25 May 2016

Update: Thawing/Using eggs

I will add to this post as news comes in, but I wanted to ensure that the story of the frozen eggs is complete.  As part of my current IVF cycle, I decided to thaw 6 of my 13 frozen eggs to increase my chances of an embryo to transfer.  You can read the full detail of that on my other blog.

The embryologist called me this afternoon to let me know that only 2 out of the 6 eggs we chose to defrost, made it through this stage.  2 completely failed to 're-inflate', 1 did partially, and 1 seemed to be okay, but then collapsed in on itself.  This was not the results I was expecting.  This was not the result the embryologist was expecting.

Interestingly, I asked that 2 eggs from each of my 3 cycles be used in the thaw.  The embryologist noted that the way they defrosted aligned to these pairings which could suggest there was an issue in the freezing process for the two sets that didn't make it.  This is because the thaw procedure was obviously identical for all of the eggs. In particular he noted that one of the sets was 'stuck' to the plate they are frozen to and hard to remove (which could have damaged them).

I used a very reputable clinic which does a lot with donor eggs and so I don't think they were unskilled in any way.  I do think that this is a new field and a difficult process and mistakes happen.  I also suspect that in the past 3 years, technology has moved on and skills and techniques continue to improve.  I'm happy that 2 made it, and those 2 were both able to be injected with sperm for ICSI.  But each one of those precious eggs that didn't make it was a blow.  I think I expected that maybe 1 wouldn't defrost properly, but certainly not 4.  I believe that they are keeping the 2 from the frozen separate to incubate but I'm not sure.  If they are, and I can update about their hopefully continued progress towards an embryo I will.

I wouldn't let this news detract anyone from doing egg freezing, but I would say it highlights two things- the importance of having enough eggs collected, and possibly the importance of having at least 2 cycles in case something went wrong with the freezing of one.  I'm pretty sure at this point I would still do it over again if I had the chance to choose.  But it is important that the risks are understood by anyone undertaking this journey.

Update 1: Both of the eggs that defrosted normally and were able to have ICSI fertilized.  Next report on day 3.

Update 2: Day 3- the best looking embryo this morning is one of the two successful thaws, but the other is the worst that seems to have stopped at a 2-cell split.  Fingers crossed for a transfer on day 5.  Might be the frozen one, might be one of the fresh, depends on the rating.

Update 3: On Day 5, all of my six embryos, including the one from the frozen were in the morula stage so I had to wait until Day 6 to find out if any made it to blastocyst.  The one frozen egg is the leading blastocyst rated good/very good.  I'm going to transfer it today.  I haven't decided if I will also be transferring a second blastocyst from the fresh collection at the same time.

Update 4: I decided to transfer only the blastocyst formed from the frozen egg as it's younger and so the odds of success are higher than my current eggs/blastocysts.  Now the wait!

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