Insurance policy… Frozen embryos

7 Feb

Originally posted 16 Jan: http://community.macmillan.org.uk/blogs/b/kaths_cervical_cancer_blog/archive/2013/01/16/insurance-policy-frozen-embryos.aspx

The reason I have time now to sit around and write blogs, is because I have chosen to delay treatment while I go through a cycle of IVF. It’s a small gamble, and I wanted to take what may be my last chance to do this.

The goal of this is to hopefully get a few eggs, fertilize them, and then freeze the embryos created – for use somehow in the future.

FYI. Eggs themselves can’t be frozen. Or rather, the success rates are really really low. Embryos can be frozen with a pretty high success rate, so long as they are good quality when they are frozen. 

IVF Cycle: 

Just for those that are interested.

1. Birth control pill. 

What tha!?! First thing is to go back on the bloody pill! I wasn’t impressed… but it was so that they could control my cycle, and therefore no delay to starting IVF as soon as we got back from Australia.

2. Down-Regging: (Synarel)

This turns off all your hormones, and I found it really tough. It’s a nasal spray – and it’s amazing that so much impact can come from a quick sniff in the morning. Which is what all cocaine users say I’m sure. 🙂

I found I was moody, and weepy, and just plain depressed. As it was my first week back at work, and first week back in London after the holiday, and first week of having to really accept I had cancer, it was all a little overwhelming. I was a bit of a mess at work if I’m honest, and I don’t think I really did a minute of effective work. Plus headaches, hot flushes…

At least in this cold weather I get to bring my own microclimate with me.

3. Stimulating. (Menopur. What kind of sadist calls an IVF drug menopur! The less talk of menopause the better.) 


I was so looking forward to this! I was counting down the days on the down-regging until I could start injecting myself each evening. Who knew I’d so look forward to self-injecting! And the impact was immediate and positive. I cheered up, felt like my brain was working again, and have been feeling more myself. Still headaches, and hot flushes and things, but I can live with those so long as I’m not so bloody depressed.

It’s been 6 days so far, and I had a scan at 4 days. I wasn’t really expected to respond well, due to some earlier tests, but actually its looking good. 11 follicles at first count. We watched a show last night called ‘The baby makers’ about IVF clinics, and it showed how follicles can be empty, how eggs can fail to fertilise, and then how they can fail to implant. So it’s a long journey, with lots of hurdles, but I was pleased to at least get over the first one.

I’m on a massive dose of Menopur, no messing about. So it’s good I responded well, as they can’t give me much more. This is where we are now – so the next steps below are what we expect  to happen. I am still taking the synarel to prevent the eggs releasing, but a lower dose, and therefore less side effects.

4. Egg Collection.

This is done under sedation, or maybe a full general. Either way, I won’t know much about it. They put you under, then basically stick a long needle up through the vaginal wall, and up to the ovaries. And then empty each follicle, hoping they get an egg.

  • Key dates: 
  • This is expected to be the latter half of next week. 23-26 Jan. Not sure of the exact date. It’s a day surgery, so don’t need to stay overnight. I’ll know more as I do each scan. I have scan tomorrow, and probably on Friday/regularly while they try to time exactly the best moment.

5. Fertilisation, and fingers crossed.

Eggs are fertilized with Mr Martin’s contribution to the process. In our case this will be done using ICSI – where a person at the clinic (embryologist) picks an individual sperm and puts it into the egg. If we had a few attempts, they may not do this (it’s £1300), but as it’s possibly our only try, the doctor advised it would be safer to do ICSI to get more fertilized eggs.

Get in there! No risking mother nature. Lets be honest, she hasn’t been that kind to me so far!

6. Wait 5 or so days. 

Now we wait and hope that the eggs fertilise and develop for a few days. At this stage they are given their first report card, and will be graded AA, A or B.. or whatever. I believe they would probably advise us to freeze even lower quality eggs, as they can be fine when implanted in some cases.

7. Freeeeeeezeeeeee

After all that, hopefully we have a few little embryos that have survived, and can be frozen. I think at this stage they are called blastocysts.

We can only hope to get to this stage! Baby’s first picture.

Pill Popping and hand waving. 

I am also doing a bunch of things to try and improve the quality of the eggs produced. I take a whole range of vitamins every day, plus calcium.

I’m doing acupuncture twice a week, which is a strange thing, but seems to work. I’m also making sure I have lots of protein, and not too much carbs. Lots of fish and eggs and chicken, and probably a tad too much chocolate, but I can only do so much! And no alcohol, or caffeine at all, and 1 cup of green tea maximum a day.

Remember I’m going through all this stress, and I can’t even have a glass of wine. Life is cruel sometimes!!

All of this is somewhat random advice gained from random sources, but I’ve checked it at least shouldn’t do any harm.

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2 Responses to “Insurance policy… Frozen embryos”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Farewell 2013 | Kath's Cervical Cancer Journey - December 30, 2013

    […] was the month of appointments and IVF. And probably most importantly I was referred to Dr […]

  2. IVF3 | Kath's Cervical Cancer Journey - March 27, 2014

    […] may remember IVF 1, and there was an IVF 2 in October this year that didn’t work. IVF 2 didn’t fail in the […]

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