Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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This post will be a sort of a summary of our fertilisation report and today's transfer all mashed up into one (since I've been a lazy blogger).

We actually received our one and only fertilisation report on the morning after the retrieval.

I was making popcorn (as you do at 10am on a Friday morning; let's just say I had a hankering), M. was in the loo. So it was without a doubt the perfect moment for the embryologist to call.

I'm sure she thought I was mad with my slightly distracted tone of voice and the ferocious popping taking place in the background (I make popcorn the old-fashioned way, on a stove, in a pan). Somehow I managed to grab a Green election candidate Tony Firkins' leaflet from the kitchen counter, find a pen and take notes with one hand whilst shaking the popcorn pan with the other.

So our precious fertilisation report is scratched onto an election pamphlet. How very fitting.

Anyway, I digress. The embryologist had good news, which I was just about able to hear amidst all the popping:

- Out of the 11 eggs that were chosen for ICSI, 9 were viable and 4 fertilised.

- Out of the 11 eggs that were selected for IVF, 10 fertilised.

- So altogether we had 14 fertilised eggs!!! With this result they recommended day 5 transfer.

Great news.. However, do you notice a teeny tiny discrepancy?

Yep, on Thursday after the retrieval we were told that they obtained 18 eggs.. 11 + 11 surely = 22.. Umm.. had they somehow multiplied overnight?

Had I been less preoccupied with my popcorn during this crucial phone call I may have asked this very question of the embryologist. However, I wasn't and I didn't.

So I was left with Dr Google to figure this one out, before I drove myself crazy convinced that they'd mixed M's sperm with someone else's eggs!!

Thankfully I found this very helpful blogpost from an actual scientist (the Infertility Lab Insider) who has worked in a number of fertility labs over the years. To summarise (very badly) the initial counting of eggs after retrieval can be obscured by a cloud of cumulus cells that surround the egg inside the ovarian follicle and sometimes immature eggs (which are at the brink of maturation) mature naturally in the next 24h in vitro which may account for a change in the number of mature eggs. So there appear to be very good, scientifically based reasons why the egg count after the day of retrieval may go up as well as down. Whoever knew? Anyway, I am not complaining. But if you're interested in fertilisation and everything that happens to an egg before it becomes an embryo, may I recommend that you visit the above blog - it's fascinating.

So we had 22 eggs out of which 14 fertilised, which leaves us with a 63% fertilisation rate. According to Fertility Lab Insider this is below average, from memory I think she states that 75% is normal. But again, I'm not complaining. I am 36, my eggs are bound to be heading south in quality.

But the good news is that on some level we obviously are really quite fertile - I can produce a fairly decent amount of eggs; M's sperm can find their way to those eggs and actually get in and get things going.

This was as much as we knew until today, day 5. Our clinic does not appear to be big on providing information for their patients. It could be that the reason why they don't provide detailed daily reports is because they want to keep the developing embryos as undisturbed as possible. Apparently this is a thing with some clinics.

So today we approached the clinic with trepidation.

We were there at 11.35am for our 11.50am appointment. I was busting for a wee (as is the norm, I had been asked to arrive "with a full bladder").

At 12.20pm, I was in absolute in agony. Did I mention that progesterone makes my bladder hyper-sensitive to the need to wee? At this point I alerted a nurse to my dilemma and we were without further ado whisked to the transfer lab. I got to don the hairnet again with a fetching white disposable gown (as did M - we got the cutest photo taken), the doctor asked me to sit down whilst she gave us the final fertilisation report - I couldn't I was literally in pain with the need to wee at this point. She kindly allowed me to go to the toilet and empty my bladder somewhat. What a sweet relief! I was again able to take in and retain information.

The doc resumed sharing the Day 5 fertilisation report with us. Out of our 4 ICSI embryos all had turned into blastocysts and were hatching (yay!).

Out of our 10 IVF embryos 2 had turned into blastocysts (but were not yet hatching) the rest were still developing but at a far slower rate than the others. The doc said they'd keep an eye on them for the next couple of days.

But the bottom line is that we got 6 blasts!!!

They asked if we were happy with transferring one, to which we said yes. So I've got one healthy (looking), beautiful (the doc's words, not mine), hatching embryo nuzzling inside of me as I am writing this and we've got 5 in ice for future FETs!!!! I am so, so very grateful; this has all gone so very smoothly and without a hitch.

The transfer itself was fairly uneventful. The doctor cranked me open with the speculum as they do (that was mildly uncomfortable, as she wasn't able to use any lube), then her assistant got the embryo from the lab in a catheter, the doctor placed the catheter inside of me (we saw a little light flash on the ultrasound screen as it happened) and then her assistant checked the catheter to ensure that the embie had indeed been decanted inside of me, which it was. Not two minutes later I was back up on my feet and dressing up. We sadly didn't get to see a picture of the blast, which was a bit of a shame and all in all the whole transfer experience was a bit a of an anti-climax.

But, and this is a big but, at this very moment I am officially PUPO and am planning on enjoying every single moment of this experience.

The progesterone pessaries have already given me massively sore boobs, a heightened sense of smell and slight nausea, so I'm aware that symptom spotting will be futile. I'm back to work tomorrow and my plan is to stay busy (in a very relaxed sort of way) and try to stay away from Dr Google as much as I can. Wish me luck. Eeeep!!!xx


Patient Subfertility said...

Wow. PUPO. Such a great and scary feeling.

TwoPlusOne said...

Thinking of you lovely! How are you doing?

Haisla said...

Thanks lovelies - your support means the world to me!!!x

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