Saturday, August 1, 2009

NINE - make that NINE embryos to take over the world with!

Quick update from the Clinic:

The embryologist called to update us on the status of the fertilized eggs at "Day 3".

Potato #1's batch developed another fertilized egg! To their surprise, a 3rd egg was found to be cleaving!! Woo-Hoo!!! That means I now have THREE chances to procreate instead of just two!!! According to the embryologist, I have:
  • One 8 cell embryo
  • "Two nice" 6 cell embryos
Potato #2's batch is developing along nicely too! He has:
  • Three 8 cell embryos
  • One 6 cell embryo
  • Two 4 cell embryos
According to the embryologist, they are looking for 6 to 8 cell embryos at this stage, so we are looking good!! He also shed more light on the decision to go with a 5 day transfer vs a 3 day transfer. It seems that since neither of the donors are "older", and since we have some really nice 6-8 cell embryos, it makes sense to do a day 5 transfer at which point the embryologist will have a better selection of embryos from which to choose from for the transfer.

Generally speaking, the Clinic has developed grading methods to judge oocyte and embryo quality. Embryos are graded by the embryologist based on the number of cells, evenness of growth and degree of fragmentation. The number to be transferred depends on the number available, the age of the egg donor, the age of the surrogate, and various other health and diagnostic factors. Embryos that have reached the 6-8 cell stage used to always be transferred three days after retrieval; this is still true today if there are really only a couple of embryos available (or based on other extenuating factors). However, if there are many good-quality embryos still available on day 3, the embryos are placed into an extended culture system with the transfer done at the blastocyst stage at day five. Blastocyst stage transfers have been shown to result in higher pregnancy rates for a variety of reasons.

I know I'm providing lots of details here, and I hope they are accurate. In the event they aren't, please let me know so that I can update the blog post, as I don't want to be misleading anyone reading this.

Here is a "generic" picture of an 8-cell embryo for transfer 3 days after fertilization.

Note that this is NOT one of our embryos, just a "generic" one I found on the Internet!

On a separate note, I think it is also important to point out that the first transfer of an embryo from one human to another resulting in pregnancy was reported in July 1983, and subsequently led to the announcement of the first human birth resulting from IVF on February 3, 1984. It is really amazing to think that what initially caused all sorts of controversy ("the test tube baby") has evolved over the past 25 years into what is now a mainstream clinical practice.

This is simply amazing stuff, and truly an amazing application of technology at work for ME!



  1. Wouldn't it be cool if one was some sort of "evil" embryo, and you don't know which one it is, and you have to decide which ones to use, and the evil one already has some sort of mind control ability, so you...well I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. On the other hand what a great screenplay. Good luck with the Tater Tots!

  2. Oh, we know Potato #2 is the evil spud already!! So the chances of passing along those potato chip genes to his little french fry are pretty high! :)

  3. I hope Steve and I are as lucky as you guys. We'll have fries with that PLEASE!