Saturday, 1 September 2012

How are my embryos doing

I don't think I have done more research on any other topic than what I have been doing since past 8-9 months on IVF. And needless to say, with every research I do I learn something more on the topic of IVF. I can nowhere compare my knowledge to a fertility expert but I can definitely understand some of the jargon they say :-)

Today is day 3 after my egg retrieval. And everyday I have been calling my embryologist to know how my embryos were doing!

I searched on the internet to understand what is the average development cycle of embryos. Below is a chart from that research. It helps in knowing whether I am doing as per what prior studies indicate Or there is some exception in my case.

Day 0
Egg retrieval
Insemination of eggs with prepared Sperm
Day 1
Eggs checked for fertilization (the presence of two pronuclei or PN's)
Day 2
2-4 cell stage of development 
Day 3
6-10 cell stage of development 
Day 4
Embryos at the compacted morula (16-32 cell) stage. 
Day 5
Embryos at the blastocyst stage of development

While researching on this topic what I also chanced upon was many females stating that they conceived and had healthy pregnancy even when the embryo development was slower than what above chart says (ex: 4 cell embryo transferred on Day 3 resulted in a baby boy for someone). So what I mean here is that every embryo behaves different ( I assume it must be depending on egg quality, sperm quality, genetic code of these); So I will not be the best person to be judging on my embryos. I will leave it to my embryologist and my fertility expert. They are the best people to tell if it is all seeming normal or not.

On the evening of my egg retrieval day, I spoke to the embryologist and was told that out of 6 oocyts obtained from my ovaries, only 3 are mature eggs. And all 3 have fertilized.

Day 1: I was told that all the 3 embryos were looking good and we can hope that they keep on developing well. 

Day 2: the embryologist told me that 2 of the embryos were developing well. One is 4-cell and other is 5-cell. However the 3rd one stopped growing. So now I am left with only 2 of the original count of 6 :-(

Day 3: Today morning I got a call from my embryologist. She said that my embryos are now 10-cell & 11-cell in their development. I found this a very encouraging news considering that in 1st IVF cycle it was 2-cell day 2 transfer. She said I should talk to the doctor to discuss on when should we be doing the transfer.
I had a detailed discussion with the doctor on whether she should do the transfer now or wait for blastocyst stage.

My prior research research on Blastocyst transfer indicated that it results in higher pregnancy success rates than a day 3 or day 4 transfer.

I left the decision to my doctors advice on what should be done. She explained that if we wait, it may so happen that the embryos do not reach blastocyst stage. And if we do transfer today, then also a similar possibility is there. We eventually decided to wait for blastocyst.

I think I will want to give a call tomorrow to my embryologist and see if the embryos reached the day4 stage or not. 

Science still has not been able to understand human reproduction to its full. I presume its because all female bodies behave differently (after all we have unique genetic coding).
All that I can do is stay positive and trust that whatever my doctor is doing is the best she (or any other fertility expert) could have done.