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Creating our embryos (results)

ICSI Embryo creation

An emotional and scary wait

Creating embryos is such a daunting process. More so because it is completely out of our control! To fertilise the eggs that we retrieved from the egg donor, CReATe Fertility Centre, our chosen IVF clinic in Toronto, Canada, will be using the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure. It is a procedure where a single sperm is injected into each egg to assist fertilisation using very fine micro-manipulation equipment. We always hear true stories from people that fertilising eggs does not mean that all fertilised eggs will become embryos, let alone them becoming good quality embryos!

So what happens is that the eggs will be fertilised and some may not live through the 5-days of waiting for them to reach the blastocyst stage, and will drop in numbers. Thenafter that, they will be going through genetic testing, and the numbers may further decline. We have heard that some people resulted in 1 useable embryo out of a bunch of eggs that they have fertilised! Each egg means one chance for pregnancy. So the more good quality embryos we have, will mean more changes of preganancy. It’s horrible to think of it that way. It is a lot of money spent on IVF and egg retrieval to result in a small embryo number. We knew it was out of our control now and we just have to wait for the results in each stage of the process.

The first information we got was through an email from a nurse at CReATe Fertility Centre:

I have received the fertilization report from your donor’s retrieval yesterday. A total of 22 eggs were retrieved from your donor:

11 for Andre                    11 for Cam
8 mature & ICSI’d             9 mature and ICSI’d
7 fertilized                        8 fertilized

So as of today, you have a total of 15 developing embryos. Your next update will be on Day 3.

We have initially decided that we will each fertilise 50% of the eggs retrieved. That is why we had 11 eggs each, randomly selected for each of us to fertilise. In these eggs, we each had a number of mature eggs that are able to be used for ICSI. Through that, one egg from each of our batches did not fertilise.

So the next update was on Day 3, which is in the middle of the 5-day wait for embryos to reach blastocyst stage. They wanted to let us know if the fertilised eggs are developing well, and this was what we got from the nurse:

We have just received a Day 3 update on your embryos and all embryos are still developing (8 for Cameron, 7 for Andre).

The next update will be on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, (the day after the 5-day wait). with the final report.

That is good news! Our embryos are strong and are developing well! We managed to sleep well that evening, but still very nervous about the 6th day report and we still have the Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) to do. Things might change. We just have to know that it is out of our control and we can only hope.

The 6th day arrived very slowly. It was a little agonising. We got an email from our nurse again:

The IVF lab has just provided us with your final Embryo report aaaaand I am pleased to share it with you.

4 embryos made it to blastocyst, were biopsied and individually frozen

6 embryos made it to blastocysts, were biopsied and individually frozen.

It will take 10-12 days to get the report back from the genetic testing. Dr. Librach will be contacting you with these results. Best of success moving forward with these embryos.

Oh no! Cameron’s embryos went down by half! They didn’t survive the 5-day period! It was sad. Mine, however, went down by one, which was good news. At least we still have a good number that survived. Now is the wait for Dr. Librarch to get back to us regarding the PGS test results.

That 10- to 12-day wait was horrible. We tried not to think about it and really hoped that the results would come back favorable to us. We need as many good quality embryos as we can.

On the 12th day, which was our 8th February 2018, we received a call from Dr. Librarch from the IVF clinic and he told us the news over the phone. He mentioned that there are three genetic types that the embryos are categorised:

  • Normal
  • Abnormal
  • Mosiac – Can be used

Andre: 6 Embryos in Total (5 Normal / 1 Mosiac)

Cameron: 4 Embryos in Total  (3 Normal / 1 Abnormal)

This means that Cameron only has 3 good quality and useable embryos and I have 5. Obviously, the abnormal embryo will not be used. A mosaic embryo is not abnormal – it is an embryo that is normal but will have a higher risk of abnormality than the good quality embryos. So it is an embryo that can be used… but we hope not to. We have not thought about if we really want to use it if we have used up the other embryos. We will hope to never have to make that decision.

So, all in all, we can essentially make 9 babies!
9 BABIES! Hooray!

To understand why the number of eggs does not always equal the number of embryos, read HERE.

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