Thursday, July 24, 2014

how many embryos should you transfer?

this is a very personal question. it is one that couples going through IVF have to ask themselves. the right answer is different for each couple. some people look at the ASRM guidelines to make their decision while others consider multiple factors when making their decision including: age, diagnosis, doctor's recommendation, desired family size and past success with IVF transfers.

i've been asked this question many times by both infertiles and well-meaning acquaintances who have not had to make this difficult choice but have their opinions about how many embryos someone in our position should transfer.

after my transfer, i had two sweet friends on instagram ask why we made the decision to transfer only one embryo. it is a great question. so i decided to delve into this topic a bit deeper in this blog post. so this post is for you @leeleekoontz and @andressahorne and anyone else who's pondered this very question.

"how many embryos should we transfer"? 

here are the questions that we asked ourselves…in our particular situation.

1. what is our ultimate goal? 
for us, it is to give birth to a healthy child. and that answer might not be the same for everyone. notice, i didn't say that our goal is to get pregnant or to achieve IVF success.

2. if we transfer more than one embryo, what are the benefits?
we'd have a higher chance of success achieving a pregnancy on that particular transfer cycle.

3. what are the risks associated with transferring more than one embryo?
the biggest risk is getting pregnant with multiples. while i know many people who have had twins with relatively no issues, i also know people who've had devastating experiences carrying multiple pregnancies. case in point, a fellow blogger Holly…she suffered the heartbreaking loss of her twins and my friend D lost one twin and her other baby had serious health challenges.

below is a list of common complications associated with multiples:
preterm labor/delivery
low birth weight
intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
gestational diabetes
placental abruption
fetal demise/loss

4. what is the worse case scenario with transferring two embryos? 
getting pregnant with both embryos and having one of those embryos split. triplet pregnancy. see risks above if we attempt to carry all three babies to term. and we'd also be at a huge risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome because two of the babies would share the same sack and the other would not.

or we'd be faced with the option to terminate one of the pregnancies to reduce the risks to mother and the remaining babies. this is a heartbreaking decision to have to make after going through infertility. but sadly, it is one that is frequently made, quietly and in private, by couples who chose to transfer multiple embryos.

5. do you believe that each normal embryo has a chance of successfully implanting whether transferred individually or with other embryos?
for us, the answer is yes. so the only benefit we could find to transferring two at a time is saving money on future transfers down the road. if the choice is fail, try again, fail try again and it will cost more money in transfers. or try transferring multiple embryos at once and risk all of the things mentioned above… it is a no brainer for us….

one embryo.

how did y'all make this decision for yourselves?

Monday, July 21, 2014

i'm officially PUPO!!!!

i've always hated that expression but i see why it exists.
PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). it exists because as an infertile, you gotta take what you can get. and by golly, if you have a live embryo transferred into your uterus. you ARE pregnant….until proven otherwise. not "in limbo until proven pregnant". that would suck.

SDFC doesn't recommend bed rest after a transfer. they basically said to go about my daily activities on the day of the transfer and days following. doctor just doesn't want me lifting more than 20 lbs.

so what did i do post-transfer to celebrate my first day of being PUPO?

1. dine at my favorite restaurant. 
i had some delicious watermelon lemonade, scrumptious salads and chia seed pudding. 
healthy, yummy fuel for my baby.

2. go shopping for baby sunshine. 
my mom and i found a baby boutique in hillcrest called style child. we allowed ourselves two little gifts to commemorate transfer day. a onesie that was too perfect to pass up and cute book about california. oh ya…and that is me pushing out my bloated hormonal stomach pretending like i have a baby bump. 

3. brainstorm baby names. 
one of the added benefits of doing PGS at SDFC is that they disclose the sex of your embryos if you want to know. i'm not going to share the gender of this embryo just yet (i'll save that for another post). but since we know, my mom and i laid around looking at baby name websites. we jotted down some faves for consideration by A.

i've never felt this much hope before. it surges through my heart and soul. the feeling i have now is love. i already love this embryo. it feels like i'm already carrying my baby and it is a part of me.

i believe in this baby.
i can't even curb my enthusiasm and faith. 
baby sunshine, please be here to stay. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

the transfer

i got the call a few hours before arriving at the clinic with the results from our PGS testing. we have 10 normal embryos. one being transferred and nine frozen. hallelujah! this whole cycle still feels like a dream.

unfortunately, A had to work and wasn't able to join me for the transfer. he flew to san diego for the egg retrieval to give his "contribution" but had to get back home. but my mom and A's mom were both in the room for my transfer. they were a great source of support and encouragement. 

it was surreal laying on that table and actually having a normal embryo transferred into my uterus. to realize that i finally have a shot real shot at getting pregnant. and of course, i couldn't help but say a silent prayer for k and her amazing gift. we are incredibly blessed.

the actual transfer was pretty quick. i felt some mild discomfort when dr. k (dr. h was on vacay) was inserting the catheter. but i was too mesmerized by the monitor to be bothered. it was truly a miracle watching the doctor push our embryo through the catheter into the lining of my uterus. the emotions that i felt made my heart swell. i love this baby already. i hope and pray that baby sunshine is cozy and decides to stick around for the next 9 months.

our embryo is in the fluid that appears as white spots near the arrow

Blogging tips