IVF Backtrack: And Then There Were Two

After my eggs were fertilized, I had FIVE embryos make it to day five. But, just because an embryo makes it to day five doesn’t mean it has everything it needs to survive full-term. Hence, why miscarriages and other complications can occur.  Chromosomal abnormalities are responsible for about 70% of miscarriages in early pregnancy. And, according to studies, chromosomes in eggs of older women have an increased rate of abnormalities.

On the surface your embryos can look to be good quality. But that doesn’t mean chromosomal abnormalities don’t exist, which is why further testing is recommended. However, there is a grading system that helps embryologist determine the quality of an embryo.

The grading system assigns 3 separate quality scores to each blastocyst embryo:

1. Blastocyst development stage (1-6)
2. Inner cell mass (ICM) score, or quality (A-C) – This ball of cells grows into the fetus
3. Trophectoderm (TE) score, or quality (A-C) – This sheet of cells will go on to make tissues needed during pregnancy (like the placenta).

Is your head spinning yet? Click here for more information on this lovely grading system.

My doctor said A and B are pretty much the same. According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago’s website, “B is ‘not quite A’, but ‘still quite good.’”  You should also know that a lower grade embryo could test normal and a higher grade embryo could test abnormal. So don’t get too disappointed if your embryo’s don’t score high. There have been many baby’s  born full-term and healthy who scored lower grades. On the other hand don’t be so quick to hand out the high fives and fist bumps if you have a higher grade embryo.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
DAY 21 – We go into the doctor’s office to discuss the grade of the FIVE embryos. The results: two, 6BB’s, one, 6BC, and two, 5BC’s. Now they will be sent off to be tested for any chromosomal abnormalities.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
DAY 23 – My doctor calls me at 11:35 a.m.  She has the results from the genetic testing. She says, “Monique, we have great news. You have TWO! ” I think a second. Is that good? But wait, once I decided I wanted to have children I always said I’d like to have at least two. So no matter how long it takes you to achieve something, even if the process is not as you hoped or is the ideal route  … GOD HEARS YOU. 

So, yes! This is amazing news. I’m forty-three, never been pregnant, only did one cycle and I have two healthy embryos. Look at God! One, 6BB and one, 5BC tested well. So you see even though I had 2 higher grades only one of them came back good and one of my lower graded embryos tested better.

My doctor asks if I would like to know the gender but my husband and I decided early on that we didn’t want to know until we got pregnant. I’m a journalist. I’m nosey. So of course I couldn’t wait that long. So uh yeah, I found out before I got pregnant what they were.

Even though we have two, our doctor advised us to only transfer one at a time. Some people choose to transfer more than one depending on the quality of their embryos or in fact they are trying to have two babies at once. However, because having multiples is considered high risk in general and I’m older, we agreed with our doctor.

I know guys … it all seems like a lot. But honestly, from my own experience, things didn’t seem so overwhelming once I got going. I stayed in prayer. I remained positive. I didn’t stress or over think things. I lived my life as normal as possible while going through it all and the journey has been more than I expected.  This experience has created another platform for me to connect to you.

So many times we take things for granted.  We wonder why some things seem so easy for others. But we have no idea what it took for them to get to that place of victory. We have to stop comparing our stories but instead sharing them because we have the ability to inspire and encourage others to do things they had no idea they could do.

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d go through IVF. But my journey is bigger than my end result but more importantly how I got there.

Just because your path is different, doesn’t mean you’re lost.