Egg and embryo quality?
6 Replies
nixies - May 27

Hi there,
I have just completed my first round of IVF using ICSI in March '06. I am 36 yo, DH is 35. My FSH was 8.44, E2 was 55.89, and LH was 8.72. I had 7 eggs develop, and 6 were able to be fertilized (1 being immature). That resulted in only 3 embryos. I live in Greece, and the grade they gave them for the Day 3 transfer was "C". Does this translate to a 3? The others did not develop. The result was a chemical pregnancy. Now I am up for a second go. The Dr. states that the egg quality is poor, based only on my FSH #. Any suggestions? I was on a long protocol before, will a different approach make for a better quality oocyte at retrieval?
Maybe I should be asking if I should move to another country.... :-\


Dr Smith - May 30

Although I don't agree that the higher FSH is a direct predictor of egg quality, it is indicative that there will be a problem with the number of eggs and that will directly effect pregnancy outcome. As far as switching protocols goes, I'm not the one to ask. Try Dr Jacob's Infertility 101 Mesage Board - he's an RE, I'm not.

Grading systems vary and a grade C is dificult to interpret. However, it seems that the embryos were of intermediate quality. It is likely that's why the pregnancy resulted in a "chemical".

There is a good take-home message from the "chemical" pregnancy. Your uterus allowed implantation. Now all you need is a good embryo.


nixies - June 1

Thank you for your input regarding this. Very helpful. I do have another question. The Dr. mentioned that the egg quality was poor, based on the FSH and that they had to use ICSI to fertilize. He mentioned that the outer surface of the egg was unable to be penetrated by the sperm. Dr. Jacobs said this was most likely a sperm issue, but the Dr. here believes it is an egg issue. Any thoughts?

Thanks again,


Dr Smith - June 3

It could be both or either. Everybody's right here. If the protein coat that surrounds the egg (zona pellucida) is particularly thick, sperm may have difficulty penetrating. Conversly, if the protein coat is a normal thickness, and the sperm have to have sufficient "drive" to penetrate the protein coat, fertilization rates are diminished. In either of these cases, ICSI is a better choice.

For the record, I am not aware of ny direct relationship between high FSH and the thickness on the protein coat surrounding the egg (although I might wrong).


Leanne - June 4


I am currently in my 2ww. This is our second IVF attempt. I had Endometriosis as a teenager and was told I had altresia which was being masked all these years due to depo provera. I am almost 38.

Our first IVF attempt was cancelled. We had retrieved 3 eggs, but none fertilized.

After this retireval there was 5 eggs that fertilized! We transferred back 2 8 cell and 1 12 cell embryos on day 3. My hospital did not grade the embryos. Should we be concerend with the 12 cell embryo? The embryologist said at the time of transfer it was "a beautiful embryo and looked perfect." What are our odds that one of these embryos if not more will implant?

We appreicate your help. Thank you.


Dr Smith - June 5

The 12-cell embryo was a little ahead of the game, but nothing to worry about. I cannot predict your chances of pregnancy from the cell number of the embryos (specially without a grade). Also, I have no idea about the skill of the physician transferring the embryos (great embryos + botched transfer = failed cycle). I'm afraid you'll just have to wait and see. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Try not to get too stressed out (although that's prabably impossible). Best of luck.


Leanne - June 5

Thank you for answering my question about the 12 cell embryo. I do know the hospital I went to has the best lab in my area. So, as you said we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Thanks again,



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