The Endometrial Receptivity Test Can Suck It

Playing catch-up here – busy with a mess of work lately, which is awfully nice. I’m writing you from Phoenix where I’ve got some work tomorrow….it’s warm, and that’s like a reboot to the system after the Chicago winter we’ve had.

Last Thursday I had 2 biopsies taken for an Endometrial Receptivity Array (ERA).

As the name indicates the Endometrial Receptivity Array tests to see if the endometrial lining is receptive to implantation. (I encourage you to Google a more technical description to fully define the tests). Dr. Hail Mary wanted to run these two biopsies to see if anything was afoot in there since I’ve had three embryo transfers and no permanent residents. The test is done in the implantation window of your cycle (mine was done Day 23) following at least 5 days of progesterone (which I started taking back on February 14… romantic).

What’s the procedure like, you ask? Well, a speculum is put into place just like for a Pap, the cervix is cleaned off with a bit of iodine on what looks like a Q-tip on steroids, and then a pipette is snaked in. Once the pipette’s in place it’s moved around the lining and with a bit of a suction it gathers tissue for the biopsy.

It. Was. Not. A. Walk. In. The. Park.

Since I was having tissue drawn for two different test I had to go through this twice. (I’m not asking for your sympothy, just stating the facts….but it was a fucking crappy test). During the first one the nurse kept saying, “you are doing really great.” Now….I know that something likely needs to be said during these things, but perhaps me “doing really great” simply sprung from not swearing out loud like a men’s rugby coach or using my fists to punch at the table….likely “doing really great” mostly had to do with my ability to just lie still. I did get my deep breathing on – that was super helpful. If you ever have to do one of these just breath as deeply and as much as you can, it does make a difference – if not, you’re just…clenching, and that’s not going to do anyone any good.

It’s hard to explain exactly how it feels…’s loads of heavy cramping, for about 45 or so seconds, maybe a minute. Now I know that’s not a long time but if somebody had a pipette up your business and it was suctioning out bits of your endometrial tissue, 45 seconds is 45 seconds LONGER than you want that to be done.

The only ray of sunshine I can add is that 45 seconds really isn’t THAT long and when it’s over it’s over – instant relief. I think some Tylenol or ibruprofen would have helped if I’d thought of taking it beforehand….and afterwards I just had some lingering mild cramps (like a mild period) so I was fine. The tissue’s being sent off to a lab so it’ll be a few weeks before we know anything. We are of course aiming at a diagnosis of: Receptive. Though Not Receptive isn’t a deal breaker, it gives them info to work with and likely treat….so we’ll see when we see.

I’ll keep taking progesterone shots through the 25th – 1ml in the morning (right cheek) and 1ml at night (left cheek) – and then I’m to call them when my period ensues. Then it’s on the birth control pills, and if all these tests are fine then we’ll get started with IVF4 for reals.

8 thoughts on “The Endometrial Receptivity Test Can Suck It

  1. Hate when they are “digging around” all in there. I try to relax and breath and not pull away from the pain in those situations. This test is not one I have heard of before, and it interests me for the future, depending on what happens in the future with just starting IVF. Since we are “unexplained,” I often hypothesize on what the F@*& might be going on when we know there is an egg and good sperm. Thanks for the info.! Have you heard anything about IVF scratching or done that? I saw something about it helping embryos possibly implant. It’s also on my list of possible research topics as things progress.

  2. (Randomly stumbled onto your blog post through a friend’s blog…) But I have to say I understand, because I had the same biopsy done 3 years ago. Hell. (I’m actually feeling phantom craps right now thinking back about it!) My nurse tried to distract me by talking about my pedicure and I completely lost control of my senses when it started. “Try to relax” was said over and over as my body tried to resist the urge to thrust away from the pain by pushing my legs from the harness. “Breath deeply” they say, until you do and the pain is worse than when you were holding your breath. I started to shake because I was trying to relax, but was doing so in a fight against my body which wanted to run. My procedure lasted about 25 seconds (I only had to have one done) but it felt like an eternity. Afterward, when I sat up, the nurse looked concerned: apparently the color drained from my face and I nearly passed out. Luckily they saw the impending drama and laid me back down. 10-15 minutes later, on an incline to get the blood back into my head, I felt better.
    I promised myself that if I ever had to do one again, (1) I wouldn’t do it on my lunch break, (2) I wouldn’t drive myself, and (3) I would take whatever forget-who-I-am-for-a-while pain med they could give me instead of ibuprofen. Fuck ibuprofen.
    After 13 years of infertility, my miracle boy arrived January last year. Good luck on your journey. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for this story – nice to know people can relate. You had to go back to work?! Boo! Oh man – that color drain, lay on the table for 15 minutes thing happened to me with my first HSG. Turns out the resident had done it wrong which is why it was so gross, but the one that was done right wasn’t a whole lot better! YAY FOR YOUR LITTLE GUY!!!! That’s what I like to hear – SUCCESS!

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