Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Results and Clarification - Molly

The results are in! The doctor called me promptly at 8am this morning. And yes, I was still in bed. I'm laying low for one more day. I have been having some pretty bad cramping and spotting, so I figure another day of rest is needed. We also have 3 more inches of snow on the ground, so I won't be going anywhere.


Doctor retrieved 15 eggs yesterday.

12/15 eggs fertilized and made it overnight.

She called them oocytes, so that's what they are right now.

I have 12 oocytes that will be monitored until DAY 5, Saturday. I will then be called on Sunday (or Monday, since it's the weekend).

The next step is that the eggs that continue to grow and split until Day 5. Those will be called blastocysts. When they call me on Monday, they will tell me how many of the oocytes are now blastocysts.

taking out the 4-5 cells for testing

Now this is the step that people have asked for clarification on. I am happy to describe the process. Hopefully it helps.

When we consulted for IVF, Dr. Schoolcraft recommended that we do PGS (pre-genetic screening). They do PGS using a technique (developed by Schoolcraft) called CCS (comprehensive chromosome screening). And yes, it costs extra.
Why? Even though I am relatively young, I have experienced "recurrent" loss, three or more miscarriages. Other indicators can be age, family history, multiple failed IVF cycles and low or poor egg quality. Dr. Schoolcraft firmly believes that my possible miscarriages (#2 and maybe #3) was due to chromosomal issues (about 60% of miscarriages are). In the past, doctors would only test a few of the chromosome pairs in the embryo, but now using CCS, they test all 23 pairs for issues.
chromosome panel - to look for abnormalities
The blastocysts (Day 5 embryos) will have 4-5 cells extracted for CCS. The CCS process alone takes about 2-4 weeks. While we wait for results, they freeze the eggs using a process called vitrification. Embryos have a 98% survival rate using vitrification (developed by Schoolcraft).

For us, this puts our CCS results to come in at the end of February. My body is unable to wait though. I need to shed the lining that I have built up in my uterus (aka, have a period). So now, my job is to cleanse my body of all the stimulant drugs and get a period. When my period comes, I will contact the DR and be put BACK ON birth control (yuck) for about 2 weeks. The birth control SUPPRESSES my body completely. Then using estrogen and progesterone the doctors will start to build up a proper environment in my uterus, complete with a nice, thick uterine lining. Then the doctors will pick a transfer date. My doctors are hoping for a mid to late March transfer date. (6-8 weeks from retrieval)

While my body rebuilds itself, the doctors will come back with the results of my CCS. They will tell me how many of my blastocysts are "genetically perfect". Only those embryos will continue forward. Any chromosomal abnormalities (even if it's slight) will not be transferred. We will be given a full report on each blastocyst.

Since I have had recurrent miscarriages, the doctors hope that by placing a "perfectly genetic embryo" in my body, it will lessen my chances of miscarriage. I could still miscarry, but it won't be because of the embryo, it would be something else and maybe that would help us identify why I haven't been getting/staying pregnant on my own.

So now I have 12 fertilized embryos/oocytes. Hopefully by Sunday, I have at least 6 blastocysts. Then after genetic testing, I hope to have at least 4 perfect little embryos. (This is the scenario they predicted at my genetic counseling appointment, based on our family histories).

Now a lot of women freeze their embryos. Some do it to suit their schedule (because after transfer you are given lots of limitations), some do it because they want their body to be given a break. A lot of women transfer fresh (transfer after DAY 5). They have success with all scenarios. The numbers speak highly enough of freezing and testing that we feel very comfortable and safe in waiting these 6-8 weeks.

For more info: http://www.colocrm.com/Services/ComprehensiveChromosomeScreening.aspx

So now I wait. We wait. But we are so excited to have so many fertilized eggs to start the process. I have faith in these doctors, in this process. Yes, there are no guarantees, but at least we are doing everything we can. If we do our part, the Lord will do his part. Whether that results in an actual baby or not is up to the Lord. It all depends on the Lord's plan for us. But we will have answers, and that is what we have been praying for since we started this.

Science is amazing. The technology granted to those on this earth to help us conceive a child is mind blowing. But this science would not be possible without our Heavenly Father. He has instilled the knowledge in these people to share with us. And for that, I am so grateful.


Alecia said...

I was really sore for a few days after my retrieval too. I wished I had waited and not done a fresh cycle that first time--my estrogen was too high for it to work. But hindsight is 20/20!

Jimmy and Alison said...

I'm doing PGD as well. We plan on a test on 3 day and transfer on 5. This is round 4 praying it will work.