Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blasts and frozens news at last

So I finally heard from the embryology lab (drum roll please!!).

And the news is good - not great- but good. I'm not completely thrilled, but not devastated either (Note to self: Mo, don't get greedy!).

Generally, Denver quotes that approximately 50% of blastocysts are normal in my age range, but then again, they quoted that 50% of embryos get to blast in their lab and, well, our results are more like 25%. And we know that no one at the Denver clinic is expecting our embryos to be typical of their usual patients in terms of aneuploidy.

But we do have enough blasts that maybe, just maybe, we could have one - or if the universe is really smiling - maybe even two that are normal. Please? Couldn't we please? We've paid our dues!

First off, the fresh Denver cycle:
We started with 19 eggs
16 fertilized
12 survived to day 3
so far out of that, we have 4 blasts, which have been biopsied.
There is 1 more they are watching (one of the "late bloomers") that might make it to biopsy tomorrow.

For the detail-minded among you, here is the grading on the blasts, along with their day 3 grading...

Blastocyst #1 Day 3: 8-cell (3 plus grade), Blast grading*: 4BB
Blastocyst #2 Day 3: 8-cell (3 plus grade), Blast grading*: 3BB
Blastocyst #3 Day 3: 8-cell (4 minus grade), Blast grading*: 4BB
Blastocyst #4 Day 3: 8-cell (4 minus grade), Blast grading*: 3AB

So the 9-celled we had at day 3 arrested, along with FIVE of the 8-celled ones we had. Yowza. Just goes to show how hard it is to figure out what is best on day 3, for us at least.

*For those curious about embryo and blast grading, I believe they use the following system for blasts, in which the first number is how expanded the blast is, the first letter is the grade of the inner cellular mass, and the second letter is the grade of the trophectoderm. Click here for the link to the day 3 grading.

From the New York frozens:
We started with 6 embryos frozen at the 2pn stage (day 1)
4 of them survived the thaw
Tomorrow will be day 3...

Seems that four is kind of the number of the day, doesn't it? I hope some of the New Yorkers make it, really, truly do...let's see, if we do the math, given that we started out with 16 fresh and got 4 blastocysts...well, that would mean maybe we'll get 1 blast out of the New York Six. We'll take that, Universe, we will! And be grateful!

In general am trying to focus on the gratitude. If I didn't know we started with 19 eggs and 16 embryos, I'd be pretty damn happy. So maybe that's what I need to stay focused on. The petri dish is half full! Not half empty! Four is not zero. Four is WAY more than zero. It's enough that maybe there could be a living child in there. Maybe. Just maybe.

A small part of me feels that, geesh, this is a lot of effort for a few blasts! But if there's one baby in there, it will all have been worth it.

Mo, just keep repeating to yourself, Four is not zero. The petri dish is half full. Four is not zero. The petri dish is half full... A new mantra.

Stay tuned. Day three results on the New York Six coming tomorrow...

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the turnout. Would you be happy with results like this? Mildly disappointed? Thrilled? Chime in. I'm all ears.


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  1. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you! I hope this is the one:)

  2. Heck, I think that is great! I had only 7 blasts across 4 cycles! And 4 ended up being euploid. So don't be too down. I think it is a great number, and it is not over yet.

  3. I think that's awesome -- if it helps at all, I had an 83% attrition rate from retrieved to used/ frozen (started with 18, ended with 3 they wanted to use or freeze). So from where I stand, you are doing great! Good luck!!!

  4. 4 is great Mo. We're out here hoping with you. Keep on truckin' little blasts!!

  5. Four really, really good ones, is promising!

    Definitely a fan of the 5 day blast, since that's what it took for us.

    Crossing fingers for NY blasts. :)

  6. Send your strength and love to the ones you DO have, Mo. Focusing on this got me through our not-so-hot fert report.

    The ones you do have growing need your love. ♥

  7. I'm cheering for your four and definitely the one that is being watched. Go little guy.

  8. not zero is the important thing, but I understand the disappointment.

    But not zero is the most important thing!!!

  9. It sounds good to me!!!! I know it is hard but you seem to be doing good. Four is NOT zero! FOUR IS GOOD!!!

    I have everything crossed for you!

  10. Four is definitely NOT zero. I'm pulling for all of them!

  11. Four is hope. And you've got more hope from the NY crew. From where I sit, that's a good place to be :) Wishing you the best.

  12. All it takes is 1 and you have 4! Keep thinking positive! Sending lots of P&PT!

  13. OK, I have to say this is fascinating. Fascinating to see the attrition and to realize that if you'd just gone ahead and transfered at 3 days, you'd've put back at least one that was not up to par, despite looking fantastic. As far as what you have now? Four sounds excellent, and those are some nice looking grades as well.

    What's the next step? Because I simply can't wait for one (or more?) of these excellent blasts to have its chance. Honestly, Mo, I'd be pretty happy with these results if it were me. You're getting some actual info to work with, and to extrapolate backwards, and answers are ALWAYS a good thing. Thinking of you and looking forward to hearing about the next step!

    What're you & Moxie doing on Sunday?

  14. Mo, It is so hard for those little guys to make it to blast, so you're right the dish is half full (we've never let our embryos go to blast as so many of them die off by day 3 that we've never taken that risk). Looking forward to good news.

  15. 4 is much more than zero!!! I am hoping for your 2 normal ones in there. I don't have any experience with blasts even after 6 IVF cycles. Your experience with CCRM has made me think I might have judged them too harshly and made me wish I had the PTO to cycle there. Sigh. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  16. Oh man, I am getting nervous with you... your updates have me on the edge of my seat.

    I know you know my story, but since you asked for input... For the last three cycles (combined into one transfer) I had 32 fertilized embryos and ended up with four blasts... two not good quality (and would have been destroyed if not used). Quints.

    I know this is nerve wracking. But four good blasts at this stage is FABO in my view. Especially since that doesn't even include the NYC group.

    Your petri dish is indeed half-full.
    Hang in there:)

  17. Four is great, sweetie! Praying they are the sticky four! (Okay, maybe not all four but at least one or two! :)

  18. I think four is pretty damn good. You only need one. :)

  19. I'd personnally be over the moon with 4 blasts, but thats because with all my ivfs i've never ever had enough embryos to risk taking them to day 5. I've only ever had 1 or 2 embryos to work with. Things are looking GOOD Mo!!!!!

  20. We had 21 retrieved. 16 mature. 11 fertilized. 10 at day 3... and only 3 at day 5. We only transferred 1, as I'm barely thirty and put the two other ones on ice. I'm now 22 weeks pregnant. There is a great potential for loss from day 3 to blast... but the strongest survive! Good Luck!

  21. I think early on, I would have been upset at a report like this, but after ALL the crap I've been through, it would have been a good report for me. I like your mantra!

  22. This is very good. Your very well respected NY clinic never got a blast for you. You weren't sure it would happen in Denver. The petri dish is more than half full. Can't wait to hear how the little NYers do.

    Hang in there. This is hard, but I'd bet that it was harder when all this was on hold. You're in the game.

  23. Hugs.

    As to your question --

    I've been through 6 egg retrievals (and some canceled cycles).

    I've done 5 fresh (1 retrieval didn't produce any embryos or, more accurately, any embryos that cleaved) transfers and 3 frozen ones.

    I've had 15 embryos transferred to my uterus. Most of those were 7- or 8-cell on day 3 and good grades.

    I've been pregnant exactly once. I have exactly one child.

    What have I learned? That the interim data, at least up to the stage of the pregnancy test (and perhaps beyond that), are completely meaningless (or darn close). Not because they have no predictive value (although I don't, honestly, believe they have much). But because predictive value don't mean nothin' once you're looking at one (or two) lines.

    Good luck, Mo and Will.

  24. First CCRM cycle we had 18 eggs retrieved, 13 mature, 6 fertilize, 4 make it to blast and 2 come back CCS normal (d5 3AB and d6 5AB).

    Second CCRM cycle we had 27 eggs retrieved, 20 mature, 13 fertilize, 6 make it to blast and 4 come back CCS normal (d5 4AA, 2 x d5 3AB, d6 3BB).

    (In case you're wondering about the different yields, since I knew we were doing a freeze all and there was little chance of over-stimming, I pretty much demanded they juice the he!! out of me.)

    I think your results so far are good. Like you said, not great, but still very promising!

  25. I think it's understandable that you're feeling the way you are right now. Particularly because we're conditioned to think (about most things in life, including embryos) that more = better. And I know you hear people say "all it takes is one" and that sounds cliche annoying and painful when you haven't gotten that magic "one" (as I haven't), but it's true.

    I have a close friend who cycled at the same clinic R and I went to for our first cycle, during the same year we went. She wound up with three embryos that graded from average to poor. She wound up with a son from that transfer. She went back a couple years later, wound up with a similar number/quality of embryos. Her daughter will be a year old in June.

    R and I, on the other hand, wound up with 17 embryos that looked and graded fantastic. We transferred 2 on day 3, 10 of the others made it to blast, and eventually we wound up transferring 8 of those 10 (the other two didn't survive the thaw) over the course of three FETs. And yet we still have no kids to show for it.

    So, oftentimes numbers (and even embryo grading scores) don't mean crap. And it could very well be that you wind up with one or more than one baby out of the embryos you have, like my friend did. That's what I'm hoping for you.

  26. I would be thrilled! As I've said, I don't make a great number of eggs to start off with, so anything more than 1 on day 3 is FANTASTIC for me.

    I love this bit - "The petri dish is half full!"

    thanks for the laugh - have a FABULOUS day :)

  27. really, really, really hoping that these four are ultra-sticky!!

  28. When I went for IVF I was really disappointed to only have ONE viable egg. We ended up doing an IUI because it wasn't worth it to do a retrieval for one measly egg. I was bummed, but the nurse said to me, "All it takes is one." Yeah, sure, I thought. Well, 11 months later I now have a beautiful 2-month old baby girl. ALL IT TAKES IS ONE!! Four is four times more than that!

  29. I think this number is fantastic when you consider that you haven't made blasts in the past. Most importantly-- I think with four, you have a good chance of finding the one or two "golden" ones that will be your child(ren), and that's the only thing that really matters in this process. Good luck and keep your eyes on the prize!

  30. What a huge range of emotions! I know even with donor eggs I never got 16 from a cycle - so I'd say you are doing fabulous! And 25% is pretty great, to get all the way to blasts; like you said I don't think they can tell much at day 3.

    I am pulling for the NYers too, don't know why but it just seems like they deserve a shot! Funny to me how they seem to have different personalities than the Colorado quartet - even though they are all you and Will! Good luck to you all.

  31. YAY MO! I think this is great news. I'm praying for you!

  32. Four *is* way more than zero. But nothing about this is easy. Fingers crossed and breath held for the next step.

  33. That is great! Go blasts, go!

  34. thrilled! i woudl be thrilled! and i am thrilled. and dying for an update on the new york six. i had never heard of freexing on day one, so i am excited see how those look - especailly since they are eggs from younger days.. it will just be interesting ok, which one will be your baby?? i'm so excited to find out!

    how many are you planning on transferring? i don't know if you have talked about that, yet.

  35. Sounds like very good news!
    I never made it to blast, and in fact transferred only two embryos on day three. One of those little guys is now my six month old son. (I have an older IVF/ICSI kiddo from a cycle where my total embie count was five). I guess my IVF nurses were's all about quality. Those little blasts sure sound like good ones...hoping you get more good news.


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