IVF starts with stimulating the ovaries to harvest eggs that will be used during fertilization. Typically in IVF, the goal is to harvest and fertilize as many eggs as possible. Due to our beliefs about life (read more about our decision-making process), we had planned with our doctor to harvest as many eggs as possible, fertilize only 6, and freeze the extra eggs to be fertilized later if we needed. Due to a miscommunication with our doctor, she under-stimulated my ovaries, and we were only able to harvest 8 eggs. That only gave us two extra eggs, one of which turned out to be inviable for freezing. We decided that it wasn't worthwhile to freeze the single egg, since it wouldn't be enough to do another cycle without re-stimulating.

So, here is what happened with the 6 eggs we fertilized:

Day 1

  • All 6 of our eggs successfully fertilized

Day 3

  • All 6 of our now embryos continued to progress

Day 5

  • 1 embryo had stopped progressing since day 3
  • 3 embryos were behind the development schedule so we gave them an extra day to see if they would continue to develop
  • 2 embryos were fully healthy embryos (1 was implanted that day, 1 was frozen)

Day 7

  • 2 embryos had stopped progressing
  • 1 embryo had continued to progress, became fully developed, and was subsequently frozen

Overall, we fertilized 6 eggs: 3 embryos stopped progressing, 3 developed into healthy embryos (1 was implanted on Day 5, 2 were frozen on Day 5 and 7).

We were so thankful for the opportunity to be given all 6 of these precious little lives, and to know about them so early in their development. Most parents never get to know about the lives that began for only this short time. We know that we will see these 3 little ones one day, until then they will forever be in our hearts.

The header image for this post is one of the embryos that ceased development by Day 7.