We arrived at the Clinic at 11:00am, checked in, and met with our handsome Dr. (whom we will refer to as Dr. H). Dr. H is the Medical Director at the Clinic, and is "the" guy responsible for the technology behind the journey we are attempting. Personable, charming, able to talk to us at our level (without the mumbo jumbo so many doctors often spout), and committed to helping us have kids, Dr. H is really great, and we are excited to be working with him and his wonderful team!
Dr. H told us that Suzie's egg retrieval went well, and that the eggs were in the process of being prepped and reviewed, and he told us that "so far, everything looks great."
We wrapped up our individual appointments, in which we provided our sperm samples, and were later told by the folks in the Sperm Lab that they seemed "fine."
From there we did some paperwork, and Dr. H stopped by to see how we were doing and help with any additional questions we might have.
From what we understand, here is basically what happens next:
- The embryologists are basically in control.
- The eggs and sperm are allowed an opportunity to acclimate themselves to the environment they are now in. The eggs are quantified and qualified. Since we are conducting a "shared" cycle, we have contracted for a specific quantity of eggs, with the remainder going to the Clinic for use with other couples.
- The eggs are stripped of surrounding cells and prepared for fertilization. In the meantime, the semen is prepared for fertilization by removing inactive cells and seminal fluid.
- The eggs we are receiving will be separated into two batches; one for each of us potatoes' sperm to fertilize.
- The eggs and sperm are reviewed to determine whether they will be allowed to naturally fertilize, or whether assisted fertilization is necessary. This will be determined today, as the goal is to fertilize ASAP with all of the fresh material.
- The sperm and the egg are incubated together at a ratio that may vary from clinic to clinic, but is typically around 75,000:1 in the culture media for about 18 hours.
- The eggs and sperm start to date. The rules are simple. No long-term dating. They need to get down to business and get some home runs going ASAP! We have asked for pictures, but understand they may be shy.
- In most cases, the egg will be fertilized during this 18 hour period. This is not one of those long term relationships that go nowhere. The fertilized egg will show two pronuclei.
- The fertilized egg is typically passed to a special growth medium and left for about 48 hours until the egg consists of 6-8 cells.
- We should get a call tomorrow informing us of just how many embryos were fertilized and how they are doing.
- Over the course of the next two days (Thursday and Friday), the embryos are checked, evaluated, and reviewed for "assisted hatching" as necessary.
- By Saturday morning, the embryologists should know if they want to conduct the transfer of the embryos to Jane on Saturday (day 3) or on Monday (day 5).
- I believe we will receive pictures of the embryos on transfer day. :)
- The remaining embryos are frozen (through cryopreservation).
That's basically today in a nutshell. Wow.
More as it develops!