Embryo transfer day

I got the call at 11am.

“Just ringing to let you know your embryo has survived thawing, so we’ll see you for transfer later today.”

*End of call*

That was it. Rather unceremonious. I hung up and took Toby in to his gym class, feeling relieved. I’d been getting increasingly anxious as 11am approached, somehow simultaneously expecting the call at that time, and being worried that it hadn’t happened before then.

John is away, so i dropped Toby at nursery and went to the clinic, messaging my better half on WhatsApp to keep him informed. I saw the embryologist first, who told me it was a really good embryo. It is graded Aa, which is the highest you can get. It had defrosted well. They were very happy with it.

I asked about the others – about what we had and if our chances of success reduce as we go through the less highly graded ones in later cycles? (Yes). We have another Aa, and two Bbs. I also asked how they chose between the two Aas today. This is a very scientific process. Are you ready…

Whichever one they pull out of the freezer first.

Isn’t that crazy? It’s right of course, but she may have just chosen the next Hitler over the next Rosalind Franklin. #Awks. She said they can’t think about it too much, it fries their brains.

As I didn’t want her brain fried before she’d put an embryo in me, I left it at that.

The procedure itself was quick. It would have been even quicker if I could have remembered my date of birth when asked (true story). I lay on the bed with legs on supports, and a speculum was used to clear the way. It doesn’t hurt at all. An outer catheter is inserted and pushed up into the uterus. Then a thinner catheter is pushed inside this. The embryologist, appearing like a racehorse over the half-stable door, checked my name and date of birth a third time, and then passed the embryo in the petri dish to the nurse. She aspirated it into the inner catheter in such a way as to form a little bubble buffer around it to keep it protected, and injected it up the tube with just the right amount of pressure, into my womb. The embryologist then checked the petri dish under the microscope to check it was now empty and shouted “yeah fine!” across the lab. They then removed the catheters and flush them through in the lab, again checking the results to make sure there is no embryo left in the catheter.

Then we’re done.

I went to rest in the recover room for 10 mins, but we (me and the nurse) decided that I was so tired I’d take advantage of these child free moments and have a free cuppa and a rest until they closed!

We actually had a good chat about the emotional turmoil of this whole process, from both the patient and the nurses’ point of view. They get councilling to cope with the stresses of the job. She also said the therapist told the staff team that emotionally speaking, for the patient, this whole process is akin to receiving cancer treatment. The same emotional roller coasters. The same life/death stakes. The same feeling of out of controlness. That was oddly reassuring. And goes a long way to explaining why I’m finding it hard to be excited about embryo transfer. For me, it’s the beginning of a two week countdown filled with uncertainty and worry.

So yeah, there we go.

If you pray, please pray that the blood vessels develop and that our embryo sticks this time.

Here it is.


(The cells around the outside of the circle go on to form the placenta. Those darker grey ones in the middle/bottom left develop into a baby.)


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