Our IVF journey: The waiting game



The morning after my egg collection I received the all-important phone call, telling me if my eggs had fertilised overnight. Unfortunately, out of seven, only three fertilised normally. Out of the other four, two didn't fertilise at all, and the other two went a bit haywire. Not a good sign. 

During our last IVF cycle, I remember the embryologist telling us that embryos have a high attrition rate, meaning that some would drop off every day. Hearing this news made me really upset, and I bawled my eyes out for a solid 10 minutes. I felt like our journey had been cruelly cut short already, despite there still being three good embryos.

The next day I was hit with further bad news: there were now only two embryos left in the race. The embryologist told me they wanted to do a day-three transfer. Usually they like to transfer an embryo five days after fertilisation, when it reaches blastocyst stage, but out of the two I had left only one was really good, so the rules dictated a day-three transfer.

Day three arrived and I had my instructions to guzzle a litre of water an hour prior to my embryo transfer. The painless (albeit slightly uncomfortable) procedure is a bit like a cervical smear, but they use an ultrasound to guide a catheter into the uterus to transfer the embryo.

After arriving at the clinic I was whisked away for my pre-transfer consultation with the embryologist. The embryologist handed us a picture of our little nine cell embryo and gave us the usual somewhat vague speech about our chances. She told us we have a good chance of having a baby … but of course they can never say when that will happen.

Next I was ushered to a cubicle to change into one of their lovely faded blue gowns – and 10 minutes later, the procedure was all over. After making a dash to the bathroom to relieve myself of all the water I’d had, it was time to go home and act pregnant until proven otherwise (‘PUPO’, to those in the know).

And now you’re probably asking "Why does she need to act pregnant?" Yes, after embryo transfer you have to 'act pregnant', so no deli food, alcohol, soft cheeses, sushi – all the fun stuff. For someone who’s not actually pregnant yet, that can mess with your head. But, with luck, just a few days later my little embryo was going to snuggle itself into the wall of my uterus, hatch, and start developing into the miracle that is a human life.

The remainder of the next couple of weeks, labelled the ‘two week wait’, is going to be the most emotionally fraught and frustrating part of this process. Some women take time off during this period, because it can be tough to concentrate on work. But as someone who always has to be doing something, being at work is going to be a good distraction for me, to be honest. The last thing I want to do is sit around at home, with too much time to think about the potential outcome.

Check back next week for an update on Our IVF Journey.

This blog is written anonymously due to the intensely personal topic.