The wait for embryo news

by - September 25, 2023

The egg and sperm collection process was straightforward. The hormone injections were physically challenging but it was the wait for viable embryo news that was mentally challenging because it's out of your hands at this stage. It's up to science and luck.

I had my egg collection on a Wednesday and flew to Melbourne that Saturday to visit Phamly because Little Sissy Pham wanted her son to meet the Aunty we lived with for 2-3 years to finish high school after The Phamly moved to Brisbane. I didn't need to be there, really, but Little Sis is sentimental and wanted me there so why the hell not? I was mega bloated still from the meds but the soreness was gone.

On Friday, I received a call from the clinic to say of the 19 eggs they collected only 8 were mature enough to progress. Boyfriend Pham and I had opted for ICSI where they inject the sperm into the egg rather than placing the egg into a culture with the sperm to naturally try and fertilise, because we wanted to control as much of the process as we could. However, of the 8 mature eggs, they only injected 2 successfully, another 3 failed to survive the injection because they weren't mature enough and were too soft. The last 3 eggs they put in a culture to fertilise naturally.

It was disheartening to learn less than half the eggs collected were usable and we only had 5 chances at a viable embryo. I kept telling myself that we just need one good one to proceed, even though, mathematical me knows our odds are better with more than one shot. And so, it was a blessing that I had an impromptu trip to Melbourne with my nephew and his parents to distract me. Our next update would be on Monday. The weekend days were fine because they were filled with family, travel and feasting, but when I went to bed at night I missed Boyfriend Pham and was anxious about embryo news.

On Monday, I missed a call while on my way to visit Little Sissy's friend and her new bub. I called back and got the happy news that one of the eggs had developed into a healthy embryo, and there was one more they were monitoring its development. Unfortunately, the other three did not fertilise. They would update me the next day. One out of 19 so far. Sigh. Still, I told myself. Better than none.

The next day, Tuesday, we flew home. Our flight was delayed over an hour so we were stuck at the airport with a 1.5-year-old to entertain. Fortunately, our flight wasn't on time because while we were sitting in the food court trying to convince Nephew Pham that his Happy Meal box was the most entertaining toy in the world, I got a call from the clinic.

I remember this moment so clearly because Nephew Pham was watching me intently while I was on the phone and as I started to smile, he started to smile. By the end of the call, I was grinning from ear to ear and when I happily thanked the scientist for letting me know that we have 2 viable embryos, Nephew Pham read my emotions and started to cheer and wave his arms. It was such a happy memory. We'd doubled our chances for an embryo transfer, and Nephew Pham was cheering for what could be his future cousin!

Two out of 19 is not a great result, but we'll take anything we can get. I'm 39 years old and next year my fertility takes a statistical nose dive, which will make the odds forever not in our favour. I've had friends go through multiple egg collections with no embryos at the end of it. I've had friends who go through egg collections and get 5-8 viable embryos. Results feel random because there are so many factors that impact fertility.

Next up, scheduling an embryo transfer...

Our fertility and pregnancy experience

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