I’ve always had a large thyroid. Anyone with two good eyes can easily see it. Every doctor who has ever examined me for anything has noted its size. I’m not exaggerating: Even my dentist asked about it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my thyroid tested on a regular basis, just to make sure it’s operating within normal parameters. It always has. Two years ago, my primary care doctor thought she felt a node on my thyroid, so she ordered more blood tests and an ultrasound. All normal.
Then I started to read about the link between abnormal thyroid functioning and infertility. It’s much too large a topic to do it justice in a blog post, but the essential bit of information is this: Even slightly abnormal thyroid levels can make it difficult to get pregnant and to stay pregnant.
I learned from Baby Hopeful that not only do different clinics have different ranges for what’s “normal,” even if your results fall into a “normal” range, it still may not be optimum for conceiving and carrying to term. I wondered about my own “normal” results and decided to do some digging into my medical records.
I found out that I haven’t had my thyroid tested in two years! I assumed the basic thyroid tests (TSH, T3, and T4) were part of my infertility work up that I had done just over a year ago, but I was wrong. Fortunately, my RE didn’t hesitate to honor my request for an updated test. She even let me tell her exactly which tests I wanted, as I had read that the basic tests I’ve had in the past – TSH, T3, and T4 – do not tell the whole thyroid story. This time, I did not accept “normal” as an answer. I made it clear I wanted the exact values to see for myself. Here were my results:
TSH 1.17 Normal is 0.3-5 (However, when trying to conceive, optimal is less than 2)
Free T4 1.03 Normal is 0.9-1.7
Free T3 3.13 Normal is 2.3-4.3
Thyroperoxidase Antibody 0.5 Normal is less than 9
T3 reverse serum 15 Normal is 10-24
So…. It seems my thyroid is indeed normal. And, from what I could gather from online resources, it is also in good working order for making a baby. Good news… so why aren’t I more excited? I guess part of me was hoping there might be something there, ideally something that could be treated, something that might boost our chances of conceiving.
Cycle update: My period just started, so we will be doing our first ever IUI this month. It will also be our last IUI, a compromise we made with the RE, who was reluctant to let us dive into IVF. I am not confident at all that it will work. When the doctor removed my endometriosis in October, he said that my ovaries and tubes were basically fused to my uterus. He freed them and put them back in their places, but that was 10 months ago. Given the severity of my endo, I’m reasonably sure things are out of place again, and my eggs aren’t even making it into the tubes. Even if they are, they are probably being poisoned by the endo. I know that sounds like a grim assessment, and I of course have no way of knowing for sure. I just feel like we’re wasting time and money with anything other than IVF. I’m not crazy about doing IVF, but I know it’s our best chance at having a baby.