Tag Archives: infertilitysucks

Is IVF more boy-friendly?

We did genetic testing along with our IVF treatment, so we were able to see the sex of all of our embryos.  We didn’t WANT to know before transferring because we wanted it to be a surprise and we made that clear to our doctor.  He forgot.

We had 11 eggs that fertilized, but only 5 made it the 5 days after insemination to the testing day.  We found this out the morning of our embryo transfer, 6 days after egg retrieval/insemination, but it came with some bittersweet news.  First of all, our dumb dumb Dodo doctor came in that morning and exclaimed that he had some “great news.”  Out of 11 eggs, we were left with 2 healthy embryos.  Both male.  2.  We were super excited because we both wanted a boy, but there was also that twinge of sadness from finding out much earlier than (and not how) we wanted what the sex of our baby would be, and also knowing that we didn’t even have the option of having a girl from this round of IVF.

Even more concerning was that 3 of the 5 embryos were abnormal, and ALL FIVE were male.  We had no female embryos that made it to testing.  Which of course raises the complex question; What the fuck?

I actually don’t think we got much information at all about the genetic testing.  I’m not even sure if we got a physical report about their findings, we were just told that day that 3 of the 5 were “abnormal.”  I don’t know if they even know more than that or not.  I’d be interested in hearing from any of you fellow IVFers who also did testing if you ever got any more information than just normal/abnormal.  It seems sort of vague to me.  Could “abnormal” be anything ranging from minor to severe?  Who knows?  But it does make the prospect of trying on our own that much more daunting.

It would seem something is going on with our female embryos.  So while I was thrilled with the outcome of the IVF and ACTUALLY BEING PREGNANT!!  I was also quietly mourning the possibility that we had just been handed yet another obstacle and told yet another thing my body cannot do; make a female baby.

I’ve since read that IVF can be tough on female embryos, which are more fragile.  Especially with genetic testing, having to last outside the womb for 5 days is not an easy task (I can relate).  But this seems to only account for a very small margin, about 1-2% in favor of male embryos.

BUT, there’s another factor that I think is terribly overlooked when it comes to male favorability in IVF.  There are are many different protocols and techniques to IVF.  Over the several years of researching it and actually going through it myself I’ve spoken with many other women who have also gone through it.  None of us had the same exact experience.  One technique which can differ is the use of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) vs the dish method.

In the dish method an egg is introduced to a petri dish of sperm, the same way it would be inside the womb, so nature can take it’s course.  In ICSI, under direct microscopic vision, an embryologist chooses a single sperm and injects it into the egg.  ICSI is typically used for male infertility, when there are few sperm or the quality of them is low.  Our IVF clinic uses ICSI across the board, we did not get a choice in whether or not to use it.  I believe this is because of the genetic testing.

Fertilization in a petri dish, just like in natural insemination, requires interaction between the sperm and cumulus cells that surround the egg.  There is a need to remove these cumulus cells in order to perform preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and therefor it is left far less capable of being fertilized spontaneously.  Hence the need for further intervention (ICSI).

ICSI does have a higher pregnancy success rate, but you are also eliminating natural selection to some degree.  Eggs have ways of determining the best sperm and keeping those that have defects from passing through.  In ICSI, you have an embryologist basically eyeballing sperm and hand selecting one, and forcing it into the egg.  I believe they look for things like size and swimming strength, which could be why there is a higher occurrence of males?  Just a thought.

I’m totally fascinated by the science that brought us our baby, and I’m so grateful for it’s existence!  I could happily read about IVF all day, if I wasn’t busy chasing around the product of it in the form of my 10 month old who is faster on all 4s than I am on my 2s.  I would like to know the reason we had all male embryos, but it’s more due to my curiosity and thirst for knowledge when it comes to this stuff than anything else.  It would also be nice to know that the cause is not an indication of something unhealthy that I may be passing down to my son.  I would LOVE to have a daughter some day, but am perfectly happy being a #boymom forever.

 

 

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In Other News

Today while taking a wee I looked down at my dog’s 4 inch nails, then had to wipe myself with a paper towel.  I had to wonder, am I ready for children?

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Here Goes Everything!

I can’t think of many things more personal than dealing with infertility.  Even when you try to be open with people about it, there are times it can be met with so little understanding you’re almost left feeling like you should be ashamed of even paying attention to this thing your body can’t do.  Like you’re greedy or something for not just focusing on what you DO have.  Unfortunately I’ve learned that, for some people, not understanding something has absolutely no correlation to how opinionated they are about it. Despite all that, I want to share our story as it happens.

The main reason for this is because I know I would not have made it this far if it weren’t for all of the awesome women who have shared their stories with me. Infertility is heartbreaking. And I guess when we put all our little broken pieces together, we can make something cool out of it, a sort of mosaic. There are so many feelings when dealing with infertility, I believe if you can’t have some sort of outlet, you’ll most certainly explode. I’d like to dig up unsolved mysteries of spontaneous combustion and see if I can’t find a link to infertility.

So before I go BOOM, I’ll share my story. Some of our history is in the About Us section. Our IVF cycle is still brand brand new, but it’s been about a 3 year trek to even arrive here. I started my BC pills on Friday night, so far I feel no difference, which is a good thing. The last time I was on birth control I was cah-ray-zay! And not in the fun way, either. I think I tend to be a pretty hormonal person on my own, puberty took roughly 8 or 9 minutes to completion for me. I went from long standing member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee to carting around my very own set of Dub Ds faster than you could spell Soleil Moon Frye. I’ll never forget the inopportune moment it happened, either. My mom had just bought me a plum colored t-shirt dress from the Gap that were all the rage in 1991. I tried it on and went bounding down the stairs to show it off to my family. As I hit the 3rd or 4th step my sister gasped, pointed and sang “KATIE’S GOT BOO-BIES!” I hated that song.

So I don’t know if the hormone thing really has anything to do with my reaction to birth control. All I know is that some of my less boobified and more tomboyish friends loved taking it. They were all Zen about it and felt great, the dumb bitches. It just made sense to me that it was like a scale, leveling them out, meanwhile sending me into overdrive, pressing heavily against the “Serial Killer Mode” switch in my brain. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

I have no idea how women did it in the 70s. Weren’t they taking like a bajillion milligrams back then?? I guess that explains the adoration of shag carpeting, puke green and baby shit yellow that decade, women were out of their poor minds!

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