Saturday, 8 April 2017

#atozchallenge Letters to my Embryos: G is for Grading

Welcome to Day 7 of the A to Z Challenge, an April blogging challenge where you aim post every day during the month following the letters of the alphabet (with every Sunday bar the last one off).

In the past I've used the challenge to blog about my infertility and the IVF process. I'm following a similar theme this year as we wait to begin the process for a Frozen Embryo Transfer, having completed a Freeze All IVF cycle in February.

We currently have nine embryos sitting on ice, my little bubbles, and this April I am blogging to them about the process of how they came to be.



Dear Bubbles,

By the time you are old enough to read this, you will probably be well aware that I value education and learning. I'm looking forward to watching you make discoveries about the world around us, and making discoveries right alongside you too.

From the second you are born, you'll be being graded on a number of different scales. A newborn's responsiveness is checked, later you'll be graded on your height and weight, how you grow, and then you'll start school and face a whole lot more test scores and checks.

But you faced your very first grading challenge way back when you were just five days old. And I'm not talking five days post-birth here either! When I say five days old, I mean five does post-conception.

On the 18th of February you were taken out of the incubator you'd been happily growing in, the Embryologist peeped into your petri dish and she liked what she saw. You passed the test and you were declared 'top quality blastocysts'.

Her actual words were 'fabulous embryos' which I have written on my hospital paperwork from the cycle, like your first ever school report.

What's confusing when it comes to embryo grading is that different clinics do it in their own ways. Some give numbers, some give letters, some give both. And even two clinics that use the same process can differ; for some 1 is the best and 5 is poor quality, for another it's the other way round.

I'm not sure what your exact grades are. I was so happy to know you'd survived to Day 5 that I didn't think to ask. All I know is that you're better than all the ones that came before. The best we had before was 5BB, so you must be at least 5AB or 5BA.

And that's how our hospital grades you. You're given a number from 1 to 6 depending on your stage of development (a 6 means you're hatching and ready to implant). Then your 'inner cell mass' (the bit in the middle that became you) gets an A to C grade, as does the Trophectoderm (the outer bit that eventually forms the placenta which keeps you fed and oxygenated for the next nine months). A is the best too.

So I'm not too worried about whether or not you get top grades when it comes to school. I know you'll do your best.

Because you already have.

All my love,

Your Mum.

22 comments:

  1. Sometimes schools do that too. I remember when my daughter transfered from one school system to another in a different state. For on "E" was for excellent and for the other "E" is for failing. She had lots of E for excellent and the new school system could have read the key for grading, but didn't.

    Finding Eliza

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    1. Oh no. I hope that didn't cause too many problems for her.

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  2. This should pretty well take the teeth out of future grading challenges for the little one.

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    1. Definitely. They've passed the biggest one already!

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  3. Oh, my eyes were pricking when I read your post. What a sweet tribute to your embryo!

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  4. Congrats on passing your first grading system little embryos! I love how you look at everything from a mother's perspective and not from a science perspective. Each aspect of the embryos life is important to you and you look forward to every step!

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    1. Thank you. It's amazing how connected you can feel to these little frozen bubbles of potential life. :-)

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  5. Glad they're off to a fantastic start!

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    1. I hope you enjoy them too. :-)

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  7. My co-worker just had a baby after having IVF transfers many times. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. Congratulations to your coworker. :-)

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  8. Congratulations that you are on your way to fulfilling a dream (I have read your blog in previous A to Z years). From other people that I know you have struggled with infertility, I know it can be frustrating and disheartening. I'm glad that you are able to be positive. Good luck in case I don't get back around until next year's challenge (life has a funny way of getting in the way of all my blog reading). Donna from Girl Who Reads

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    1. Thank you. :-)

      Fingers crossed if you visit next year I'll be addressing these letters to one of these little embryos outside of the freezer. ;-)

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  9. Good job blastocysts! Just keep doing your best. :)

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  10. I had no idea they are rated like this and to such detail but I guess that's how it should work. Very interesting and when your child is of age they will love to read this and know how much love went into this.

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    1. I didn't either until I had embryos to grade. :-)

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Let me know what you think. :-)