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Frozen Embryo Transfer: In Vitro Fertilization Protocol Part 3

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?

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)

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. @suzlyfe http://suzlyfe.com/frozen-embryo-transfer-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf-protocol-part-3/

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.

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. @suzlyfe http://suzlyfe.com/frozen-embryo-transfer-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf-protocol-part-3/

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.

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. @suzlyfe http://suzlyfe.com/frozen-embryo-transfer-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf-protocol-part-3/

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. 

Other Notes:

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.

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. @suzlyfe http://suzlyfe.com/frozen-embryo-transfer-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf-protocol-part-3/

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).

Live Laugh Love Infertility Awareness Logo. Find out more at http://suzlyfe.com/infertility-awareness-week-virtual-walk

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!

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84 Comments

  • Reply heather @Lunging Through Life

    You’re so amazing. I don’t know how you keep all this straight but I am over here praying this all goes well!!

    May 2, 2017 at 5:34 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I honestly don’t know if I am keeping it all straight! (don’t worry, I checked myself, lol)

      May 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    This sounds extremely complicated but Im glad you have a solid and aggressive plan! Ugh those shots sound painful.
    Hang in there and *try* to relax. Positivity is so powerful!

    May 2, 2017 at 5:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m so glad that I have a great team to guide me through!

      May 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm
  • Reply Christina @ montessoriishmom.com

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m thinking lots of happy thoughts for you that this more aggressive option will work great!

    May 2, 2017 at 5:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Christina!

      May 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm
  • Reply Marcia

    Sending you all the best baby-growing vibes!

    May 2, 2017 at 6:13 am
  • Reply Samantha

    Hey girl our cycles have finally synched (yay but not really)! Starting Estrace for my second FET after a chemical a few weeks ago. Fingers crossed we aren’t both doing stims again. WE GOT THIS!!!

    May 2, 2017 at 6:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope for that so much…

      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Dietitian Jess

    This is just such an insane and difficult process I’m wishing you guys the best, I know it can’t be easy <3

    May 2, 2017 at 6:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That it is: insane. Thank you, jess!

      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Patrick @ looneyforfood.com

    Good luck!

    May 2, 2017 at 7:00 am
  • Reply Jamie@TheMomGene

    This is the path I am most familiar with. Frozen embryos got me all three of the kids. I absolutely get the nervousness–the jittery feeling like you’ve had a million cups of coffee, but really it’s just your brain hyped up on worry. I’m going to pray for surreal peace and many good distractions. The body gets treated a bit gentler in FET so perhaps this will be a gentle welcoming home for the frostie.

    May 2, 2017 at 7:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is funny you say that the body gets treated more gently–I feel like ti is getting the ringer! But I have hope (maybe)

      May 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Sara

    Hugs!!! I REALLY hope this works for you! I had a similar protocol for both of my FETs.

    May 2, 2017 at 7:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well, that gives me hope!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    Oh man!! So many hugs and positive vibes and prayers sending your way, Susie!

    May 2, 2017 at 7:12 am
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    You’ve got this!!!! Stay as strong and positive as possible!!! Praying for you!

    May 2, 2017 at 7:19 am
  • Reply Michelle

    Sending lots of love, hugs, and prayers for a successful procedure!!! You are going to be an amazing momma one day!!! 🙂

    May 2, 2017 at 7:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And until them, I’ve at least got Ridley!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Emily Weir

    Sending happy thoughts your way for a positive round. And also that your anxiety would level out, regardless of what happens. None of these steps have sounded easy by any means, and you seem to take it all in stride.

    May 2, 2017 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s all a facade, lol. But really, having this blog helps me so much!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply Rae

    Sending lots of love and positivity your way, my dear!

    May 2, 2017 at 7:32 am
  • Reply Cora

    So these are a lot more hormones going into you this time around, yes?? I don’t recall hearing about so many pills PLUS shots in your previous trials. It will be interesting to see how this affects you? Good thing you are a grace making machine and know how to forgive yourself for whatever feelings may arise (riighhtt??). This ain’t going to be easy, but I know you have the strength. <3

    May 2, 2017 at 8:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m being really forgiving of myself an what is going on in my life and mind right now–more so than ever. I’m just trying to take it moment by moment!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm
  • Reply Kelli @ Hungry Hobby

    OMG! Well let’s give you one hell of a kick start then! As always thanks for sharing, I’m hanging on every word!

    May 2, 2017 at 8:06 am
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    Whenever and wherever you need me, I’m here.

    I’m sending my own brand of mommy love your way. It’s all I’ve got that I can give you right now.

    That…….and the promise that I won’t bug you daily!
    May the frosty be with you….

    May 2, 2017 at 8:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, Mom. Get back to the US, please!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner

    Wow, this sounds intense! No more Mrs. Nice Suz. Fingers crossed that everything goes perfectly!

    May 2, 2017 at 8:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I even take imperfectly, lol!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    I’d be scared AF too, of everything. What if it does, what if it doesn’t. GAH. Life is one big brain F sometimes. I mean, I can tell you that the weeks immediately following a positive pregnancy are stressful enough on their own for people who haven’t dealt with infertility issues and gone through the stuff you’re going through. I’m trying to think about what I’d do to help myself cope. Drink and run, but then I wouldn’t be able to do that LOL. Actually, it’s not funny. Man, this is like bootcamp for parenting. Doing everything we can, pulling out all the stops for our kid(s) and then letting go of control and hoping for the best. My oldest, Jake, comes to mind. :/ I hope I’m not irritating you. I can be a dink. I just love you so much and I wish there’s something I could do to make this work. I’d do anything. XO

    May 2, 2017 at 9:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I love you, and just knowing how much you are behind us helps so much. You are there, and that is all that I can ask for.

      May 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Emily

    This is in depth; praying for you. <3 Thank you for going through each part of it in detail.

    May 2, 2017 at 9:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope that it helps others!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply Colby

    Sending all the vibes. Best of luck, My Friend. My paws are crossed! xoxoxo

    May 2, 2017 at 9:28 am
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    <3 <3 <3
    sending you and Alex lots of love and sticky vibes for yoshi.

    May 2, 2017 at 10:42 am
  • Reply Sandra Laflamme

    So many hugs!

    May 2, 2017 at 11:07 am
  • Reply Gretchen

    Wishing you the best of luck Suz!! I know you want this so badly and I am just hoping and praying it works this time. Come on Yoshi!! I have to say I admire your sense of humor going through this and the fact that you can put a picture of Frozen in this post (which, btw I want to watch now)….You are amazing.

    May 2, 2017 at 11:13 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You have to keep some humor in this–otherwise, you go CRAZY

      May 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Sarah @ Sweet Miles

    You got this! I think for this round I will not only pray for success, but for peace in the process. For a calming of your anxiety. I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed for you though!

    May 2, 2017 at 11:15 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, Sarah, thank you!

      May 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Lindsay

    Progesterone shots are no joke! My mom went through same process to start having kids. And I will too! I’ve had those shots before to help regulate hormones. So so needed. Thanks for sharing this
    Process friend! You are doing wonders for infertility awareness and I thank you!

    May 2, 2017 at 11:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Let me know if you ever need anything, dear.

      May 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply Esther

    Sending so much love, support and prayers!
    ❤️❤️❤️

    May 2, 2017 at 11:25 am
  • Reply Laura

    You’re not kidding about the shots. Jesus. I can’t even sit on my butt. You’d think modern medicine would have come up with something better by now.

    Anyway… thinking of you. Xoxo

    May 2, 2017 at 11:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is getting better as the days go, I have to say

      May 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm
  • Reply Heather@hungryforbalance

    Sending so much love, positive energy, and calming thoughts your way!

    May 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Heather! I know you understand.

      May 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm
  • Reply Amy @ WillRun4Icecream

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    May 2, 2017 at 12:17 pm
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    Infreakingtense. Sending you good vibes and hugs and love and pita bread. Always here for love and support – even when I’m back in Ohio. You can’t get rid of me that easily 😛

    May 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I better not be able to. And same goes for you!

      May 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Sending so many hugs! Those shots sound painful but you have a plan in front of you. Wishing you the best!

    May 2, 2017 at 12:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ain’t no worse than those wall-miles of a marathon 😀

      May 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    Wow that is a lot to go through! I would be so nervous as well. if anyone can do this it’s you!!

    May 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I would like to think so! Thank you, Deborah!

      May 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I did those progesterone shots 3 times; 2 for my pregnancies, where I received them nightly for 3 months! Ouch! The other time was for my 3rd embryo transfer which did not end in a pregnancy. So that was much shorter. The shots don’t hurt terribly if they are given into a loose muscle. I used to stand up and lean into the wall with my leg loose. Mike would inject into my ventrogluteal muscle. He did a good job and I didn’t develop any scar tissue ever. One scary thing happened and that was during my second pregnancy. There was a shortage of progesterone. I used every connection I had to get enough for that first trimester. Desperate times, desperate measures. That was 18 years ago and I still haven’t forgotten it. Very, very scary.

    Instead of OCPs, my doctor put me on Lupron for that 3rd cycle, which essentially puts you into menopause. It was horrible and I am sure that is why I didn’t get pg the 3rd time. Glad to hear that has gone by the wayside. Good luck Susie–sending fertile vibes your way.

    May 2, 2017 at 2:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Wendy. That is scary about the Lupron–I am so sorry to hear that you went through that! I’ve either gotten better at the shots or my body is getting used to them and it isn’t hurting as much.

      May 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Lex

    Fingers are crossed and sending my love!!

    May 2, 2017 at 2:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you thank you Lex xoxo

      May 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply Sarah, Miss Whisk

    You are so amazing Susie! It is an emotional roller coaster for sure. I know you can handle all the physical stuff and will put yourself through all the pain and not so fun side effects and whatever it takes to “MAKE A FREAKIN’ BABY”. It’s the emotions, stress, and hormones (yeah as if we need those messing with our heads and bodies, like we don’t have enough going on). Like you said you need to stay calm and positive and that is so much easier said then done. You sharing your story is helpful to so many women out there who may be dealing with it alone. Women who can’t talk to their partner because as much as they are in this with them don’t fully understand what we go through. The women who don’t have friends to talk to about it and have to sit and watch and yet another friend or family member gets pregnant, and even harder the ones who weren’t trying or don’t want kids when there is so many women who would do almost anything and walk through fire to have a child of their own.
    You got this, remember you are strong, and you have so many of us who are here for you!

    May 2, 2017 at 2:40 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so, so very much for this comment, Sarah, you have no idea how much it means to me. I am indeed so lucky to have such a supportive family and friend group–it is tragic to think that others do not. I really wish we didn’t have to talk about it, but the reality is that we do, and if I need to start discussion, I will gladly do so.

      May 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. You are amazing. Fingers crossed and best wishes.

    May 2, 2017 at 2:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you so much, Emily, I really appreciate it!

      May 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Bri

    love how you’ve been sharing all of this, such an amazing resource for those going into treatment.

    May 3, 2017 at 8:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I really hope that it helps everyone know what to expect when you are trying to expect!

      May 7, 2017 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply Kat

    Gosh, I can’t even imagine all the stress and anxiety. Hang in there girl – you’ve got this! Will be praying and thinking about you. As always, thank you for being so open and honest and sharing your journey with us 100% uncensored. You truly are an inspiration <3

    May 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Kat, for all of your support and love. It truly means so much to me.

      May 7, 2017 at 11:58 am
  • Reply Christy

    During my first (and only) round of Clomid, I had to take estrogen internally. The pill was blue. Things got super Smurfy in my panties (sorry for TMI, but I found that fertility treatment has relocated my boundaries). I’m so glad the nurse warned me, or it would have really freaked me out! Hang in there… wishing you the best!!

    May 3, 2017 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahaha! Christy, I know exactly what you mean–I used to put my birth control intravaginally–so sometimes it looked like yellow stuff was coming out of my vag… which would NOT be a good thing!
      Thank goodness for that nurse, and you are so right on the changes in boundaries!

      May 7, 2017 at 11:57 am
  • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

    All I can say is that I’m cheering loud and hard for you.

    May 6, 2017 at 10:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you Linda! I so appreciate it.

      May 7, 2017 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    Ow ow owwwwwwwwwwww! Those injections sound painful!

    I am super behind on blog reading but I hope you’re well, gorgeous! xo

    May 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I have some great bruises 😀

      May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

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