Five failed to thaw
3 Replies
jen G - March 9

I am an IVF patient out of North Florida.

I just completed my first failed attempt at IVF. I am 31 y/o. During harvesting I developed 18 eggs. 11 of them fertilized with the help of ICSI. My doctor said that I'm too small and healthy to take any risks of implanting too many eggs, so he implanted two. Neither of them attached, but he said that my blood levels indicated that at least one of them tried. He said it was chromosomal. Post-transfer, he said that my estrogen levels were amazing being over 2000. He said that I had "perfect" ovaries that could produce many healthy eggs. He assured me that I am not someone who cannot get pregnant.

Yesterday was the thaw. All five of them failed to thaw. He said that they normally plump back up after the thaw, but mine failed to retake their shape. Prior to the thaw, the doctor told me that based upon their thaw rates, they should be able to get three from the thaw. My doctor told me yesterday, that the fact that none of them made it through the thaw indicates that they are all abnormal. He then reassured me that I can get pregnant, I just have to keep trying. He said he'd be shocked if I didn't get pregnant in one or two more tries.

I don't understand. It sounds like I have "chromosomal" issues. What difference does it make if I can produce a lot of eggs, if they won't take.

Does the results this time indicate that if I try again, I'll only have one chance during the fresh cycle? Can my embryos not survive the thaw? Is it even worthwhile to try again?


Dr Smith - March 10

First, your doctor is using too many superlatives like "perfect" ovaries. He's building up too many expectations. No wonder that you are confused.

Based on what you said, it sounds like you experienced a "chemical" pregnancy. One of the embryos implanted and began to release pregnancy hormone (hCG) into your bloodstream (detected as a "chemical" pregnancy) . The homone level did not coninue to rise as expected in a "good" pregnancy. The embryo failed to continue to grow (usually caused by a genetic abnormality) and the hCG level dropped back down to zero and the embryo was resorbed by your uterine lining. This is very common ans does not imply that you have genetic problems with your embryos.

The poor survival of the frozen embryos may have been a technical problem in the lab. You doctor was telling the truth that you should expect at least 3 out of the 5 to survive and "plump up" after the thaw. It is surprising (and a wee bit suspicious) that none of the embryos survived. I think something went wrong in the freezing process, but of course, it is impossible to prove.

I think you should not be discouraged and that you should try again. The chemical pregnancy is very common and, disappointing as it was, does not mean that it would happen on a subsequent attempt. The freeze-thaw issue was not necessary related to the quality of the embryos and could have been caused by a technical problem in the lab.


jen G - March 10

Thank you so much for responding to my questions. It's helped me to put things into better perspective. My dr never called it a "chemical" pregnancy. He simply described it. As I see it, if I had a chemical pregnancy than it must mean that my body is at least "capable" of getting pregnant. Perhaps, I just need to get the right embryos.

I am concerned about the lab issue. The clinic I went to is supposed to be a top clinic. I think I read somewhere that they had some of the best FET results around. I did note that the dr. was quick to say that there were abnormalities with my five embryos, and then he turned around and reassured me that he's confident that I'll get pregnant if I keep trying. How can I have chromosomal issues with all five embryos and at the same time have a good chance of success? Five bad embryos indicates to me a real problem. Perhaps, we need to do more research and look into other IVF programs. I'm really afraid of this happening again.


Dr Smith - March 13

You are getting mixed messages from your doctor. I agree. I think you should get a second opinion.



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