Overnight my eggs have been sitting in a nice warm bath of John’s sperm. And we weren’t even sharing the same bedroom (thanks Toby).
I got a call from the clinic this morning to tell us 11 eggs fertilised overnight.
We’re obviously very happy.
But it’s funny how, due to the nature of this multi-hurdle process, alongside that jubilation almost straight away, come the thoughts about the next step.
For us this is a call tomorrow after they have allowed the embryos to grow for a bit and they’ve graded them based on a raft of different criteria. So worst-case scenario they could all be of poor quality, though with that number of fertilisations we stand better odds of having some at least that are decent.
Then based on grading they will decide whether to freeze them all or just some tomorrow, or leave them to grow till the weekend and freeze them then.
The benefit of the latter is the longer they are grown, the more time natural selection has to weed out the ones that wouldn’t have made it anyway. It seems strange to talk about potential people like this, but the sad fact is a lot of 3-day old embryos are naturally lost during the normal process of trying to concieve, and most go unnoticed – a period arrives like normal, on time, and you’d never know they were ever there. The only difference here is that we know they are there to begin with.
So leaving the embryos till the weekend, till day 5, at which time they are blastocysts (a slightly bigger ball of cells), and then freezing them helps to select for the stronger embryos – the ones most likely to make it after transfer back inside the womb.
The only risk with leaving them all until day 5, especially if they grade poorly, is that they may all not survive till day 5. In that case none would get frozen, and we’d have nothing from this cycle. So to avoid this scenario they may decide to freeze the best looking ones tomorrow and grow the rest till day 5, safe in the knowledge they have some “in the bank”. Then if any do make it to day 5, they can also be frozen, but if they don’t at least we aren’t left with nothing.
So this is why the grading tomorrow is so important. It’ll help the embryologist to decide what to freeze and when to get the best shot out of these 11 embryos for us.
I’m still feeling sore and tired, and made the mistake of not staying on top of my paracetamol this afternoon – I shan’t be doing that again. But otherwise I’m well and not currently experiencing any OHSS beyond the mild, expected condition.
As an aside, I’ve had a few people asking how the eggs are actually collected. This video gives a very brief visual. Basically an aspirating needle is inserted inside the vagina and poked up through the vaginal wall (not into the womb). It reaches the ovaries and drains the fluid-filled follicles, removing the fluid and the egg inside. These then travel down the tube into a collection pot and are immediately handed through a hatch in the wall to the embryologist in the lab for culturing.
I’ll write another update on the grading tomorrow.