If you’re wondering what the hell the title of this blog post means, it’s IVF-speak for 3 days post day 5 day transfer. That’s how all the cool kids going through IVF talk, so I figured I’d give it a try.
It’s been a whirlwind of activity the last 8 days. Last Wednesday was our egg retrieval and it was just as I remembered; painful as shit. You see, they give you some painkillers, but they have to use them sparingly, as too much can hurt the eggs. Then, a needle is inserted into the uterus to remove the follicular fluid as well as the egg from each follicle. After, the follicle is void of fluid and egg, however, it doesn’t deflate right away, so it feels like having an abdomen filled with air. Actually, it felt exactly like this:
Thursday, I went back to work in a fair amount of pain and feeling fat as hell, but tried to keep myself busy. The day after the retrieval is when we would find out whether our transfer would be scheduled 3 days or 5 days after the retrieval. You see, after the retrieval, my eggs are married with Lee’s sperm via a procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). All of the eggs are injected with sperm and then left untouched for roughly 20 hours to fertilize. At the end of that 20 hours, if a couple has four eggs fertilized or less, Dr. Corfman schedules a 3 day transfer, the idea being that the woman’s uterus is a better incubator than the ones in the lab. If there are more than four eggs fertilized, a 5 day transfer will be scheduled. A 5 day transfer allows them to watch the embryos more closely and better determine which ones might result in a pregnancy. Day 5 transfer success rates are a bit higher than 3 day transfers for that reason.
We didn’t find out how many fertilized eggs we had on Thursday, but we were scheduled for a 5 day transfer. We chose not to ask how many eggs we had, as anything can happen in those 5 days. We didn’t want to be told we had one number and then find out a bunch didn’t make it to the 5 day mark. We did find out, however, that Lee gave one of his best samples for this cycle. Not only was that something to celebrate, but it was sort of a feather in my cap as well: Proof that all the nagging I did to change bad eating and increase exercise worked. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
Monday morning was our transfer. They give you a little report card when you show up that let’s you know what you’re working with. The report card stated the following:
17 oocytes retrieved
15 oocytes ICSI’d
14 oocytes fertilized
13 viable embryos
First off, those numbers are pretty fucking incredible. By the time a woman gets to my age, 40-60% of her eggs are considered abnormal. One of the great things about aging! We knew I would probably have a high retrieval rate because of my PCOS, but the number of eggs (oocytes) that are considered normal is always going to be a crap shoot. On our last cycle, I had 26 eggs retrieved, 19 of which were considered normal. Because I work in accounting and numbers are my favorite, I’ll have you know that 73% of my eggs were considered normal with our first cycle. I was pretty jazzed about that way back when. But look at my numbers this time. 17 retrieved, 15 considered normal – 88%. My eggs jumped a a full letter grade and a half. We were awestruck. Though they retrieved less eggs this time, we actually had more viable embryos. We left the retrieval, still cautiously optimistic, but finally, maybe, just a little more optimistic than cautious.
But we still had one more hurdle to clear. They don’t freeze embryos until day 6, so we had to wait one more day to determine how many embryos would be freezable and allow for future cycles, in the event that this one is not successful. So we waited anxiously for one more day, fairly certain that with the numbers we put up this time, at least a couple would make it to the freezing stage. NOPE. What’s inside me is what we’re working with. We’ve experienced this before, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear a second time.
The good news, is that Lee didn’t take this news lying down. He did some research because, frankly, we were dumbfounded. How on earth have we had 25 viable embryos between 2 IVF cycles and yet, we have no back up? Well, it turns out that only about 20-25% off eggs make it to day 6. There are plenty of cycles that don’t produce freezable embryos but still result in a positive pregnancy test. So currently, that’s the glimmer of hope we’re holding on to. That, and Dr. Corfman told us that my uterus had an A+ rating. I’m basically a uterine valedictorian.
So that’s where it stands. We’re currently in the dreaded two week waiting period, where we try to keep ourselves busy and not think about anything baby related, all the while secretly counting the hours until we find out the results.