Life Is Just So Daily

Sunday, September 02, 2012

It's time! Well, almost. (IVF Update)

For now, let's talk about the process. Then, we will talk about me.

Okay, okay. Let's talk about me!

Went to the RE yesterday morning and again this morning. (It's Sunday as I'm typing.) RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Yesterday, had a bunch of follicles, yes they are growing, yes a few are ready, yes, you look like you'll be ready for your ER on Tuesday. ER = Egg Retrieval.


Today, went back to the RE. We are *definitely* ready to go on Tuesday, so tonight, I get a "trigger" shot that will tell my body to prepare to ovulate. Then what? Well, then you don't really WANT your body to ovulate, because then they couldn't retrieve those eggs. So, we will go for our egg retrieval 34.5 hours after the trigger shot is given.

So, let me back up and explain some of the basics of what we are doing, since so many of my friends and family have had questions...To break it down, there are few basic steps to IVF:

Step 1: Fertility medications are prescribed to control the timing of the egg ripening and to increase the chance of collecting multiple eggs during one of the woman's cycles. This is often referred to as ovulation induction. Multiple eggs are desired because some eggs will not develop or fertilize after retrieval. Egg development is monitored using ultrasound to examine the ovaries, and urine or blood test samples are taken to check hormone levels.

Step 2: Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity. Sedation and local anesthesia are provided to reduce and remove potential discomfort. The eggs are removed from the ovaries using a hollow needle, a procedure called follicular aspiration. Some women may experience cramping on the day of retrieval, which usually subsides the following days; however, a feeling of fullness or pressure may continue for several weeks following the procedure.

 Step 3: Sperm is obtained and prepared for the remainder of the process.

Here's where our plan is going to differ from traditional IVF.
In traditional IVF, the sperm and the eggs are placed together to allow for insemination. In our case, we are doing something a bit more advanced....

Step 4: Our Andrologist/Embryologist will directly inject the sperm into the egg. This is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This will happen on the same day as the egg retrieval.

Step 5: When the fertilized egg divides, it becomes an embryo. Laboratory staff will regularly check the embryo in the incubator to make sure it is growing properly. Within 2-5 days, a normal embryo has several cells that are actively dividing.
Despite popular belief, this doesn't all happen in a test tube. Rather, it will take place in a petri dish (or petri dishes if we are so lucky as to have that many).

Step 6: We have elected to have a procedure done in our process called "Assisted Hatching." What is assisted hatching? Well, during the initial stages of development, the embryo is contained in a layer of proteins known as the zona pellicuda. For the sake of this lesson, let's consider that a "shell."  In order to successfully implant into the uterine lining, an embryo has to hatch out of the shell and attach to the walls of the uterus. With assisted hatching, our embryologist will create a small hole in the shells to make it easier for our embryos to hatch.

Step 7: The great embryo transfer! The embryos are typically placed into a woman's womb 3-5 days after retrieval and fertilization. In our case, we are planning a 5 day transfer. The procedure is done in the doctor’s office while the woman is awake. The doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) containing the embryos into the woman’s vagina, through the cervix, and up into the womb. If an embryo sticks to (implants) in the lining of the womb and grows, pregnancy results. It is common for more than one embryo may be placed into the womb at the same time to increase the chance of pregnancy. (Of couse this also increases the chance of multiples.) The exact number of embryos transferred is a complex issue that depends on many factors, especially the woman’s age. I'm at the cusp of age being a factor. Apparently at 35 years of age, the game changes! I'm 34. We are transferring two embryos.
So then what?
Well, after the transfer I'll be on bedrest for several days.
Good times.

I've got a small stack of magazines that I haven't read yet.
I have a book that I haven't yet finished.
I have two movies that I picked up at Dollar Tree the other day b/c even if they aren't good---they were only a dollar! And, I may get so sick of regular tv that who knows....maybe I'll want to watch them.

Wish us luck tonight.
Jessica is giving me my shot. The "trigger" shot is apparently a big-bad-mo-fo, and Hubby is terrified of needles! So, the doctor drew a bulls eye on my arse/hip, and taught Jessica how to inject me tonight.
May the force be with us!

And Jess was so funny. She (like many others) finds the whole process so interesting and entertaining. She now describes the old-fashioned-way as boring!
{I'm sure James won't read this and therefore won't take offense. Hey, James---I'm sure it wasn't boring!}



At 7:38 PM , Blogger Pregnantly Plump said...

Good luck! I'll be thinking of you this week.

At 10:47 PM , Blogger Christy said...

So exciting! Good luck with it

At 7:03 AM , Blogger Courtney said...

I can bring ya snacks and movies if you need it. I am just a text away.

At 7:36 AM , Blogger Lainey-Paney said...


At 7:28 PM , Blogger Julianne said...

Praying, praying, praying!!!

At 8:26 AM , Blogger mpotter said...

thanks for all the info. really insightful & interesting.

you guys are going trough so much... all the best for your family right now!

At 5:41 AM , Blogger tisanjosh said...

I am still studying about this treatment. I got nice updates from your post. Keep it up. Ivf Process


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