Do numbers really matter?

Ever since our retrieval of 27 eggs, I was a bit surprised to see things rapidly declining. 

Our fertilization counts were:

  • Day 1 – 13
  • Day 2 – 12 
  • Day 3 – 11
  • Day 4 – no update
  • Day 5 – 2 blastocysts. 1 transferred. 1 discarded as low quality. 
  • Day 6 – 2 blastocysts frozen.

After a few days of phone tag, I finally caught up with our embryologist today to ask her a few questions. I was concerned that maybe my egg quality wasn’t great or maybe it was a sperm issue? Basically, I just wanted to know why we went from 13 fertilized to 3 embryos. 

She explained that they expect your Day 3 numbers to decrease by half on Day 5. Ideally, we would have gone from 11 to 5-6. She said it’s too difficult to determine where the problem lies (might be a better question for the RE), but that it’s clear that ISCI is the best for us. All 3 of our strong embryos were from the ISCI group.  I’m not upset that we chose to do half and half. I get that your first IVF cycle can be a bit of trial and error. In our case, there was no error. Although slightly below expected, our numbers still give us 3 chances at conceiving our babies. She reassured me that the one we transferred was very high quality, as are the two we froze. 

In the end, I’ve realized higher numbers don’t matter. All that matters is quality. You could be left with 1 embryo. As long as it sticks, the IVF process was a success. 

9 days til Beta… stick little bean, stick. 

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38 thoughts on “Do numbers really matter?

  1. I was shocked at the “attrition” as well. I had 53 eggs retrieved, 29 were mature, 21 fertilized and 12 made it to day 5. We ccs tested the best 8, four of which were normal. Of the four that made it to day 5 but weren’t ccs tested only one was good enough to freeze. . . It’s insane! Saying so many prayers for you that is an easy wait with a bfp at the end!

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  2. We only had 6 eggs retrieved. I know it’s super cliche but it only took one (even though we put back two). You just never know. You at some point throw your hands up and give it up to a higher power. I’m thinking of you though!!

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  3. I think all of the numbers are the most maddening part of IVF. Aside from the influx of hormones, anyway. It’s so hard not to want to see big numbers given what you’re putting your body through, but you are absolutely right–it’s quality, not quantity. I’m rooting for that little embryo!!!

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      • Like if it builds in your system? Hmm I wonder? Then they’d also have to take that into account for your beta too then. I haven’t taken HCG support so I’m not sure. I’m sure the nurses would be able to tell you. They’re pretty good at getting back to me same day 🙂

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  4. The whole thing is all so strange to me!!! They told me that the only way to know if an embryo was really viable was through genetic testing. We opted out of that. We started with 17 embryos, transferred 2, 1 took, and 9 were frozen. But my RE told me that out of those 9, maybe 2 would result in successful pregnancy. There could be issues or abnormalities that just don’t show up until later in the pregnancy. I am so glad you have 2 to freeze. They told me it is so hard when they have to tell some women they have none. Praying that somedays all those beautiful embies will be babies in your arms!

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  5. My friend had the same experience. 15 eggs retrieved. They all fertilized by the number dropped alarmingly everyday. By day 5, there were two good looking blastocysts and one embryo that didn’t look good. The two blastocysts that were transferred became her daughter. The one embryo that didn’t look good on day 5 became a blastocyst on day 6. She transferred that one a few months ago and got pregnant. So… she also only had 3 left but she got 2 pregnancies out of it. Best of luck this time round so you don’t even have to worry about the remaining embryos!

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  6. It is crazy, just another reminder that we can’t really predict anything! Definitely makes me nervous when I’m pretty sure I’ll be starting with a much smaller number! Hoping all goes well for you!

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  7. Not too many days left before your beta! Exciting!

    Numbers…anyone going through IF and especially ART has lots of numbers running around them. But as others have said and I learned, it really does only take one! On our first IVF, we had nothing to freeze and two to transfer. Our second IVF we had 3 (2+1) to freeze and two to transfer and on our final IVF we had 1 to freeze (still frozen and most likely won’t be used) and 2 to transfer, which one of them resulted in my son. It really does only take one!
    Sending every extra pregnancy vibe I got your way.

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  8. I’m in a similar but different boat – I produce a low amount of embryos to begin with (and stutter through stimming) and usually wind up with 3-5 embies. IVF #1 was 3, IVF #2 was 5 (but only 4 were high quality) and IVF # 3 was 4 embies.

    So I understand the feeling of resignation and acceptance.

    9 days til you’re beta?! Exciting. Hang in there, I know it’s rough 😉

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