Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sobering News From the Lab

I've been quiet on the details of the T42 efforts but... here's a sobering update.

I was the luckiest girl ever with a beautiful child walking around in the world plus nine, yes nine!, blasts on ice.

I decided that I wanted to be more careful this time around, and to send my blasts off for PGS (pre-genetic... sequencing? it's when they count the chromosomes). My RE warned me I might lose some, but then the RE in charge of the lab bragged they had a 98% successful thaw rate. So I signed on dotted line. And expected to hear results in 1-2 weeks.

Yesterday, after three long weeks and many, many phone calls to follow up on supposedly missing paperwork, I got a confusing voice mail from the nurse who coordinates PGS.

"Hi Abigail, just wanted to let you know we successfully biopsied your four embryos and the cells have been sent off to the outside lab for sequencing."

I smiled at her mistake. I mean, anyone would be confused by the fact that I had so many embryos. So when we spoke on the phone yesterday, I was shocked to hear her confirm that only four embryos, of my nine, survived the thaw well enough to be biopsied and refrozen.

Suddenly, everything changed.

I know that I'm lucky to have blasts. But given that I had nine, I went into this T42 effort assuming I had it made.

And now, with 35 year old eggs/embryos (I'm now 39 and a half) averaging 1/2-2/3 abrnormal... statistically speaking, I'm most likely to only get one normal embryo out of this five thousand dollar debacle.

To be fair, I wouldn't have been able to transfer these slushy embryos, either. So it's not PGS that did them in.

But I'm suddenly grappling with the idea of doing IVF again. A line that I had decided I wouldn't cross. Back when I thought nine blasts meant nine separate tries.

IVF at 39.5 is a totally different prospect than at 35. I think my odds of becoming a mother again are now dramatically lower than I imagined. I'm still reeling.

And then, my PCOS is just out of control. Metformin was working for a while, along with intense exercise and a pretty careful diet, but now... I feel like I'm gaining weight by the day. It's terrifying. But I comforted myself with the thought that at least I was very likely to get pregnant.

I'm feeling very much like the rug has been pulled out from under me.

I know that hope is not lost, and I am holding on to that. And my precious girl is giving me extra hugs and comfort. When I came home so sad yesterday, she clung to me and we rocked. Such a solace. Thank god I have her. Thank god I'm a parent. Another child would be an amazing blessing, but without her, life wouldn't be worth living.


  1. What a shock. I am so sorry you are having to process this loss. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Glad you can hold on tight to your girl.

    Thinking of you,


  2. Sorry to hear that this is happening...I'm sure it is a challenge when you can now picture just how amazing a second child will be considering how great your first one is already. I hope the rest of the process goes smoother from here on out.

  3. I would be shocked too - but I am hopeful that out of the hour embryos you will have just what you need!

  4. Abby--I'm so sorry to read this news. I can only imagine how devastated you feel. I hope you get good results from the testing which will hopefully put your mind at ease.

  5. Wow, that's a big hit. Maybe you can look at it as many spared cycles of having to cancel due to embryo quality, or worse, getting pregnant and miscarryinc due to abnormalities.

    And maybe the 5 sub-par ones weeded themselves out...just trying to consider all angles for you. :)

    When will you hear back on the testing?

  6. Sorry that you are experiencing this loss (I remember the devastation of losing so many embryos during thaws). {{hugs}}

    And what great perspective to keep about having Calliope. I imagine her little arms do make that loss just a bit easier to bear.

  7. I'm sorry to hear this - sobering indeed. I would also have been very shocked, when all along you've felt that enduring another IVF was something you wouldn't have to consider. I hope it still isn't.

  8. Oh Abby, I'm so sorry. But I think everyone above has made some good points and suggestions. I hope you don't have to do IVF again, but I bet you will if you need to. And by "need" I mean more than one definition! Here's hoping one of those four mighty blasts will be the one to do the trick! It only takes one, right? Hang in there.

  9. What a huge disappointment - I can only imagine how shocked and disheartened you must feel.

    I do agree with those that it's likely that you'll have more than one good one in the four, and the freezing and thawing process probably weeded out some of the abnormal ones already. Fingers and toes crossed for you!

  10. Very heartbreaking--I'm sorry. I will send positive thoughts and hope that your T42 is successful. It can be done--I was your age when I conceived my second.

  11. Even if 2/3rds of the first group are abnormal that should leave 3 normal so I'm hoping that is the case for you. I'm curious whether or not the doctor had any explanation for the 5 that didn't survive the thaw? I also wanted to politely correct your last sentence. Speaking from years of devastating infertility, which hasn't resulted in a child, life still is worth living even without those little arms that comfort you.

    1. Evelyn, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I didn't mean that life without children in the abstract wouldn't be worth living, certainly not for others. I meant I couldn't bear not having my own precious Calliope, now that I do have her.

  12. I'm sorry you didn't get better news and that this is discouraging. Fingers crossed that one of those four is "the one."

  13. Oh Abby, i am so sorry. Getting news like this certainly is a blow. Hoping for good results for you despite this news

  14. I think you are worrying way too much. I had BB at 39 using my own eggs and still have hope for a sibling at 43. Lots of people do it. Chances are a bit lower but it does still happen. You are still in your thirties AND have 4 embryos already waiting - you are in a great position!