Friday, 4 July 2014

Retrieval

Don't worry, I'm not going to keep you in suspense.  Unlike what the clinic did to us this morning!  But I'll get to that in a sec.

Our donor gave us 12 eggs.  All 12 are mature.

Join me in my happy dance!

12 eggs is beyond my wildest expectations.  As I think I've mentioned before, most Czech clinics use a lower dose of stimulation than in North America and will only guarantee you between 6 to 8 eggs from your donor.  I was hoping for the upper limit, and thought that maybe we'd be lucky enough to get one or two more, but 12 wasn't a number I even allowed myself to entertain.  It's incredible.

The experience at our Czech clinic today was nothing but positive.  They sent a taxi to pick us up for our appointment, and we were greeted by the clinic rep that I've been emailing incessantly over the past several months.  I had seen her picture before on the clinic website, so I knew she was young (early 20s) and cute, but I definitely wasn't prepared for what I saw this morning.  This girl was smoking hot, with long dark hair, perfect skin, a pert little nose and a body that made me want to cry, clad in a white tank minidress that left nothing to the imagination (i.e. I think I know where she buys her thongs).  Attire aside, she was utterly professional and got us settled in to fill out our paperwork while also inquiring about our vacation plans in Prague and giving us recommendations of things to do.  She informed us that our donor's retrieval had already been completed and that she was resting, and I asked her to pass on our sincerest thanks to the donor for what she had just done for us.  The rep also hinted that the retrieval had gone "very well" but said she didn't know the exact number of eggs retrieved.

Once we'd signed our consents and waivers, we met the RE with whom we'd previously had our Skype consult.  He went over my medication protocol for the coming few weeks and did a quick ultrasound to check my lining (still 8mm, still triple stripe), and told us that we'd be meeting with the embryologist next to discuss how many eggs had been retrieved and what the plan was.  This was new territory for me; in Canada I've never dealt with anyone but my RE and always got all my information through her.  The RE did however hint that there had been "a high amount" of eggs collected so by this point I was getting super curious.

After our meeting with the RE, M was whisked off to the collection room to give his sperm sample.  I figured that our new friend the clinic rep might have been conjured during his efforts, and I can't even blame him. 

Unspeakable things happen behind this cute little sign.

They also took some blood from him for some updated STD checks.  Then, finally, we met the embryologist.  He gave us the number of eggs collected, and then told us about M's sperm quality.  Unfortunately, it wasn't his best showing.  His count was good (81 million) but motility was pretty low at 18% (it should be around 40%).  However, the embryologist didn't seem concerned.  He told us that of those 18%, 25% had normal morphology and he had more than enough to work with.  He recommended ICSI (which we'd been planning on anyway), and then also suggested a new technology that allows for time-lapse photography of the developing embryos.  Though it costs a few hundred euros extra, he suggested doing it for at least the first 3 days since the rate at which the embryos are dividing can give an idea of which ones are the best for transfer.  We thought it through and decided that we'd come this far, we might as well try it to give ourselves the best possible chance.

And then we were done!  In and out in under 2 hours.  We spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds of the Prague Castle and the area known as Malá Strana (Lesser Town).  It was sunny and hot, and we worked up quite a sweat climbing the hill up to the castle.  We saw the changing of the guard at noon, ate ridiculously large sausages from a street vendor, and then wandered back along the river to our hotel.

So now we wait.  This, to me, is the second worst part of the whole process after the two week wait.  Up to now our best fertilization rate has been 50%, which we've mostly attributed to my poor egg quality.  The million dollar question is: what about the contribution of sperm quality?  M was noticeably disappointed in the report on his sperm quality this morning, and I think we're both more than a little worried that we're about to find out something we're really hoping not to.  We've held off making any firm decisions on how many embryos to transfer until we get this crucial piece of information.  That said, even if we only have 50% fertilize that still leaves us with 6 embryos, which is more than we've ever been able to make with my craptastic eggs.  But I'd be lying if I said I'd be happy with that.

Guess we'll find out soon enough! 

15 comments:

  1. So glad you've had a good experience so far (even with the disappointing sperm count). That sperm sign is awesome. Hope you can enjoy this slightly tense waiting period as much as possible!!

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  2. HA! You're so funny. Happy that you have gotten 12 mature eggs! Bob asked if the time-lapsed technology is called EEVA? He actually considered working for the company that developed the technology a while ago. Have a great time in Prague and breathe!

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    1. It's called "Primovision"...I have no idea if that's a trade name or something for the same technology?

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  3. 12 eggs! That's fantastic! Hopefully with ICSI you'll get the best sperm (from behind that adorable sign) to fertilize them. Fingers crossed for a stellar fert report!

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  4. M's numbers are way better than ours. (22 million, Motility 29%, Progression 3, TMC 9.5 m) They didn't factor morphology, but previously it's been as low as 1%. Plus I'm sure your donor's eggs are way better quality than my 38 year old ones. At my retrieval, I asked if the hottie embryologist was on duty, as a sight of her would give Husband a little extra encouragement in the wank tank. Hey, what ever it takes for them to get the job done. And OMG, you have to steal that sperm sign!

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  5. We did ICSI and my husbands sperm was WAY worse than that.. I'm delivering our twins via c section next week! Good luck

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  6. So excited to see this update! Remember, with ICSI a lot of the issues with male factor can be overcome. Keeping everything crossed for you guys and hoping for more good news soon!

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  7. Yayyyyyy!!! Such awesome news! And I'm so glad your experience was so great at the clinic! Woohoo! XO

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  8. Gah! So exciting. Congrats on your 12 eggs. Hoping for a great fert report. Keep us posted!!!! Hugs.

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  9. What a great start! I'm pretty sure our sperm numbers were worse than that. Sending all sorts of good vibes to those embryos.

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  10. This whole process, what science, technology, and world travel combined can do, is amazing! Last minute vacations are my worst nightmare, add IVF with DE on top of that; you are a super hero for managing it all without going utterly insane. Prague is gorgeous, I hope you enjoy it despite the stressful circumstances. That is some story for you *hopefully* future child! All the best to you!

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  11. At our last IVF Andino's count was 200, 000 and the Mexican embryologist literally came into my recovery room and told us that "half came out dead" and asked for another sample. We made a last minute decision to use a donor to fertilize half the eggs and had to choose one immediately from a list with very basic info. I only tell you all this to hopefully make you feel better about your husband not having his best numbers on retrieval day. I don't know a lot about sperm numbers but his count sounds good to me. Especially if you are using ICSI.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay and post more pics!

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  12. Congrats on your 12 eggies! Can't wait for the fertilization report.

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  13. Sounds like it was really a great day! 12 mature eggs to work with! That is awesome. That sign is hilarious crossing my fingers for a great fertilization report.

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