Embryo Transfer #4

At 9.30am we met the (now familiar) embryologist to discuss the state of our 4th embryo.

The last two FET cycles have involved an afternoon embryo transfer, meaning our embryos have had a few hours to rehydrate and swell back up to size before the proceedure. Today’s 9.45am transfer meant the embryo was not yet fully reexpanded, and as such the photo of it looked a bit of a mess. But we could still make out the cells that form the placenta and those that might go on to make a baby.

I asked the only question any scientist in a similar situation would – have there been any studies on the effectiveness of IVF outcome as measured against morning vs afternoon embryo transfers?

There have. It makes no difference.

This embryo is a Bb, meaning the cells in the cell ball that might go on to make a baby are a bit larger than those with an A grading, and those around the outside that go on to make the placenta are also b, though we weren’t told quite why.

Our last two embryos were both Aa. John explained that to him, a C-grade student, B sounded quite good. But that to me, with more or less straight As, B meant suboptimal. I agreed that, especially as neither of the As worked, this felt a bit like scraping the bottom of the embryo barrel. But the embryologist emphatically reassured us this wasn’t the case. In fact, she told us most the embryos they encounter are Bb. So that was very reassuring.

I asked about continuing excercise after transfer, as I’m keen to maintain my fitness levels and I believe that endocrinologically – with my specific metabolic disorder and its predisposition to obesity, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and hormone disregulation – my embryo may stand a better chance if I am active. I was reassured that exercise was OK, but to avoid anything particularly exerting that my body wasn’t used to, like lifting heavy weights, running further than 5k, or doing punishing abdominal excercises.

I also asked about having a cold. I knew this wasn’t an issue for normal pregnancies, but this time round I’m taking steroids to hamper my immune response, in case I have any “undiagnosed immunological issues” that might be leading to my body rejecting the embryos by mistaking them for harmful foreign invaders and sending my immune system into overdrive to attack them. I was worried that catching the cold I’m inevitably going to contract from a very snotty John may work to counter the steroids, sending what’s left of my immune system into overdrive regardless. Again, after checking with a doctor, we were reassured this was nothing to worry about. I still will. A bit.

So the proceedure itself was straightforward, and now I have an embryo on board. Again.

I’m being asked how I feel about it a lot. I don’t really have a satisfying answer to that. “Meh” probably best describes it, most of the time. I’m scared of having another miscarriage, scared of how I’ll cope if I do. Scared of getting a negative pregnancy test. All would mean we’re down to our final embryo in the new year. Scared of giving up this dream, and what that will mean for our family and the trajectory of our lives, in particular of my life (returning to work, etc). I feel guilty. Guilty every time I ate something I knew I shouldn’t over the birthday week we’ve just had, guilty I didn’t get down to my target weight, guilty I’ve got a couple of injuries at present so can’t run right now…

And I feel tired. Tired of having to pull my emotional socks up and go at it again.

But I will. I have.

I have searched myself, and I think it’s truthful to say that one thing I definitely am not is excited.

So if you’re of the praying kind, please pray I’ll have the emotional and physical strength to get through this, whatever happens.


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  1. Elisabeth says:

    Dear Laura, I will pray for you – for you, your family and your future, whatever it may hold. Our God is an awesome God and although we may not always understand, He is nevertheless good – even when life is hard. So I pray, and trust Him to speak to you through whatever may come.