Embryo transfer day was March 10th. My husband and I got to the office for our 9AM procedure and were so ready to get our embryos back where they belong. It felt a bit empty in there without them. We waited in the transfer room wondering how many we’d have to transfer. My RE popped his head through the doorway to say that the embryologist was just finishing up our embryos’ first pictures. Awwwww. Still we didn’t know how many we had.
After what seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but was realistically about 5 minutes, my RE entered the room with a photo page. Before he turned the page around to me, I could see through the back that there were 4 embryos on it, and I let out a little sigh of relief. He turned the page around to show me our 4 embryos (none of the others had made it). He explained the growth and quality. He didn’t use the terms that you often hear for embryo grading, like 4 AB and such, and I’m guessing that is because they are 3-day embryos and not blastocysts. They simply used a 1, 2, 3, etc. system which was based on the number of cells present and how well those cells were dividing, the presence of fragmentation, and relative cell size. Please note that the grading system can vary from one lab to the next. I’ve seen other labs that use an opposite scale than my clinic, making higher numbers equal a higher grade. So it’s always important to find out your clinic’s grading system and not assume it’s the same as others you read about.
My embryos were as follows:
One 9-cell, one 8-cell – both were considered “grade 1” which is the highest grade on my clinic’s scale
One 6-cell – “grade 2” which is pretty darn good
One 4-cell – I don’t recall the grade but it was lower
Later I Googled cell division on day 3, because there’s always something to Google, and found a few varying answers (as always on the internet). Some resources said that by day 3 embryos are typically 4-8 cells, others said 6-10 cells, another said they prefer 7-10 cells. In any event, mine were in the ballpark, albeit one growing slower. At first my RE suggested transferring the top 3 embryos. I quickly responded, “why not transfer all 4?” You know, leave no embryo behind, because let’s be real – I doubted that 4-cell would catch up in the Petri dish. He looked at me and said, “that’s what I would do to, I just didn’t want you to feel pressured to transfer 4.” He told me that the 4-cell had about a 1-2% chance of sticking, but at least we were giving it a chance. Wouldn’t that be crazy if that was the one that made it – not that we’d ever know which one made it (if one actually does). Still he made both my husband and I initial a paper for the embryologist, because he though she might try to object, stating that we were making an informed decision to transfer all 4 – I guess my clinic usually only transfers 3 at the most.
My Re returned to the room, after I had been given a lovely little Valium to relax my uterus, and reported that the embryologist actually thought our decision to transfer 4 was the best choice. It was only the nurse who exclaimed, “but what if they all took!?”. We all had a nice chuckle at her expense. I mean seriously, we’ll be lucky if one implants. If all 4 implanted then we should probably start playing the Lottery because we’d have hit some unlikely odds – plus we’d need the extra money for all those kids. In all seriousness though, I know there are risks involved in having multiples and I don’t mean to make light of that reality. But after so many IVF failures, my personal risk of multiples looks pretty darn low so we felt very comfortable transferring all 4 and so did my RE.
And there we have it. I’m sitting here typing with 4 little embryos in my uterus. I feel like I’ve gone through so much to get here. It’s going to be a long wait until my pregnancy test on the 21st. I’ll actually have my first beta on the 19th, and the second test on the 21st, but my clinic doesn’t call with the results until after the second beta. I know this is an uncommon practice, as most get the news after the first beta, but I suppose my clinic wants to make sure that the HCG is doubling on time before getting your hopes too far up. I could request a call after the first one, but I decided I’ll just wait like I’ve done before. I’d rather wait the extra 2 days and know if things are starting out well rather than obsessing for the following 48 hours, which is completely what I’d do.
And so the wait begins. I’m not going to symptom spot, I’m not going to symptom spot, I’m not going to symptom spot…