Into the Freezer

Wow, I can’t believe the fertilization rate was the last thing I wrote about! To be fair I did write a post on day 3 that had some updates in it, but I never posted it since I wanted to edit it some before posting, and here I am a few days later and it’s horribly out of date. So here’s the new and improved up to the minute update on how things went for our embryos. I’m going to write another post about how I’m feeling.

After getting the good news that 12 of our eggs fertilized, the next step was a call the following day to tell us how many embryos we had and what the quality was. Again, I was nervous for the call, but again we had fantastic news!

On day 2, we had 9 embryos (apparently the other 3 fertilized eggs were “multi-nucleated”). All 9 were doing very well – one was a 2 cell, and the other 8 were 4 cell, which according to the embryologist is exactly where they should be on day 2. She then went through the rating system with me. Our clinic has a 20 point rating, and all of our embryos were grade 18 to 20 (grade 18/19 being considered high achievers or “very nice embryos”, and grade 20 being the best grade, and apparently quite rare – we had two of those). So, since we had a lot of strong embryos in the running, we were probably heading for a day 5 transfer on Father’s Day.

Our clinic sets up a day 3 transfer appointment with everyone, just in case. If everything looks a go for a day 5 transfer, then you just have a consult to discuss the embryos and how many should go back in. So on Friday morning (day 3), I had to drink 32 oz of water an hour before our appointment, just in case we’d be transferring that day.

We got to the clinic and sat down in the waiting room. One of the nurses said to me “Is your bladder full?”. I nodded. “Go empty it.” she said. I happily went to the bathroom, relieved with the news that our little embryos must be doing well.

Our consult started with the embryologist reviewing where we were at. On day 3 all 9 of our embryos were 8 cell, which again was right where they should be. All were still rated 18-20, and 3-4 of them were already compacting (which apparently is a very good sign).

Then it was time for the Dr. to take over. He repeated what we all knew – that the cycle had gone really well so far and that our embryos were in great shape. He said that in terms of pregnancy rates, they see the same results for embryos graded 18,19, or 20, so from that perspective it would be hard to pick the “best” embryo. He also said that at this rate we can expect to have some left to freeze, probably around 4.

The Dr. also told us that so far based on how good everything looked, the IVF cycle had not given us any further diagnostic information about why we weren’t conceiving. He did say though that upto this point, the egg has been the dominant force in embryo development, but on day 3, the sperm DNA starts to take over. So we’d see what happened over the next few days and if things started to go downhill it could point to a sperm issue.

This stressed my husband out to no end, and he got pretty melodramatic with me and made me promise I would get a sperm donor if there was something wrong with his sperm (he’s not a typical male, in that he can get pretty emotional at times). We both nervously awaited the day 4 update. We still had 9 embryos going strong, 3 of which had developed into morulas, and all of which were now graded 16 to 19 (16 being average, and 17 being high average). The embryologist made a passing comment to the effect that “We discussed yesterday that we don’t know why you’re getting pregnant, but now we might have some more information.”, so of course I had to spend the rest of the day comforting my husband that our embryos were still doing fantastically well, and remind him that the embryologist had said that it was difficult to grade them on day 4.

Day 5 was Father’s Day and we went in for our potential transfer. As I’ll write about in my next post, due to some early OHSS, we went in expecting the transfer to be cancelled. Once again my husband was terrified to hear how our embryos were doing, but while in the waiting room, the Dr. walked by and told us “Your embryos are looking good.” “See?” I said to my husband. “There’s nothing to worry about!”. Of course he still found something to worry about “Good? Not great?” he said.

As expected, upon examining me, the Dr. recommended we freeze all the embryos we could and do a frozen embryo transfer in July, which we didn’t argue with at all. The embryologist then came in to give us the final verdict. “On day 5, we have 9 embryos.” She then went through all the details: we had 4 blastocysts, 4 early blastocysts, and one that was just past the morula stage. Eight of them were rated 17 to 19, all of which would be frozen that afternoon, and the last one was only rated a 14, and therefore wouldn’t make it to freeze. Finally, my husband was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

The rest of the day, despite having to delay the embryo transfer for a month, both my husband and I felt very positive about how things had gone. Every once in a while we would look at each other in wonder “Eight! Can you believe it?”.

And finally, for the first time, I was able to say to my husband “Happy Father’s Day.”