Embryo Adoption, Part 1: Monitoring
As we introduced in this post, we adopted a set of 5 embryos. Mr Wigglesworth was born from the 1st transfer. Now that he is 14 months old, we are getting ready to do the 2nd transfer.
Here is a description of what we are doing to get ready for this 2nd transfer.
Warning: I use some technical language in this post. I aim to explain what this technical jargon means, but I know I’ll miss something along the way. If you find something you want to know more about, please feel free to ask in the comments, send us a note via the Contact Us form, or merely google the term.
First, Mr Wigglesworth had to be completely weaned. This was hard for this crunchy mom-mom who enjoys nursing. But, we got it done.
Next, I start ‘monitoring’. Earlier, I did “baseline monitoring”, which includes 2 things. First, I had a blood test to measure my levels of estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and Beta hCG. The first 4 are showing where I am in my cycle and how well my body is doing at this cycle thing. The Beta measures human growth hormone, which will show if I am pregnant or not. I’m not.
Our clinic wants same day results, so I make an early morning run down to the city about 40 minutes south to a hospital that does the tests in-house. I need to get there early enough that there is enough time to have results same day, but also early enough so I can get home before Hubby takes off for his day job (teaching). The upside to getting up while it’s still dark is a quiet drive listening to podcasts I wouldn’t otherwise get to listen to and getting to drink my coffee while not having to talk to anyone. I seriously never imaged I would ever want time in which I wasn’t talking to anyone. Motherhood has changed me.
The second thing is an ultrasound. Yes, the invasive one, the “vaginal ultrasound”. The doctor needs to measure “follicular development”(aka what your ovaries are doing), and “endometrial thickness” (aka the nutrient rich lining the inside of the uterus). Luckily, my doctor, the OB/GYN, is super nice and easy to talk to, so it’s far less awkward than it could be.
I started taking estrace last week. Yep, straight up estrogen. And, at least last time around, estrogen makes me feel pretty good. I’ll do the monitoring on a weekly basis until we get close to the transfer time. I’ll have to have my progesterone levels checked an extra time right before the transfer so we can make sure my body has enough progesterone to support the pregnancy.
The doctor I’m working with, the reproductive endocrinologist (fertility doc), uses a simple hormone replacement therapy that works with a woman’s cycle to prepare her for the embryo transfer. In contrast, most of the other women I have talked to are assigned a protocol that overrides their natural cycle. The advantages of this mean you can plan the transfer several months in advance, while the protocol I’ve been assigned means there is much more variability in the timing. For example, for our 1st transfer, we first had a transfer date of Nov 28, but my cycle didn’t line up with this, so we had to cancel that one and plan a new date. Luckily, the 2nd time around the timing worked wonderfully, and on Dec 15, we transferred 2 babies. We lost 1, but the other implanted, and Mr Wigglesworth was born about 9 months later.
This is a crazy time of getting my body ready for pregnancy. Questions? Please do ask! I love answering questions about biology and life, so bring them on. Not into leaving comments on blog posts? Send us a message directly using that Contact Us button in the top right hand corner.