My Personal Story and Thoughts Regarding Natural Killer Cells

Wow so much has been happening for me and Long-Awaited Child of late my head is spinning. The next few months are going to be very exciting. Today I recorded my first podcast which was HUGELY exciting for me and I have another recording next week. I love listening to podcasts and could easily become as addicted speaking and sharing my story on them as well. Todays podcast will be available on iTunes and Spotify in a few weeks! Will keep you posted.

You may remember in a previous blog, a little while back, I said I was going to talk about Natural Killer Cell at a later stage. Well as I spoke about it today on the podcast I thought today was also as good as any to share my story with Natural Killer Cells, also known as NK Cells, with you.

For anyone who has been trying to conceive naturally for some time or going through IVF and having recurring failed cycles or recurring miscarriages this is something I really suggest you consider asking your fertility specialist more about (but that is my opinion).

During my IVF journey I completed cycles in Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Perth. It was during our time in Perth where we had what I knew in my heart would be our final IVF cycle. Unfortunately this cycle resulted in yet another negative pregnancy test. It was after this cycle I was asked by my clinic if I would be interested in being one of the first in Australia to go on a clinical trial for natural killer cell testing and treatment. This would mean for us that we would have an almost free IVF cycle, however Ian & I decided to turn down the offer as there was no guarantee this trial would work and result in a pregnancy, plus my body and mostly my mind was done with IVF. To turn down this opportunity and the possibility of 'what if' was not an easy one, but deep down I 100% knew I did not have it in me to face another negative pregnancy test. By this time we had spent almost seven years trying to fall pregnant. 

So you may be like I was at the time and have no idea what this NK cells and the testing is all about.

So in a nutshell these type of cells in the body are important to protect us from infection or cancers. Some women may have an abnormally high number of these cells which would mean they have a very high immune system. For me personally, that made sense as I very, very rarely got sick and if I did with say the flu, what would take someone a good few days or a week to get over, my body would be over it practically overnight.

You would think to have a high immune system would be a good thing, which it can be, however if you are trying to fall pregnant not so much. High NK cell activity is actually classed as a form of immunological infertility.

In the case of IVF when an embryo is transferred to the women’s body these cells protect the body from any implantation occurring, or in other words these cells are fighting off the embryo implanting as it would say an infection in the body. This can lead to a failed IVF cycle or a miscarriage. Same can be for if you are trying to fall pregnant naturally and having continuous negative pregnancy results, the reason could possibly be due to an abnormal level of NK cells. 

To be tested for NK cells is a simple blood test and if treatment is required it is easy, being in a form of a tablet. It is something I would 100% be tested for now if I was undergoing IVF.

Click on the link below to listen to Fertility Specialist, Dr Gavin Sacks, an expert in this field from IVF Australia, and hear what he has to say about NK Cells.

Research is continuing to be done in this field and it is a subject that I will continue to follow. I am particularly interested to see how further research & education in this area could possibly increase the IVF success rate. 

Please feel free to send me a message should you wish to hear more about my journey.

Kellie x

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