Tuesday, June 7, 2016

IVF: Embryo Transfer!

We had to wait until 3 days after retrieval to confirm our transfer day and time. We were originally scheduled for a day 5 transfer, but things can always change as the embryos are growing! So the morning of day 3, I was nervously waiting for a phone call. They check the embryos only once a day, so they don't keep disturbing them. That morning was going to be the day 3 check... and if things weren't looking as good as they hoped, they'd call us in for a day 3 transfer that day.

As soon as I answered the phone and the nurse started speaking, I knew we were still on for a 5 day transfer! There weren't any other updates on our embryos, just that things were going well. Just to remind you, we had 9 eggs retrieved, 8 were mature, and 6 fertilized with ICSI. Our transfer was set for two days later on day 5, which was a Sunday, at 11:30am. We were to arrive at 11!

We spent the day before our embryo transfer relaxing and having fun. My family has a lake house, so we spent the day there swimming, kayaking, and spending time with our family. An absolutely perfect day!

The next morning was the day of our transfer. I could hardly believe it! I kept my phone with me all morning, just in case I got a phone call informing us all our embryos arrested or something horrible. But no phone call came! My husband make me a wonderful breakfast and I got ready to go. Before I knew it.. it was time to leave.

When we got there, we were called in right away. I only had to get undressed from the waist down, but still had to put on a gown and one of those blue fluffy hairnets. Then I just had to wait for the doctor to come in and speak with us! The way our clinic does it, is that each doctor in the practice has a specific day of the week that they perform procedures. I wasn't sure who did Sunday procedures though. It ended up being one of the doctors we hadn't met yet, but I'd heard good things about.

First things first, he went over our embryos with us. 9 eggs retrieved, 8 mature, 6 fertilized with ICSI. We knew all that. Of the 6 embryos, 2 of them stopped growing earlier on (not sure which day), but the other 4 made it to day 5. We had one beautiful blastocyst, and the other three were still morulas. We were definitely hoping for more blasts.. but we will take whatever we can get at this point!!

We originally were aiming for a single embryo transfer, but had said we would be willing to do two as well. Obviously, we'd be transferring the blast ;) but the embryologist suggested we put in one of the morulas too. They have pretty strict freezing guidelines, and even though they culture them for 6 days, they couldn't guarantee any of the morulas would meet the criteria for freezing the next day. So they felt that it was worth it to transfer one of them (as long as we were okay with it). And we definitely were okay with it!

They explained that they like to seem them as blastocysts on day 5, but that sometimes they grow slower. Apparently plenty of morulas transferred on day 5 go on to be a healthy pregnancy, and that it only increases our chances. That was fine with us! Our blastocyst was good quality too!

Below you can see the two embryos we transferred. One blastocyst (on right) and one morula (on left)!

The embryo transfer itself is super quick! Once they had me in the OR, they put the ultrasound on my belly. For embryo transfer, you need to have a moderately full bladder. This helps them to visualize the uterus better to ensure proper placement of the embryos. It is so incredibly important that the ET is done correctly! I tried really hard to have my bladder the exact right amount of full for the transfer... and I did! They told me that very rarely do they get to see such a "perfect bladder" at transfer. Apparently it was pretty good, because they continued to talk about it the entire time I was there and said I would win the perfect bladder award. Something to brag about, haha!

For the actual transfer, they put in the speculuum, clean the cervix a bit, and then you're good to go! I was happy to hear that the catheter they used for ET is even smaller than the one used for IUIs. I literally could not even feel it! The RE did a trial transfer first, and then it was time for the real thing. Before I knew it, the embryos were transferred!! Then I was off to my recovery room.

After the transfer, they wheel your bed back into your room, where you stay for about 30 minutes. I was initially really confused, because a nurse popped in and said which kind of chocolate bar would you like? And started listing off flavors. Apparently they give all of the women big chocolate bars after their transfers! It was absolutely delicious too!

Once the 30 minutes was up, I was allowed to get changed and go to the bathroom to empty my (now very full) bladder. Then time to go home! It seemed crazy that something as complex as an embryo transfer can be so quick. Now the waiting begins....

Poke Count
Arms: 9     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 6   Butt: 7


  1. I'm so glad I found your story on Pinterest! My husband and I are going through some infertility problems and plan on starting the IVF process in August. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you so much! Wishing you and your husband all the best! The entire IVF cycle goes by incredibly fast, which I think is a good thing :)

  2. I second Tracy! Thank you for sharing. My husband and I are set for our first IUI next month and your blog has been so helpful. I'm really hoping that your transfer leads you to your bundle of joy! Good luck and baby dust!!

  3. I just found you, we are on our 5th IUI (3rd using injectables) and are waiting to change insurance and do IVF in Jan 2017. Your posts on the IVF process have been so helpful!