28 January 2014, by Tan Yi Lin
One of the things that a couple considering or undergoing IVF has to grapple with is how many embryos to transfer into the womb.
For our first 3 cycles (1 fresh, 1 frozen and 1 fresh), we didn’t hesitate to transfer 2 embryos for each cycle. After all, the odds of having twins are low – if they weren’t, we would be parents to 6 children by now.
Our first fresh cycle yielded zero babies.
Coco was borne out of our second cycle. Apart from her aversion to heat (hot food, hot weather, hot bath water, any blankets), it’s hard to believe that this happy little mite used to be a frozen embryo.
Heat-loving little Claire came from our next fresh cycle. We had actually conceived twins – but it was not meant to be.
So. Here we are again. Staring down the IVF path for the fourth time.
We have 3 little embryos (out of 5 from our last fresh cycle) – potential babies – waiting for us in the deep freezer of the KKIVF Centre.
Assuming that all 3 remain viable after undergoing the thawing process, how many do we put in this time?
Going by our records, putting 2 embryos in isn’t going to put us in the running for “Proud Parents To Twins” status. In fact, according to the KKH website, doubling our chances by transferring 2 embryos only gives us an approximately 30 % chance at conceiving through a frozen cycle. The chance of that pregnancy yielding twins is probably negligible – maybe around 5 %. So how lucky could we possibly get?
On the other hand, I was pregnant with twins for a good 10 weeks during the last cycle although the twin pregnancy was short-lived. While we had embraced our twin blessings back then and were devastated when we lost one of the babies, I have to admit that we were very apprehensive of our ability to manage the demands of an 18-month old and a pair of newborn twins.
If, this time round, IF we do conceive twins again, we’d be doubly outnumbered by a 3-year old, a 20-month old and two tiny newborns. Going from zero to 4 kids in 3.5 years is quite a feat and honestly, very intimidating. And if Fate determines that No.3 and No.4 are girls, Dannie’s teenage dream of being surrounded by a bevy of beauties would have come true – albeit in a completely different context from what his horny 16-year old brain could have imagined. That said, if the heavens dictate that we be parents to 4 girls then so be it, I gladly accept – but that’s just me.
Family planning – be it through natural or assisted means – is a joint decision between husband and wife. If Dan is more comfortable to try using one embryo at a time, as much as I’m afraid that our next attempt will end in failure without any ‘back-up’, I’m willing to go along with his request. After all, we can always try again one month later if our efforts end in nought. It also helps that the government’s co-funding scheme for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has been extended to cover up to 3 frozen cycles. So our next 3 attempts – if we are lucky enough to have 3 usable embryos – will be paid for in part.
But our decision alone doesn’t determine the route that we’ll take for our fourth attempt at IVF. We are old hands at this game now. We’ve come to know it all too well and are mindful that the chances of conceiving, albeit medically assisted, are not in our favour. We know that it would be a miracle and a blessing if we could have just one of the remaining embryos blossom into another beautiful child.
Maybe we shouldn’t be counting our embryos before they thaw.
I’m scheduled to meet Dr Sadhana next Friday to discuss our plan for the next cycle.
Let us see what advice the good doctor has for us.