IVF: The Egg-ception to the Rule

Retrieval Day

After sharing that I went through IVF,  I got an overwhelming response from you guys. Some of you are interested in going through IVF but are scared of disappointment. Some of you are thinking of freezing your eggs and others have already made that investment.  I have had several conversations with friends, particularly those who are single, younger than forty and who have yet to conceive any children, that they should think about freezing their eggs. This way the age of their eggs will reflect the age they were when they had them retrieved. Therefore, giving the eggs a better chance of making it all the way. And, providing a back-up plan in the event they are finding it difficult to conceive naturally.

It’s important to know that women in their twenties and thirties can have difficulty conceiving as well. Women over forty are not the only ones that can be affected by this issue. The number of eggs you have retrieved does matter but the quality does too. Together, this is known as your ovarian reserve. You can have a good number of eggs retrieved but it does not mean your eggs will be healthy enough to develop. Your eggs need to have the proper chromosomes and the ability to combine those chromosomes with sperm. If that doesn’t happen achieving pregnancy can be impossible.

I have to admit when starting my journey with IVF I had no idea what to expect. I just made up in my mind that I would be positive the entire way — no matter what.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 was my retrieval day. The egg retrieval process involves a needle being passed through the top of your vagina under ultrasound guidance to get to your ovary and follicles. The fluid in the follicles is aspirated through the needle and the eggs detach from the follicle wall and are sucked out of the ovary. Fun stuff right? Well too bad you aren’t awake to see or feel any of this going on. You will be put under anesthesia for this procedure. The process takes only about ten minutes.

The day before my procedure, my nurse informed me that I had SEVENTEEN follicles — which she said was really good. It’s important to know that not every follicle will have a good egg or an egg at all for that matter..

We have to be at the facility by 6 a.m. I can’t eat any food or drink after midnight which is pretty normal when being put under anesthesia. The facility is about 40 minutes away so we get on the road at 5 a.m. When we arrive we have to fill out paperwork and are split up for about thirty minutes or so. Even though my husband provided sperm weeks ago that they froze, they want him to provide a fresh batch, which they prefer when putting the egg and sperm together for fertilization. The frozen sperm is back up much like those eggs you may decide to freeze.

When I wake up from my procedure, I’m a little groggy but the first person I see is my hubby. Then the nurse swoops in with excitement to tell me they were able to retrieve TEN eggs!! That’s pretty good for an ole gal. The next day we receive our fertilization results. NINE, I say NINE, of the eggs matured and all ten fertilized!! Say what now? My nurse said, “Monique I’m not trying to be disrespectful but for a woman your age this is amazing.” And I told her, “No, God is amazing!” #MyFaithIsLit

After this process we have to wait five days to see how many of what are now embryos, grow into blastocysts. Which at this stage they are ready to be transferred to the uterus.

WednesdayFebruary 1, 2017 at 3:46 p.m., I get an email from my nurse telling me that FIVE of the embryos made it to day five. Which you should realize is normal. Even with a natural pregnancy all of your embryos will not make it. Can you imagine if every woman had more than one child each pregnancy?  You see, the way my uterus is set up … lol.

If you read my first IVF post, Journey to Pregnancy you know my husband and I decided to do genetic testing — PGS, pre-implantation genetic screening. We mainly decided to do this testing because of my age. There is a higher probability of abnormalities to occur the older you are. Everyone we’ve spoken to who has gone through IVF whether younger or older, chose to go through this testing. The test not only looks for genetic or chromosomal disorders but it also increases the chances of a live birth. This test is usually not covered by insurance.

I know I know. This all seems like a lot — challenging even. But anything worth having may take you going through some challenging, uncomfortable moments — doing things you never knew you had the strength or courage to do. I can tell you I have a newfound respect and understanding for what it takes to conceive a child. I really had no idea of every aspect that has to happen. How many things have to line up. It’s been an exceptional journey to say the least.