Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Or Two Embryos: Part Two

On the eve of my first ultrasound I think it's fitting to finally update on our decision on how many embryos to transfer, as promised in this earlier post.  In case you aren't familiar with how the past few months have gone here's a recap:

Before going through our first IVF cycle, my husband and I were pretty certain we were only going to transfer one embryo.

We ended up transferring two embryos.

I am now pregnant.

In retrospect, I wish I could articulate our decision to transfer two in the same way I had previously explained our rationale behind only transferring one.  To be honest, I think until you've actually been through IVF it's really easy to underestimate the emotional component involved in making these decisions.

Scientifically, it seemed like we would have just as good a chance of success transferring one fresh embryo and later, if necessary, a frozen embryo, as we would if we transferred two fresh embryos.  That all makes SO MUCH SENSE on paper, but then you get to the actual IVF.

I was very excited to get nineteen eggs on retrieval day, only to wake up to an urgent phone call from my doctor several hours later that H's sperm sample was the worst ever and we would need to use ICSI - something we had previously decided to forgo.  Even with ICSI they were only able to fertilize nine of the eggs.  Little by little our optimism began to fade.

Here's the other thing: my clinic has pretty bad SART statistics. This never really bothered me because I accepted the explanation they give -  they offer competitive IVF prices and don't turn anyone away due to age or other fertility issues thus lowering their statistics.  On the other hand, I always thought *my* chances would be better.  I read so many accounts of women being given personalized statistics based on the quality of the embryos, so I awaited eagerly for mine.  Imagine my shock when transfer day came and I was given the same exact odds as the clinic's overall success rate: 37 percent chance of success based entirely on age and nothing else.

I asked the doctor (one I hadn't previously met) why the odds were not higher and he said simply that if I wanted to transfer three embryos he could give me a 40 percent chance. Three?! we are.  My legs spread open in stirrups.  We're presented with these odds that were less than we had hoped for and of the nineteen eggs we had originally, we only had nine embryos and five of them had apparently stopped growing on the second day.  We had two day five embryos, one great quality and one good.  Of the seven remaining, two looked okay (a day three and a day four blast). All of a sudden I thought about our chances in a new, less clinical, way. If we transferred the best day five blast, would the second best one even survive the thaw?  And if the best embryo didn't stick, how confident could we be of the second best one sticking?  The third?

Two went in and at least one stuck.  They gave us a thirty percent chance of twins and, if I had to guess based on beta numbers, I'm smack dab in the middle of where my levels would be for a singleton pregnancy.  I'm not going to lie, a part of me would be relieved to see one sac tomorrow.  Because all of my fears and doubts about twin pregnancy and parenthood didn't vanish simply because we changed our mind.  Another part of me would be a little sad about losing our other embryo.

Mostly I am just nervous about seeing at least one normally developing six week pregnancy in my uterus tomorrow and I'll just thank my lucky stars if that actually happens.


  1. That totally makes sense. I probably would've done the same thing if given the same options. I can't believe they'd be willing to put back 3 though, woah! I look forward to your update after the scan tomorrow. Also, there is an experiment where people are convinced that if the chorionic villi and blood flow are on RIGHT of uterus, baby is a boy, and LEFT of uterus is a girl. They claim that they can predict twin gender as well based on this, and later placental placement. :) Just something to think about during scan to calm your nerves.

  2. How did the scan go? I'm on pins and needles here, LOL!