I’m sitting in the garden in the sunshine. I am loving this (atypical) British Summer. Despite being born in the very north of Sweden, close to the Arctic Circle, on a cold (-30 Celsius) January day, I am a summer child. I’m soaking up the rays and the vitamin D spray is firmly placed in a drawer (a very risky move when it comes to British Summer).
We got nine eggs this morning and although I was gunning for a dozen (read here), I am very happy with nine little beauties. WHOOP!! Egg collection was a smooth process – I feel a little slow and woozy from the anaesthesia but on the whole I am in no pain and I feel calm and relaxed. In The Disaster Round when we got five eggs and my lining was dire, I woke up after egg collection crying uncontrollably. Today, I feel good.
Although the consultant doesn’t normally work for the IVF clinic on Wednesdays, he popped down especially (from his private clinic) to do my egg collection this morning. Just before the anaesthetist gave me the “G&T” and sent me off to la-la land, the consultant appeared wearing a frog-clad bandana, which put a BIG smile on my face. By the way, is it only me or do you also find that every single anaesthetist says “and here comes the G&T….” before giving you the anaesthetic? I’ve been put to sleep 12 times over the past three years (!!) and every single one of them said the same thing, I swear. The head nurse who has been our primary contact during stimulation also popped down minutes before egg collection, just to wish me luck. It’s those little things that make you feel supported.
We’re doing ICSI on all eggs, provided they are mature of course (it’s impossible to perform ICSI on immature or post-mature eggs). You often hear that women produced a set number of eggs, but that only a certain number of those were mature. I wrote about how eggs mature and why it matters in a previous blog post. In previous rounds I have been lucky that most of my eggs have been mature. Stats to date: round #1 – 7 eggs, all mature; round #2 – 10 eggs, 9 mature; and The Disaster Round (#3) – 5 eggs, 5 mature.
We need ICSI because as it it turns out, H’s sperm and my eggs just don’t get on that well. In the first two sperm analyses H’s morphology was on the low side (but has since improved as he’s been taking Proxeed religiously), so we were down for ICSI. In round #1 we did standard IVF and only one out of seven eggs fertilised. I plan to write about what I learnt from IVF round #1 another day.
Before I started this journey I had no idea what the difference is between IVF, ICSI and IMSI. As an aside, the fertility world is full of foreign acronyms!
IVF: In standard IVF (in vitro fertilisation) the prepared sperm sample is mixed with the eggs in a petri dish. The procedure is quick and within five minutes the eggs are back in the incubator and (hopefully) the fertilization process begins to take place.
ICSI: ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) takes the insemination procedure to the next level. The embryologist injects a single sperm into each mature egg using a very fine pipette. Following the injection procedure the eggs are returned to the incubator overnight.
IMSI: IMSI (intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection) is the Rolls Royce treatment: the embryologist uses a high power microscope to magnify the sperm around 6000 times so that he/she can select the most perfectly-shaped sperm. Once the lucky winner has been selected, the embryologist performs ICSI on the egg with the sperm. IMSI is not as widely used as ICSI and seems mostly suitable for severe teratospermia (abnormal sperm shape) – it’s a new development and more expensive to perform than ICSI. At first I thought that ICSI was IMSI – i.e. that they selected the best of the [sperm] bunch and injected it into the egg – but have since learnt that this is not the case. Read more about the difference between ICSI and IMSI here.
On average 65%-70% of all injected eggs fertilise normally from ICSI and IMSI, so I’m crossing all fingers and toes that at least six of the nine fertilise overnight. GET IT ON!!
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