Starting A Frozen Embryo Cycle: 19 Days To Go…by Ellie Thompson
It’s been a long old wait since April, our son’s second birthday, and the milestone we said we’d reach before we decided what to do about our two frozen embryos. I knew way before then I wasn’t going to be able to just leave them behind.
I wanted to wait two to three months post my second Covid jab before we got started, to make sure my immune system was back up and running. That took us to July. Then, we had a couple of months' delay thanks to mid-cycle bleeding and I underwent some investigative tests to see what that was all about (pretty sure it was the Covid vaccine). One ultrasound, one transvaginal scan, and one MRI later, I've gotten the all-clear, and my womb is finally signed off and ready to go.
Nearly six months on, it's now just 19 days until we start our frozen embryo cycle, starting drugs on day 1-3 of my next period.
Waiting for an IVF cycle
It’s frustrating having to wait to start an IVF cycle, especially if you’re at the start of trying for a family. Every second counts, especially when you’re in your late thirties plus. It’s not like deciding one night to throw caution to the wind and have another child, cracking on the “normal” way. There’s a lot more admin and body prepping to do with IVF before you even start your protocol to make sure you give it the best shot you’ve got.
I have to admit, as it will be our third, I’ve been able to be a lot more chilled and a lot more patient. We know how incredibly lucky we have been on our IVF journey, and have two beautiful kids because of it.
We’ve only ever been through two IVF cycles, both were fresh, and both were successful, which is pretty amazing. We have no experience of what a frozen embryo cycle is going to be like. I was pretty surprised when the prescription contained no needles… NO NEEDLES! I mean, are we even doing IVF if we don’t have to jab?!
Day 6 frozen embryos
We have two day-6 embryos, both graded 4Bb. From what I understand about embryo grading, these are pretty decent little blighters. The number represents how far the blastocyst has expanded and hatched out of its shell (1-6) and the numbers indicate the quality of the inner and outer cell mass, from A-D, ‘D’ being poor quality.
Apparently, in general, there's an approximately 9/10 chance of an embryo thawing, and we have already agreed with the clinic that we would only want one embryo transferred. This is because of my age, my previous pregnancy complications, and also because of all of the dangers that come with multiple pregnancies.
Our consultant has advised that they will thaw the embryo from our first ever cycle, as I was at my youngest when that was created. This little embryo is Maddie’s twin. How nuts is that? If that embryo fails to thaw, they'll then thaw the second. Apparently, it takes about 40 minutes, so it all happens very quickly on the day.
For us, there’s still a huge feeling of ‘what if we have to leave one behind?’, but there is a long way to go before we get to that scenario.
Preparing for a frozen embryo cycle
I’ve restarted acupuncture, with an appointment every two weeks at this point, and I’m continuing to take fertility supplements. Besides that, I’m not doing anything particularly crazy in terms of changing my lifestyle or my diet ahead of our frozen embryo cycle. I really believe it’s about balance, and being sensible. I’ve been doing yoga twice a week for a while now, which has had a massively positive effect on my physical and mental health, and I’m still doing Pilates once a week too. I think I’m in good shape to get started.
So far, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got the prescription at the ready, and now we’re just waiting for my next period.
To be continued…