I just heard from the director of the Denver embryology lab. None of our six frozen embryos from our second IVF cycle survived to blastocyst. The embryologist just said that it is so hard on them to be frozen and then thawed and cultured that he wasn't surprised. I am fairly strongly regretting sending them and wish we'd just done a blind transfer here in NY, where at least they could have been inside me. Probably none would have made it still, but it stings. Those embryos were three years younger than we are now. I've always held out hope that they might contain our magic bullet of a normal embryo, always seen them as an outstretched hope and safety blanket, that as long as they were there, we weren't completely at zero. But now they are gone. So I'm grieving their loss, more than I thought I would, and am filled with fear.
On the bright side, we have seven blasts from this 6th fresh cycle. The embryologist cautioned me that two of those, since they became blasts on day 7, are almost certainly abnormal. He said they cultured them out so we could at least get some information, which I deeply appreciate. And that if they aren't abnormal, the chances that they could implant are very low. That in fact, they have never transferred a Day 7 blast before, so it would be a total unknown for them. Weird that we're taking even the Denver clinic to places they've never gone before.
So...we've got 7, but somehow after talking to the head embryologist, it feels more like 5. Which I'll take, and please don't get me wrong, I'm really grateful for...but emotionally it's feeling like our chances are dropping right and left.
I started to ask the head embryologist how often this many blasts come back all abnormal, but then I stopped myself. The answer is that it doesn't matter how often. Even if he said that it rarely happens, having five miscarriages in a row rarely happens, but we've accomplished it. The somber tone of everyone we speak to there, all the calls from the head embryologist and the near daily contact with the genetics counselor, the taking our blasts to day 7, the attempts to expedite our sample - all speak to me that we are not being viewed by the Denver clinic as a typical case. So no comfort to be had there, whatever his answer on "typical" would have been. We will just have to wait it out.
So where are we at now? We have seven blasts frozen, each in an individual straw.
Let the testing commence. We will be doing two types of analyses:
We are doing sex chromosome FISH testing on all seven blasts and will get the results Weds. They *won't* tell us, though, what the sex of each blastocyst is, just that each one (hopefully) has both sex chromosomes present with no polyploidies or monosomies. Apparently there is a clinic policy against sharing the genders before transfer. The FISH testing is taking place in a lab in Maryland, so some of the cells from each blast are shipping off there today.
We are also doing microarray comprehensive chromosome screening, which will be looking at all 23 pairs of chromosomes, including sex chromosomes. This lab is in New Jersey.
We're doing both the microarray and FISH because apparently the microarray will not detect a polyploidy. And since we've won that lottery before, they don't want to tell us a blast is normal if it in fact is not. Usually the risk of a polyploidy is approximately 1 in 1,000, but because of my cancer history, they think I might be more likely to have repeat polyploidy than is typical.
The results from microarray generally take four to six weeks. I know the folks in Denver are trying to expedite things for us, because our history has been so dismal, which I appreciate. And I've read on IVFconnections that some folks have heard results back in as early as two and a half weeks. So we'll see how long it takes to get some news...
So, the waiting begins. Cells from each of the surviving seven blasts are shipping from Denver off to labs in Maryland and New Jersey as I type this.
A little bit of news coming on Wednesday.
And then the big reveal in the next month and a half or so.
Feels so tenuous, the hope. The waiting.
This is hard.