have another 7 years to wait, we decided that since it hasn’t happened naturally for #2 we better go back to our infertility clinic. my doctor told me to stop nursing! her reasoning is that prolaction counteracts FSH and so I would not be at my top fertile state while nursing and taking fertility drugs. I am not ready to stop.for a few reasons, i don’t think my boy is anywhere near ready. and nursing though the toddler years feels right. especially when he is frustrated and I get frustrated and we are banging heads and not connection, power struggles etc nursing always brings us back, calms us both down and makes things right again.

    this was perfect for me!!!!
    I was just thinking more about my decision making process. I guess I see only four possible outcomes of my FET:

    1. I don’t wean and I get pregnant – happy beyond measure

    2. I wean and I get pregnant – insanely happy but always wonder if I cheated Aellyn

    3. I don’t wean and the FET fails – Always wonder if the FET would have worked had I weaned.

    4. I wean and the FET fails – Unparalleled devastation that I lost my embryos AND my breastfeeding relationship with Aellyn.

    1 and 2 are great. 3 would be hard. 4 is not something I can live with. It would be horribly devastating to me. I guess that’s why I’m choosing not to wean.
    EXACTLY!!!!!!

    thank you soooo much for your post!!!!!

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    • Your welcome!
      I agree with you. With male factor I don’t think the decreased fertility, if any of lactation, has a huge impact. And the doctors who recommend weaning don’t understand the power of the breastfeeding relationship. It isn’t like “stop drinking coke” for goodness sake! Let us know how your FET goes!

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  20. What great posts! Thank you. I am struggling with the exact same issue.

    When I was 32, I conceived twin girls using FET. (I have a blocked fallopian tube.) My period returned when they were 17 months old. I was anxious to use my remaining two frozen embryos, so I rushed right back the the fertility clinic as soon as my cycle returned. Of course, my doctor said I could not undergo FET as long as I was breastfeeding. So, I lied and said that I had weaned the girls.

    The truth was that they were still breastfeeding, ALOT. I was lucky: My FET was a success and I was blessed with a third daughter. So, it is possible to have a successful FET while breastfeeding — even if one is breastfeeding twins!

    I continued to breastfeed my twins during my pregnancy, which I now see as a big mistake. When the baby was born, it was SO difficult nursing all three. I was so tired and unhappy and yet I couldn’t bring myself to wean the older girls.

    Fast forward 18 months and I am STILL nursing all three. The baby nurses whenever she wants; the older girls are only allowed to nurse at night. Unfortunately, two of my daughters still wake up several times a night, demanding to nurse. It’s very draining, both physically and psychologically.

    Truthfully, I wish they would all wake up in the morning and never ask for “bubbas” again. It is really affecting my sanity. Nursing just makes me angry a lot of the time. Still, I can’t bear to push them away.

    I have always dreamed of having a big family and I would like to try IVF again. I am 37 years old, so it is better to try sooner than later. I know I need to wean the girls — and fast. I start Lupron next week. But, I find it is worse than dieting. I have absolutely NO willpower. I give in every single time.

    Here is my grand plan: I’m going to buy a plaster cast at the craft store and wrap it around myself so my girls can’t get to my “bubbas”. I’m am actually that desperate! Aargh!

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    • Thanks for sharing your story Sarah! I’m so happy to hear that your FET worked while nursing and that you’ve had such a long nursing relationship with your twins.

      I’m so sorry about the difficulties you are having now. I was so sad when my toddler weaned during pregnancy but I can see now how difficult it would have been to nurse three kids. I do think that breastfeeding is only working if it is working for everyone. It might be time to wean if it is effecting you emotionally. I suffer from depression and actually right now having a bout of post partum and it is so important to keep mom sane! Happy mom = happy kids.

      Have you read some of the things on Kelly Mom about gentle weaning?

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  21. I am so grateful that I found this information on line. Thank you Thank you Paige for researching and investigating exactly what has been on my mind for months. I have a 16 month toddler and he is very much still wanting to breastfeed and I thoroughly enjoy this nurturing time together. I so much would like to have another child and I have one more frozen embryo. I want to do everything to make it a successful ivf transfer. I can’t say that I have had a period since I had my baby however I am also 48. I had to take estrogen, progesterone, provera, baby asparin(80mg)and I think predisone for a few weeks. Have you come across anyone else who may have taken predisone as a drug for fertility?
    I want to ensure that no drugs could affect my toddler while I entertain the prospect of going through the next ivf treatment while I still continue to breastfeed. Thank you again, Beth

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  22. Thank you so much for this. I’d love to know whether you had success. I am facing this decision, also. My FET daughter is 12 months old and still going strong for nursing. I’d like to cut her back during the day, but I can’t fathom stopping the night nursing. It just works so well for both of us. My first two children were conceived naturally; I was still nursing the first one when the second was conceived. The first weaned while I was pregnant. The second one weaned himself when he was almost two. That was in a previous marriage and now we have male-factor infertility; I have no known issues and my cycle has been regular again for months already. I really don’t want to forcibly wean my daughter. I’d like to nurse her until she’s two. But we have three embryos left and I’m not getting any younger. My daughter was conceived using a natural FET cycle (our first try, single embryo transfer; we never did a fresh cycle) — so the only drugs are progesterone and an HCG trigger. I can’t see how either one would cause a problem, and obviously I have a history of implantation during nursing.

    When the nurse at the clinic said that prolactin levels would be a concern, I didn’t know what to think of that. I continued making milk for over a year after my son weaned. I can’t wait for my daughter to wean and then yet another whole year (or longer) to stop producing milk. Wouldn’t my prolactin levels remain high as long as I was making milk, regardless of whether I was nursing or not?

    I have asked them whether there is any wiggle room in the weaning, and they’ve said no. I am considering lying about it as well because I disagree with their conclusions and I feel I should be allowed to make the final choice. I want to do FET again in 4-5 months and while it’s possible my daughter will have weaned by then, I don’t think it’s likely.

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  23. Paige, what was your outcome? I’m wrestling with the same situation now, but I will have to do a fresh IVF cycle (no male factor). My 13.5 month old is a reverse cycler so he nurses 5 times between 8:30pm and 5:30am and I pump 2 times at to maintain supply totalling 5-7 feedings/pumping sessions per day. I would love to know what your outcome was…

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  24. Hi guys! I’m so glad people are getting help from this post! My outcome was perfect! I nursed through my FET and now have 6 month old twin boys. I wish everyone luck with this decision!

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  25. Hi, all.
    This is just an update on my previous post. I did attempt a round of IVF while breastfeeding my 20-month-old daughter. I ended up with 9 embryos, which is think is pretty good for a 37-year-old. I transferred two 8-cells and a 7-cell. Sadly, none of them took. I can’t help thinking maybe — just maybe — breastfeeding had something to do with the failure. Of course, I’m afraid to ask my doctor, as he didn’t know I was breastfeeding in the first place! My guess is that doctors haven’t got an answer to this question, anyway.
    Now, I’m faced with another difficult decision. I’ve got one frozen blastocyst which I’m hoping to transfer in the next month or two. Should I try to wean my daughter, just for my own peace of mind?
    What a difficult decision! I know, from experience, that FETs absolutely CAN work while breastfeeding. Still, it is easy to blame one’s own decisions when ART fails.
    Personally, I’m NOT looking forward to having to stay sane through another two-week-wait. Then again, it just might work this time around…
    Paige, congratulations on your twins. You are proof that it really does work! It’s helps us all to keep the faith!
    Sarah

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  26. I just found your post through a google search about this precise topic and I can’t thank you strongly enough for this precise, well researched synthesis. I also love how you make it clear that ultimately it’s up to us patients to take this difficult decision.

    As for my particular situation, I’m 39, conceived my first daughter at the fourth IVF and we still have 5 frozen blasts from that tentative (different IVF center, better biology team, better luck, better outcome all over!). My daughter is now 22 months and still breastfeeding, which we both love very much. I’ve already cut – largely against her will – down to two sessions a day in order to get back my period.

    When I first began to tell my RE we wanted to try a FET – my daughter was 12ish months, she told me that she wasn’t totally against me still breastfeeding as long as I got my cycle back (we live in France, maybe protocols are slightly different here). But when I came back six months later still without a cycle, she did a double take (not very educated on prolonged breastfeeding, this one) and insisted that I had to wean completely, citing the potential hamful drugs (for the baby) as well as having to get my cycle back as reasons. This surprised me as this was different from her first reaction, maybe she didn’t see breastfeeding as so necessary with a 18 months old than with a 12 months old. Anyway, I decided to cut back nursing sessions very gradually in the hope of getting back a period, not of weaning. For me, it was the transition from 3 to 2 sessions that did the trick. I since read from a lilnk in kellymom that what seems to correlate the best with recovering ovulation is the lenght of total succion time, not the number of sessions, and my daughter is indeed a boob-loving succionning monster!

    Now that my cycle is back and I know that I ovulate, I’m tracking my luteal phase to get an idea of its length. If it’s adequate enough, I don’t think I’ll make enormous efforts to wean – now that my daughter speaks, she’s very eloquent about her taste for the boob, and I’d felt so heartbroken to refuse it to her… I have bloodwork programmed for next cycle and we see if the prolactin rise is so apparent! I guess we’ll plan the FET from next spring on (hope hope hope it will work, but since we have 5 chances we might need to use several of them!). She’ll be 26 months then and maybe we’ll both feel different, and if not I’ll probably talk about it to my RE. She tends to be a good listener and I hope to get a balanced and argumented opinion, whatever this opinion is.

    And now I’m heading to the rest of your blog to read more about your infertility, baby and breastfeeding adventures!

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  27. Thank you so much for writing this. My son was conceived through a natural FET cycle and is now a year old. When we went today for a consultation about trying for #2, I was shocked and beyond upset when I was told "no question, you need to wean." This is even for an UNmedicated IUI – no drugs! I was told that my prolactin levels would be way too elevated and would highly decrease my chance of pregnancy. I have had clockwork menstrual cycles for the last 8 months and it was even confirmed in an ultrasound today that I am ovulating. I want very much to continue BFing my son until he is at least 2 years old and until he is ready to wean himself. I cried all day at the thought of having to "choose" between giving my son what is best for him and what I promised myself to give him, and having another child before he is 3+ years old. I am trying to figure out the best course of action to address this and thought I might start by requesting the report of today's bloodwork to see what my prolactin levels actually are. Thanks again for your research!

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  28. Thank you for this information. I was planning on doing an FET cycle- I have only one remaining blasotcyst and I am 43 yo. I am also still brestfeeding my 20 month old on demand which ends up being about 5 times per day. My RE said I need to wean but I really don't want to. My question is will she be able to tell that I am still BF (due to prolactin levels, etc)? I am willing to take the risk but she will not. Therefore, the only way I can continue to BF is to lie. Your thoughts would be very helpful. thanks.

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  29. Thanks for this information. I too plan to do an FET cycle in the near future, and my baby is 9 months old right now. It makes me so sad to think of weaning him when he is not ready – and also when I am not ready.

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  30. Love the success story update!! I feel so much more confident since finding your site and am committed to continue BFing my 13 month old. My RE's explanation for why I could not BF during IUIs was the my Prolactin would be "very elevated." Today I called to get the results of my bloodwork and asked specifically about my Prolactin. Normal range is between 3 and 30….mine is a 3.5!!! It doesn't get much more UNelevated than that!

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    • That's great news. I think they just paint such a wide brush about breastfeeding. For them it is "better safe than sorry" but they don't understand the importance of bfing and the effect on the older child. I wish you tons of babydust!

      Like

    • I agree, and thank you! I very much had wanted to mention all the benefits of extended BFing and why it was so important to me, etc. However, this was my first time with this RE and right after she found out I was BFing, she said she had a 4 month old and was "done with that" after a few weeks. I don't know what the reasons were, but either way, didn't want her to be on the defensive.

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  31. I am currently on lupron for a FET cycle. I did all my research prior to starting the cycle. I didn't tell them i was BFing my 9 month old nor did they ask. I will be transfering in 3 weeks. I am so glad I came upon your post!!

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  32. Thank you so much for this information. I am 40 and have 2 embryos in storage (day 6 blastocysts) and still BF my 23 month old son. We are about to go through the FET cycle & I have not told the clinic…again they didn't even ask so i didn't have to lie!!! Thank you for your research, it has reassured me that my heart already knew (that i can do it all!!). Like yourself, I am unsure if there will be any other children and we waited 6 years for our little man so I want him to wean when he is ready. I feel quite happy no matter what the outcome.
    Thank you
    Sassy

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  33. The updates with success or otherwise outcomes are really helpful. I’m 40 and my dd is 17m. She was conceived by ICSI ( we have severe mfi) and bf is the foundation of our relationship – tantrum soothing, reassuring, illness fighting etc etc. I want to start a second ICSI but know the clinic are completely opposed to bfing during tx. I’ve been cycling regularly & ovulating since 13m ( actually got weak bfp day before first period as I was suspicious I had ovulated 3w early) I got my family practitioner to check my prolactin fsh and estradiol today hoping I’ll get a low enough result to give to the clinic before my apmt in 2w. If it’s high I’ll not even mention it. My dd night weaned 2/52 ago but as usual feeds a lot more when period starts and milk production seems to increase so prolactin is prob sky high!

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  34. Lucky we didn't wean, our blastocysts did not survive the thawing process which was quite devastating at the time. We are now considering another complete cycle. Would love to hear from anyone who has undergone IVF and continued to BF. DS turned 2 on Sunday and still loves his "boob boob!!".I am 40, this is our last go & i would love to give it our best shot! Thank you.

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  35. Just to update – the bloods taken on day 3 of my cycle showed prolactin to be normal ( in fact at the very lower limit of the normal range despite her upping her feeds and feeding prior to test) I’m growing more convinced that elevated prolactin isn’t an issue in mothers whose cycles are regular & children over 1 yr. Planning to start ICSI no 3 in July.

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    • I agree. If natural fertility has resumed then the levels are within normal for a non-breastfeeding woman. Much baby dust on your cycle! Keep us posted!

      Like

  36. Pingback: Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? | Baby Dust Diaries

  37. How I wish I could breastfeed for a long time. When I gave birth to our firstborn, breastfeeding only lasted for 2 months. I had undergone medication during pregnancy because of thyroid problem and maybe that was the reason.

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  38. Thank you for this blog! I am nursing my 12 month old, and want to do an FET in about 4 months. I don’t want to wean completely. I am thinking of doing Jay Gordan’s nightweaning plan the month I am on birth control, so then I will only be nursing 3-4 times daily. I only have 2 embryos (blasts) and I really want it to work. I am SO torn. I am 33 years old with male factor. I appreciate the success stories on here while BFing.

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  39. Also I should mention I have had my cycle back since 10 weeks postpartum, despite nursing through the night and co-sleeping! It has been regular since. My RE said it was not about the drugs going into the breastmilk, but about prolactin inhibiting implantation.

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  40. Thank u Paige. Very enlightening to read about bf during FET. I am currently on 2 week wait after FET. I am bf my 9 1/2 month old daughter 4-5 times/day. Infertility due to hubbie. Since the FET, I have stopped the night feed which has been very draining. The dr is aware that I am bf & did scan which looked as though I was about to ovulate (thickened wall). I had positive LH surge blood test then did FET – yet no idea of my prolactin levels or length of luteal phase. I have had irregular periods. Maybe our dr was a bit rushed and over-optimistic since we have had two pregnancies (now 2 children) following 2 embryo transfers *sigh* Waiting, hoping and praying…

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  41. I am happy for this post! I am nursing my 16.5 month old son (born from FET), and I want to do another FET soon (I’m turning 34 in 5 months). He nurses a lot and at night, but I have had a regular cycle since 10 weeks postpartum. I do believe my luteal phase is a little short though, but won’t progesterone supplementation take care of that proble, (or slightly high prolactin for that matter)??
    I am happy to read SUCCESS stories about women BFing through FET! I will try to remember to update after my FET to give my outcome.
    Honestly I am praying I get pregnant, and hoping my son weans due to decreased milk supply (but not with much sadness). Otherwise I will tandem, or encourage weaning on my own. Is that wishful thinking?

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  42. Thank you for doing all this research, it’s a real pot of gold for many of us, from all the comments! Now I have some ammo to fire at my fertility clinic when I explain my decision not to stop nursing… If I can persuade my cycles to come back, that is!

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  43. I’m so happy to have found your post, as I’ve been struggling with this issue. Having gone through IVF on my own to conceive my baby son (and the fact that he was born prematurely at 27 weeks’ gestation), I am very keen to breastfeed until he is at least two, but also desperate for him to have a little brother or sister.

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  44. So I went through with FET while breastfeeding, but waited til my son was 2. He still nurses constantly! But I had my cycle regularly at that point for over 1 1/2 years. I told my RE I weaned, and we did not use Lupron. Just BCP, estrogen, then progesterone. I had no reduction in milk supply. My FET was a success and now 13 weeks pregnant! We transferred one embryo. So I think if your cycle is back, regular, and your child is at least over a year, then it’s def possible! This website really helped solidify my decision to do it, but I waited til he was older.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So happy to see your FET worked with One embryo while bfing. I also only have 1 embryo left (blast)(4AB) Im so scared if its going to work. My son is 10 months old and im planning on doing the FET in January(6 months from now)

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    • I saw your post on the other site too. My situation is a lot like yours. Congrats on the BFPP. I only have 1 embryo left great quality though (4AB) MY RE is doing prometrium and Estrace im so scared my 14 month old co sleeps but only nurses at night. Did you Co sleep right through the transfer? and nurse through transfer at night or did u slow down a bit? So happy to see your positive it gives me hope. Im doing my transfer in 2 months ive had 2 reg cycles. Which i did Ovulate confirmed by OPK tests and my Luteal phase was 14 days.

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  45. In the same boat….my son is 6 months old….RE wants me to wean within 2 weeks…..I’m not ready!!!! Does it matter that he’s under a year old? Periods have been regular since 2 months PP

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    • Hi sara, Im curious to hear how your FET went and if you ended up lying about breastfeeding. Im in the same boa right now. I had bloodwork done a couple weeks ago and my prolactin was 24.7, which is borderline “normal”, so technically if I get it down below 24 it should be believable that Im not breastfeeding….I think. What were your levels?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Im on CD 15 today as soon as i get Cd 1 I start my Estrace then as long as my lining is good transfer is on Cd 17. I had my Prolactin checked again and its 13 now. 2 months ago it was 19 so its even lower now. Also my TSH is 1.13 which is perfect. Really nervous about my transfer i have one Blastocyst 4AB. SO my transfer should be around the first week in Feb. My cycles before i had my son were always 28 days but since having my son ive had 4 cycles and they have been 36 days with me Ovulating on Cd 22 but this month I ovulated on Cd 12 so my period should come in 14 days. So excited to start this but also so nervous. Il def update everyone when i have my transfer

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    • I know your post was a few months back, but yes I think the age of the child does make a difference. I personally would wait longer until your child is eating food regularly. So past 12-15 months.

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  46. The struggle is real! Getting ready to do our 2nd FET while still BFing my just turned 2 yr old. My story….finally conceived after 5 yrs of trying with first fresh IVF cycle. Transferred 2, got twins (although one was unexplainable stillborn at term). Never thought we’d get pregnant on our own (we had 6 frozen blastocysts, age 6 day). Normal periods returned 5 mos postpartum after our twins, and was pregnant by 10 mos pp at age 33 while BFing. Continued nursing until end of 1st T when my oldest self weaned. Tried to be more careful the 2nd time postpartum since we wanted to use our embies first with FET, but took a chance one time and was pregnant within 5 cycles of my period resuming and again still was breastfeeding. Continued nursing until the end of the 2nd T when she self weaned at 21 mos due to low supply. Did a semi natural FET when my youngest was 18 mos and still BFing and had been having normal cycles for 6 months pp. Transferred one embryo and it didn’t take. My prolactin levels were very low like that of a non lactating woman. I opted not to take femara that 1st FET because I didn’t like the risk to my son. RE blamed the failed cycle on my BFing and not taking femara and told me to wean and come back which I call BS on. 7 months later I haven’t weaned and I want to do another FET on my terms without lying (sigh). I’m now 38 and we feel a responsibility to give our embryos a chance at life rather than trying naturally (which might work again given our history so we’ve been using condoms/NFP). I feel like getting pregnant on my own just to flaunt it to the RE that it can happen a 3rd time for me…but I am getting older so who knows and times a wasting plus the whole responsibility thing for the embryos. This RE claimed to be all about natural until we had the one failed FET. The fresh IVF cycle RE was in another city. Sorry for the novel, thanks for letting me share.

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    • Edit to say we froze 4 day 6 blastocysts. We used one in our failed FET 7 months ago so we now have 3 remaining. My brain is mush at 11:30 pm ;-)

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  47. Pingback: 9 Months with Bonnie | With Great Expectation

  48. Although this is an old post, I wanted to add my comment that I am currently 24 weeks pregnant with my second child, having done a fresh ICSI cycle while still feeding my older daughter. She’s 4 1/2 now so was only feeding to go to sleep and I don’t feel it had any effect on the cycle at all. I didn’t tell the clinic I was doing it.

    I had previously had two FET cycles, neither of which were successful and I had worried it was because of the feeding but clearly it wasn’t!

    Thanks so much for writing this post, it really clarified things for me and helped to make the decision.

    BTW – my daughter weaned herself when I was about 13 weeks pregnant and the milk started to dry up. Waiting until she did it herself was the easiest way to do it and not stressful for either of us. It took me a couple of weeks to realise she didn’t want to nurse any more!

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    • Hazelpwinters, thanks for your post, and so recent! I am 42, with 14 remaining frozen embryos. I have been putting off time I do NOT have because all the RE’s and my regular OB say I must wean and my heart just can’t. I lost twins 3 years ago this month at 21 weeks pregnant and my 19 month old daughter is my rainbow baby and we just thrive in the breastfeeding relationship. I have been through so much to have her. How could I wean her, yet I need to try for more embryos and time is REALLY ticking. Thanks to everyone for their posts and to Paige. This is gold for me to find this. Anyone who wants to update with successes or failures while breastfeeding, please do. I think I will go ahead and try an FET while breastfeeding. We have a lot and I will not be able to carry them all, so I am willing to risk trying. I will not tell my new RE as they seem to be very proud of their successes and would hate hate for me to do a “test” to see if it works. I plan to do a natural FET.

      Congratulations, Hazelpwinters, on your pregnancy!!

      Liked by 1 person

  49. So I thought I’d also update from my January 2015 post. We did our 2nd natural FET cycle (single embryo) in Feb/March and I am now 10.5 wks pregnant with a singleton. I continued to breastfeed my now 28 month old son throughout all of that, and he is currently still breastfeeding. He will be 35 months when this baby is born so I am ready for him to wean on his own time naturally during this pregnancy as my other 2 nurslings did. So I’m now on my 3rd pregnancy that occurred while breastfeeding – 2 natural conceptions and 1 natural FET cycle. We had a frank discussion with the RE about not wanting to use the femara again and she was ok with it. I ovulated on my own for the FET and I did take the “minor/supporting” medications for the cycle including estrogen, hcg, progesterone, steriod, antibiotics all of which I didn’t have an issue with while breastfeeding. Maybe we’ve “taught” our RE something new, that pregnancy can happen and proceed just fine while breastfeeding.

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  50. Melissa, thanks for sharing!

    I was curious, my fertility doctor said that getting pregnant after age 35 is harder with doing a “natural” FET. I am 42. I don’t know that I could do a regular medicated FET while breastfeeding, but I worry about it not working now if I do unmediated. I had a natural FET at age 39 that did not result in a pregnancy. May I ask if you are over age 35?

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  51. I was 34 when I did my last FET while breastfeeding , that I posted about above. My son is now 6 months old. My RE strongly recommends against natural FET’s no matter the age, since they are less successful and more error prone. My cycle was medicated with estrogen, and then progesterone. I avoided birth control pills, but did take a risk of ovulating this way (and having cycle cancellation for that month). This was my choice, and RE approved. We did baseline scan to check for no lining a couple days after cycle. RE thought I weaned, but I didnt (not even close).

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  52. Birdies, I’m 38 and will be a month shy of turning 39 when I deliver this baby. So my unsuccessful natural FET last year I was 37. In my case since I don’t have any issues ovulating normally and I have predictable cycles, there wasn’t any reason for us to think of doing the medicated FET. But I know all circumstances are different. I just had my last appointment with the RE yesterday and she asked if I was still breastfeeding. I said yes, and she said good for you. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Still b/f my 28 month old. Only twice a day at nap time and bed time. We want to try our frozen embryo cycle. This blog has really helped me but I’m also supposed to take 75mg of aspirin daily from day 1 until 2 days before transfer. I’ve read conflicting research on whether I should b/f whilst taking this. If it’s ok my plan would be to take it immediately after his night time feed, which then gives a 14/15 hour break before the next feed. Has anyone continued to b/f whilst taking low dose aspirin?

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  54. First of all thank you so much for this post it has helped me so much. I am 37 yrs old, I tried to get pregnant for 5 yrs and after a failed fresh cycle in 2013 i did a FET in Jan of 2014 and got preg with my now 10 month old son, I am currently bfing and love bfing my son and love the bond, I only have one embryo (4AB Blast) left and am so torn. If i stop breast feeding and dont get pregnant I’l regret this forever. But am also scared to transfer my last embryo while nursing even though he only nurses 2-3x a day. My protocol is estrogen, progesterone and prednisone which i was told by mothers risk is all ok. My only problem is i was put on Domperidone when my son was 6 wks old to increase my supply and due to that i havent got my cycles back. I have weaned myself down to 2 -10mg tab a day so very low dose. I have unexplained infertility. This site has helped me put things into perspective but still a very hard decision to make I dont know what im going to do. I am suppose to do my last FET in 6 months so il update as to what happens then.

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  55. That is a very tough decision, renaecollins! What is mother’s risk?

    I am feeling VERY disheartened. I thought I had found a doctor who at least seemed open to allow me to do it at my own risk to myself. Then at the last minute when I was concerned about taking valium(because of nursing) to prevent the uterus from contracting when doing the natural FET, and mentioned I was still breastfeeding, she went back on what we had already gone over and says there is absolutely no way she will do an FET on a breastfeeding mother. It seems super hard to find a doctor even open to the idea. I never would have told her in the first place but it came out when she directly asked me on my original consult with her. I hate that she changed her mind at the last minute! Why do docs think no one can get pregnant when breastfeeding when it obviously can happen to people not doing FET’s so it is not impossible. My cycles have been normal for months and I ovulate regularly. I had borderline prolactin levels but was told that wasn’t an issue, til they found out I was breastfeeding, then they seemed to have issue with that. I even had borderline prolactin levels when TTC naturally and I was still able to naturally conceive once. I am very frustrated with this whole process!! I am 42 and this is just making me crazy as I don’t want to be risking further mine and my babies lives as I am already high risk for preeclampsia from having had a loss from it 3 years ago. Has anyone ever heard of taking valium to prevent the uterus from contracting during the transfer?

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  56. Anyone here who did an FET and was told they had to take Valium at time of transfer but turned it down? This seems to be standard now that mothers are given Valium at time of transfer, but it is definitely not safe to take Valium when breastfeeding, according to what I’ve been reading..

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    • To my RE a medicated cycle is when you use estrogen and progesterone. That’s not technically a “natural” FET. Those are the only meds used during my last FET, and it is considered a medicated cycle.

      Like

    • When I did my two FET cycles (including the successful one, I’m now 27 weeks pregnant and you can see my posts above), my RE did the valium. For both cycles I was BFing primarily at nap/bedtime so I didn’t worry about it. I personally think the valium is unnecessary. With my fresh IVF cycle (successful) in another city, the transfer was done in a regular exam room with the ultrasound and I just had to wait 20 min before getting up. My new RE is far more conservative on things including all the recommendations post transfer – like no grocery shopping until the pregnancy test, no lifting, no baths until the pregnancy test, etc…. And the transfer was done in an OR with the valium and I was in “recovery” sleeping it off for awhile. With my youngest of 3 being 2 yrs old at the time of the successful FET those post transfer suggestions were laughable as I think they would be for most with other babies/kids at home. Or maybe my situation was less dire in terms of anxiety about the FET working and that’s why I shrugged that off.

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  57. This has been such an incredible post and resource.

    My story is a little different. I have always been upfront with my RE about breastfeeding and my want to do an FET (we are dealing with severe MFI). When I voiced needing to wean he assured me women get pregnant without having a period while nursing. My cousin had this happen twice. The largest “risk” (according to him) is a ~1% chance that uterine contractions would prohibit implantation after transfer. He wanted me to be aware of this.

    To make matters more complex I need to go abroad where my embryos are and I have not gotten my post partum period yet – at 22 months of breastfeeding. I was told prolactin needs to go below a 20 to get a period and mine is currently a 32.

    The RE said he would “supplement” my lining to get me up to a transfer level (my is currently 3.4 pre-meds and needs to be 7+ for transfer), so I am being monitored in NYC with a transfer in Europe where our 3 are on ice. We discussed shipping embryos to the US, but decided for a variety of reasons it was better if I got prepped here and went over there for the transfer next month.

    Fingers crossed, but I’m staying realistic and not getting hopes too high. We had to transfer 7 blastocysts before we had success and got our twins. Either way, I’m eternally grateful I have my two sweet ones to come home to.

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  58. Scared to do my transfer while nursing so making sure everything is perfect .My son is 14 months old I went to my OB today and he did the Saline Sono gram. He said my uterus looked GREAT. No scarring no polyps and no fibroids. It looked perfect for implantation. Now im still nursing my son once at night and once during the day . but ive had 2 reg cycles back. my Luteal phase is 14 days. i am Ovulating. My FSH. LH and Estradiol were all normal so would the nursing affect my FET. I am going to try naturally this cycle in hopes that just maybe him flushing this tube out will help me get pregnant naturally. I know my RE will not do the FET if he knew i was nursing and i only have 1 embryo left it is a 4AB embie but il never be able to do this again ever.

    My blood work results were great ( that of a non nursing mom) i was worried about my levels being alright for transfer and to try naturally this cycle. The blood work was done on CD 4 im now on Cd 6 and doing the transfer at the end of January. My protocol is Estrace Cd 1 then Cd 12 u/s if my lining is thick enough start prometrium and prednisone and transfer is 5 days later its the same protocol as i did with my son but i transferred 2 embryos that time. What do you all think? My Prolactin was only 19 will it still affect my cycle. I am so nervous so scared I dont want to lose the breast feeding relationship i have with my son.

    Total Prolactin – 19
    Follitropin (FSH) – 7
    Lutropin (LH) – 5
    Estradiol-17 Beta – 155

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  59. I am so glad you posted this. Our doctor managed to scare my husband by saying the mess are high dosed and go into the breast milk. He told us that he would not do a FET while nursing, but that our embryos would not go bad by longer storage so just wait with the next cycle until my daughter is weaned. However I am 43, and I do not want to be much older for our second. Secondly, we will probably move to Europe next summer making a FET cycle in Texas much more complicated…
    Did some additional research on the meds & found quiet a lot on Estrace while nursing, since it is also used for postnatal depression: http://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/estradiol.html . There is no adverse effect on nursling. Progesterone in lower doses as used oral for instance for contraceptives is studied and does not go into milk or effect nursling, however injected intramuscular it is found in breast milk. But then timing and the digestion argument seem plausible ways around this dilemma. My doctor doses me very high in progesterone injections. So I have to think about that and then get my husband feeling ok about my decision. Since he was formula fed, and our culture does not support breast feeding beyond one year, he does not understand why I have such a big problem to wean our daughter. We had several fights about this, since he wants a second baby fast and thinks I should wean. This started when she was about 8 month old and I was having a hard time pumping enough milk@ work. Now at 15 month he says that it is my decision, but he does NOT support me continuing to nurse. So I have an additional home front to fight here who knows very well if I actually wean or just say so….
    This makes your blog even more helpful!

    Like

    • I don’t know how I missed your post and a few other recent ones here. What is the dose of your progesterone your doctor has you on? Have you tried contacting the Infant Risk yet about the meds, specifically the progesterone?

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    • Birdies,
      I will start ivf after my trip to Europe in March. But it is coming up fast. DD is still nursing strong – now more then ever. Will be on 100mg injected in sesame oil progesterone. 3 estrace, + estrogen patches…

      Like

    • That sounds great, SG. How did you manage to convince your husband?

      Are you nervous about taking progesterone injections, after what your research found? I am on 3 ml of progesterone in oil every other day. I also take 200 mg vaginally every day. Where did you find your info on it being worse when it’s injectable progesterone?

      Like

  60. Renae Collins, would love to hear how you’re doing. I just took a shot of Ovidrel this evening to trigger. I am having an FET on Dec. 21. Less than a week! Feeling nervous, hopeful, scared. Afraid we will lose a lot of money, we have to travel for the FET. We have a lot of good embryos but not a lot of money to keep trying FET’s. Also as an update, I am just turned 43.

    My DD is 27 months and nursing strong still, quite often. She would not allow me to wait long after my shot to nurse herb and asked a few times tonight.

    I have been thoroughly researching this. My biggest fear is risk of meds to my daughter. I found Dr. Hall’s site which may help others here. It is Infant risk.com. if you go to the forum section and type in a specific medicine name and follow the med name with breastfeeding you may find some great answers from Dr. Hale himself or nurses. There is also a number you can call to ask questions abouts meds and breastfeeding. The nurse who I talked to said they recommend people phone over asking questions on the forum for more individualized answers. This was a great find and the same resource my local lactation expert had referred me to before with other non fertility related medicine questions.

    I hope this can help others looking for info on this.

    I will post an update after I find out if I am pregnant or not. I will be taking oral Estrace, progesterone in oil, Prometrium, Medrol, Doxycycline, Ovidrel, and baby aspirin, as well as I need to be on Lovenox shots while using Estrace due to a clotting factor I have. I feel nervous still even after my research on these drugs. I hope to hear from anyone who has posted here as well as others new to this site. We are all learning from each other. Would love any updates from others here too!

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    • Getting really scared. I start my Estrace on Jan 31st and my transfer is Feb 16th. I just dont know how im going to handle this if it does not work. This is my last embryo. The only reason i was able to do IVF was cause i got a settlement. In my fresh cycle they tranferred 2 embryos but i had severe OHSS and I did not get pregnant. 2 months later we transferred another 2 and i got my beautiful son Jack. Now i have 1 embryo left. My son is 16 months old and nurses at nap time and bed time but he co sleeps. My prolactin level is 19. so its in the normal range. I love nursing him and im not ready to stop but cause of my age i want to transfer this embryo now. I want my son to have a sibling we live in a really small town not to many kids. The only diff between my sons transfer and this one is we transferred 2 embryos with my son and we are only transferring 1 this time as its all we have left but the embryo is of great quality 4AB. Its from the same batch of embryos that gave me my son. Who here has transferred 1 embryo and got pregnant while nursing?

      Like

    • I gave birth to my single embryo FET baby 7 weeks ago (you can see my posts from Jan/May 2015 above too) while nursing my 2 yr old. My older son weaned on his own when I was about 6 mos pregnant and he was about 32 mos. I turned 39 a month after giving birth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Getting really scared. I start my Estrace on Jan 31st and my transfer is Feb 16th. I just dont know how im going to handle this if it does not work. This is my last embryo. The only reason i was able to do IVF was cause i got a settlement. In my fresh cycle they tranferred 2 embryos but i had severe OHSS and I did not get pregnant. 2 months later we transferred another 2 and i got my beautiful son Jack. Now i have 1 embryo left. My son is 16 months old and nurses at nap time and bed time but he co sleeps. My prolactin level is 19. so its in the normal range. I love nursing him and im not ready to stop but cause of my age i want to transfer this embryo now. I want my son to have a sibling we live in a really small town not to many kids. The only diff between my sons transfer and this one is we transferred 2 embryos with my son and we are only transferring 1 this time as its all we have left but the embryo is of great quality 4AB. Its from the same batch of embryos that gave me my son. Who here has transferred 1 embryo and got pregnant while nursing?

      Like

      renaecollins
      DECEMBER 31, 2015 AT 2:18 PM
      Thanks for asking how im doing. Im doing alright. transfer is coming up and getting scared. How is everything with you? Did your transfer go well? I hope everything is great :)

      Like

      Mi Pe
      DECEMBER 16, 2015 AT 4:52 PM
      I gave birth to my beautiful daughter via ivf at age almost 45.
      I was still breastfeeding my daughter when told to wean her before injecting this past month at age 46… I was getting my periods regularly and no problems ovulating. I just saw this post after my whole ordeal but am happy to report that
      Although I am not pg, I did not give up on my breast milk. It is a type of consolation that atleast I can still give my daughter her bf milk and no guilt feelings of not getting pg because of my choice.
      Thank you for this so important post!
      Like someone else wrote-weaning is not like dropping coke….

      Like

      REPLY
      I’d love to hear your comments or questions!

      Thanks for asking how im doing. Im doing alright. transfer is coming up and getting scared. How is everything with you? Did your transfer go well? I hope everything is great :)
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      Paige Lucas-Stannard
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  61. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter via ivf at age almost 45.
    I was still breastfeeding my daughter when told to wean her before injecting this past month at age 46… I was getting my periods regularly and no problems ovulating. I just saw this post after my whole ordeal but am happy to report that
    Although I am not pg, I did not give up on my breast milk. It is a type of consolation that atleast I can still give my daughter her bf milk and no guilt feelings of not getting pg because of my choice.
    Thank you for this so important post!
    Like someone else wrote-weaning is not like dropping coke….

    Like

  62. Renaecollins, it went great! I am pregnant but awaiting the second beta level to tell me if the pregnancy is progressing well. As far as implantation goes, my daughter is super attached to her “milkies”. She was even asking for it at the clinic when we were awaiting her transfer. I was saying “I don’t have your CUP of milk with me, I’m sorry, sweetie”, just in case she was overheard. She also asked to nurse only 2 hours after and I gave in, resorting to my instincts and all I’d researched. She nursed a lot that day after the transfer.

    I read somewhere online that it maybe way more about the quality of the embryo and not about the nursing that determines success. I transferred a 6AA, so it’s a high quality like the ones transferred that became my twins who I sadly lost at 21 weeks from preeclampsia.

    I feel for you and so understand your fears of starting meds. I imagine the worry that this being your last embryo gives you. I really hope the best for you!!!! Let’s keep talking here 😃

    Like

    • Thanks SG! Renaecollins, I had my second beta test and all looked good. Awaiting my first ultrasound on this coming Monday at 6.5 weeks pregnant. Feel so nervous! I hope to see everything looking good and a nice, strong heart beat.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Birdie
      Well i went for my baseline u/s today and everything went great. Im on Cd 3 today i go back again on CD 7 then on Cd 12 if my lining is good Cd 12 then i start progesterone and my transfer will be Cd 17 which will be Feb 7th I know with my 16 month old my lining was not thick enough so my transfer was Cd 19 which will be Feb 9th. I m so nervous i cant stop thinking about it. I got my prolactin checked again and its only 9 now. 3 months ago it was 19 then it was 13 and now 9 which i think is great cause im not nursing him any less. Im so scared. This is my last embryo I cant stop thinking about should i test at home or not. With my son i did not test at home i waited for the beta but i dont feel that strength this time. My mind is all over the place. I want my son to have a sibling more then anything..

      Like

    • Renaecollins, thanks for checking in with me. I have been meaning to update and respond to you. My little toddler just keeps me on my toes a lot these days! I am definitely pregnant and seemingly going strong. I am 8 weeks tomorrow. I had an ultrasound today with a high risk doctor that will be my doctor besides my OB, as I am 43 and high risk for recurrent preeclampsia. He told me today he recommends weaning by 20 weeks because I am high risk. I guess I have to decide now on that front if the small risk of preterm birth is worth weaning before my daughter is ready. I had dreams of tandem nursing if my daughter was still wanting to nurse.

      I am excited for you! Yet, I can for sure imagine your nervousness on so many different things. Being your last embryo must just make this a very hard nerve-wracking experience. I think you mentioned in a prior comment that your embryo is of the same quality as your son’s embryo was. My embryo from this pregnancy was of the same quality of embryo as my twins who implanted great but I had to deliver them early due to severe preeclampsia. I also however, had one transfer of the same quality embryo that did not implant and that was when I was not even breastfeeding, it was the transfer I had done a few months before conceiving my daughter. I hope that the fact that this current embryo implanted regardless of me breastfeeding can give you some hope that if the embryo they are transferring is of the right quality that it will implant regardless.

      But, oh, I imagine why your mind is all over the place. I understand not wanting to wait for the beta. For me, I never could wait for the beta. For me, it is easier to get accustomed to the possibility of a negative beta slowly rather than a quick and absolute negative beta test. I can deal with a pleasant surprise more than a hope so rapidly dashed. I really look forward to having you keeping me updated. I don’t know if anyone else here is really following, but I am interested in keeping in touch!

      Like

  63. Renaecollins, best of luck & lots of baby dust. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to relax and not obsess too much. What could you do for yourself that you enjoy? This will help your little snow flake implant and become a wonderful person. So spoil yourself and do something that takes your mind off everything!
    Lots of hugs, summer sun and feel good thoughts wit baby dust!
    SG

    Like

  64. So glad to have found this post! I am currently nursing my 21 month old and meeting with my doc on the 10th to finalize our FET in April. Can’t decide if I want to tell him that I am still nursing. I didn’t see any recent comments on here regarding Lupron. Did any of you use it during your FET? So thankful to see all the comments regarding successful FET and nursing.

    Like

    • ReneOp,
      I did not yet use it while nursing, since we plan our FET for April / May. I did however research Lupron, since it was part of the cycle that resulted in my daughter: infant risk – Dr Hale’s site (Texas Tech Medical Center), thinks that it is ok while breastfeeding. due to its chemical structure they don’t think it will get in your milk. If it should get there, it will break down to harmless substances in your baby’s tummy, so will not be able to cause any harm. They do have a phone number you can call and discuss all the meds from your protocol. I found the information by going to their forum tab then searching for Lupron.

      Like

  65. Well my transfer is this Monday at 10 am really nervous as yesterday I went for my lining check and they found something in my uterus it was only 3 mm but it wasnt there 5 days prior at the u/s they think its a cystic space (whatever that is )so the RE said its up to me if I want to cancel the transfer. I decided to talk to my OB today and i got him to redo the u/s as i really trust him. The cystic space is now only 2.4 mm and my lining is 10 mm so im going ahead with transfer i need every prayer possible as i feel everything is against me here. I want my little boy to have a sibling this is my last embryo left. I start progesterone and prednisone tomorrow. Il update everyone after im so scared

    Like

    • Good luck renaecollins! 10mm is great for lining and it is a good sign that the cystic space is shrinking. Sending lots of baby dust and calming happy thoughts your way!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks ladies What is a cystic space do either of you know. they kept bringing up my C section scar on the u/s does that have something to do with it? I appreciate the good thoughts.

      Like

    • I have never heard of it before. I have fibroids but that’s probably different, I don’t think fibroids show up that fast. I would google it if it were me.

      Does your RE think it has potential to be issue with implantation?

      Like

    • the cystic space is only 2.4 mm so extremely tiny like a 10th of 1 cm.If my embryo tries to implant on the cystic space i will not get preg.. But my OB said my uterus is like the size of an apple with one seed in it. The chances of this embryo landing right where the seed is are very small. I hope everything turns out great. Il be devastated if this does not work

      Like

    • Thank you Sibylle with my son i heard his heart beat for the first time on Feb 5th 2014 and now 2 years later almost to the day im transferring the last embryo in that retrieval

      Like

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