The next phase of IVF is the frozen embryo transfer (FET). How many embryos to transfer? That is the question. It has been over three weeks since our egg retrieval which has given us a lot of time to think, research and debate on transferring one vs. two embryos with the initial cycle.
This past week at the follow up visit, we had the opportunity to finally get answers to a lot of our questions. The nurse practioner provided a good amount of additional information about our two remaining embryos.
We had originally been told over the phone a few weeks ago, that one embryo was a grade B and one was a grade C. However, at this weeks visit we found out both embryos have been graded B,C. We were informed that the embryos are graded in order for the embryologist to be able to identify which are viable for transfer. However, the grade does not determine the rate of the embryo implanting after transfer. This was such a relief to hear.
Another big question we have been dealing with is related to the fact that only two of our embryos made it to the five day old blastocyst stage prior to freezing? We had expected a few more. The nurse practioner agreed that she would have expected us to have a slightly higher amount as well. Then, she explained that the embryo survival rate could be related to egg quality. However, we were assured that due to my age, she believes that at least one, if not both of these embryos have a good chance of resulting in a baby. This news was a little bitter sweet.
The nurse practioner reminded us that our clinics rate of success for each embryo is 50%. We asked about the rate of embryo survival after the thawing process. We were pleased to find out that our clinic has a 90% (above average) rate of embryo survival from the thawing process. At the age of 30 our doctor recommends 1-2 embryos per transfer. However, we have been told that each embryo has a chance to split and result in twins. Our doctor has discouraged us from transfering more than one embryo at a time in the past. We have been informed there in a potential risk of having a multiples pregnancy with a potential of twins, triplets or even quadruplets. This is depending on the potential of one or both embryos splitting into two.
The nurse practitioner’s recommendation remained consistent with our doctors initial recommendation of transferring only one at a time. She emphasized the increased risks of multiples vs. a singleton pregnancy for both the mother and babies. She discussed how some people may prefer the idea of having twins. However, there is an increased risks of negative long term effects as well. Each FET cycle costs several thousand dollars out of pocket per cycle. It may seem enticing just to implant multiple embryos at once to save money. This could save money initially but if something goes wrong with the pregnancy then, the decision could end up costing more money down the road. For us, it is not worth the risks at this point to transfer both of our embryos at once. It is a very personal decision and must be met with great consideration. Our decision is based on information from our clinicians, extensive personal research, much prayer and debate.
After our decision to move forward with FET, it was time to discuss the next steps. The nurse practioner provided education on a detailed six week schedule that is initiated with the start of my next period. We signed consents and were given scripts to have filled ahead of time so I will be prepared and have everything I will need on hand once this cycle begins.
We are both excited and nervous about this next step. I am afraid to get my hopes up too much, while remaining positive at the same time. This upcoming FET cycle will hopefully bring us one step closer to expanding our little family.