After two failed embryo transfers, this time my doctor is taking a more aggressive approach and hormone lead in for my Frozen Embryo Transfer, the next stip in my IVF In Vitro Fertilization Protocol.
Need more information?
- In Vitro Fertilization Protocol Part 1
- In Vitro Fertilization Protocol Part 2
- IUI and IVF Risks and Side Effects
Want more of my personal infertility journey?
Ok, so let’s get into my new more aggressive IVF protocol for my Frozen Embryo Transfer.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
A frozen embryo transfer is just that: the transfer into the uterine lining of an embryo frozen after a previous IVF attempt. After our last IVF cycle, we did a fresh embryo transfer and were able to freeze one of the other embryos that we created. Our other embryos did not progress into the blastocycst stage and thus were not able to be frozen. Get the full story here.
Embryos are frozen via vitrification, or placing the embryo into a solution and rapidly freezing with liquid nitrogen. This process has a greater success rate than the previous method of freezing, which did not freeze the embryos as quickly and thus resulted in the formation of ice crystals (risking breakage later). Vitrification also means that fewer embryos need to be thawed and used per transfer because the embryos have a great chance of survival by not breaking.
As with the stimulation protocol, if you don’t have a regular cycle, your doctor will put you on a birth control lead in to give your hormones some structure. Then you go in for labs and ultrasound to make sure that there are no cysts or anything wonky. If you are cleared to start medications in preparation for the transfer, your doctor will prescribe a medication regimen to optimize your uterine lining.
In my case, this medication protocol for the uterine lining is two Estrace (estrogen) pills twice a day for two weeks, and then another round of labs and ultrasound to check how things are going. For the next three days, I will take 2 Estrace pills in the morning and add progesterone shots and a progesterone suppository in the afternoon. From two days before the transfer, the day of the transfer, and two days after the transfer, I will add a morning progesterone suppository. The embryo transfer protocol is the same as I have already had–read about my transfer and find out more in Protocol Part 2.
The remaining days until the pregnancy test (8 days after the transfer) will be the same, minus one suppository. If I am pregnant, I will continue the protocol of 2 Estrace pills in the morning, and an afternoon cocktail of progesterone shot and suppository.
If I am not pregnant… medications stop.
Remember! Not everyone has to do the same protocol as I am doing. We have played nice for the past 2 fresh embryo transfers, now is the time to get our fighting gloves on and see if we can get my body to realize that there is an embryo inside there and GROW A FREAKING BABY.
Though I am not going to be risking ovarian torsion as with the ovarian stimulation protocol, sexy times will be a bit less straightforward because of the progesterone suppositories and the fact that men should not come into contact with the progesterone.
Activity wise, I will be on very quiet time around the time of and just after the transfer and then quiet until the pregnancy test.
You’ve heard of the really painful in-the-butt shots that are part of IVF? Those are the progesterone-in-oil shots that are being added to my regimen. These are crazy painful because of the oil used to convey the oil; the other shots (like Menopur and Cetrotide) are dissolved in saline, which is far less viscous. Think about injecting olive oil into your muscle. Ouch.
If the Frozen Embryo Transfer doesn’t work, we will a) be out of embryos and have to do another full IVF cycle (including the ovarian stimulation) and b) we will start doing biopsies and genetic testing to see what might be afoot. Since I am young, have young eggs and a healthy uterus, we have held off on the genetic testing (which can get expensive).
How I’m Feeling:
I’m nervous AF about the Frozen Embryo Transfer. I know that I can handle the process; I can grin and bear it with the shots, the pills, the suppositories, the lightened exercise and activity, etc. I am scared of what will happen if this doesn’t work. I am scared of what will happen if it does work, because then I will be terrified of miscarriage. I need to get my anxiety under control before we get into the thick of all of this so that I can give my baby the best chance of thriving in my baby maker. I have to believe that I and my baby maker aren’t broken, that we both just need a hell of a kick start.More than a Disney movie: what Frozen Embryo Transfer means #infertility #ttc #sweatpink Click To Tweet
I will talk about the repercussions of genetic testing and biopsies and what all that means when we get closer.
Thank you all for listening, and let me know any questions or topics you would like me to cover in the comments!