October 15, 2000
Question from San Diego, California, USA:
I’ve had insulin dependent diabetes since I was 12 years old. I am currently 29 and have been in very good control since diagnosis. I exercise regularly and eat a very healthy diet.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for over five years. We’ve had all the suggested medical tests and everything comes back “fine” (unexplained infertility). This past month, we made our first attempt at in vitro fertilization. Everything was going as expected, until the fertilization phase. When the reproductive endocrinologist retrieved my eggs, he was shocked to discover they were all very poor quality. Needless to say, we had very poor fertilization results and no embryos to transfer back. When we questioned how/why this could happen to someone so young and healthy, our doctor said that preliminary studies have shown that prolonged use of injected insulin has a negative effect on egg quality. Do you have an additional information regarding this?
I am not aware that insulin causes any effect on the quality of eggs. As long as you are ovulating and your glucose is in good control, then fertility should not be directly impaired by diabetes either. I have no explanation for your condition.