December 10, 2017
In my last blog post, I briefly describe the science used to extrapolate the oocytes or eggs from the donor, followed by insemination. The picture below describes the development we hope our embryos reach by five days post retrieval.
There is plenty of information to explain the process clinically, but there is nothing to prepare a couple for the highs and lows of waiting for the embryos to develop. Feelings of fear, sadness, and doubt are daily occurrences. In addition, my emotions are heightened by the estrogen and added progesterone to assist with embryo implantation.
Logically we know that we have no control as to the outcome, but instead need to trust in the process . Emotionally, this is often not realistic or a source of comfort. We have invested a lot of time, energy, and money to get to this point. I have put my body through months of medications to prepare, but despite this there is no guarantee. At this moment we are in a free fall waiting for the clinic to use their best efforts to ensure our embryos develop into good quality blastocysts ready for transfer into my uterus.
On the day of the retrieval , we were informed by the clinic that for three days post retrieval an email will be sent to update as as to embryo development.
Post retrieval we were hopeful that a younger donor would yield a sufficient number of eggs to increase our odds. The first email, one day post transfer was a crushing blow, as there were only nine eggs. Several articles I have read on the internet indicate that fifteen mature eggs provides better odds for successful embryo implantation.
Upon receiving the above email, our moods instantly changed for the worst. A dark cloud loomed over us both. The support of our friends and family helped immensely. Personally, the messages and words of encouragement that we received through social media helped to lift my spirits. It did not matter whether it came from someone experienced with assisted reproductive technologies or just a kind heart. Our support network fueled hope and positivity.
When I woke up Saturday, I feared that we lost more embryos. I was in a store buying some gifts, when Jeff, who admittedly hates the daily updates, screamed to drop everything and come read the latest daily report:
Immediately, the sunshine peaked through the dark cloud looming from the day prior. From that moment we were able to enjoy what turned out to be a beautiful December day in Madrid. With renewed spirit, we spent the day exploring the beautiful sights the city has to offer.
Sunday, provided us with the last update of embryo development before transfer day:
Our embryos scientifically are on track for day three post retrieval, but now new fear creeps into our minds. What if we get to day five and there are not the three quality blastocysts as we were guaranteed by the clinic’s package? According to the above email, statistically only half of the remaining embryos will make it to blastocyst. What happens at this point? We know that going through another round of egg donor IVF is not a viable option for us as we travelled close to 4,000 miles for one last chance at conceiving a child.
Our only option at this point is to wait patiently until Tuesday to see how many embryos develop into blastocysts. We are hopeful, but cautiously optimistic. Anxiety levels are growing because of the uncertainty. No matter how busy you keep yourself, moments of fear and doubt creep into your thoughts. For now all we can do is have faith in the process and G-d.
Please stay posted for the next blog in which I describe transfer day.