Phase 3. Grow eggs in a Petri dish.

I thought waiting 5 days for news would be painful, but after weeks, if not months, of heavy focus on all that needs to be done in preparation, the radio silence is a nice reprieve!

For a while, I almost forgot the rest of the world out there – news was one of the things I gave up in order to free mental bandwidth.

While I reconnect with the world and life back at home in Missoula, I have zygotes in Petri dishes in Portland. And not just a few, but sixteen. 

Zygo-whaaa? Let’s take a trip down basic biology lane.

Here’s what’s happening:

You read the post about ICSI (if not, it’s here). Once the eggs are fertilized, they are left alone to divide.

They start out with two pronuclei (one from the egg, one from the sperm), and each contains 23 chromosomes – not 23 pairs, but just one of each.

The pronuclei combine, to create a regular cell, on Day 1. That’s when it becomes a zygote.

On day 2, the cell replicates itself and divides in two.

One day 3, both cells replicate and divide, so there are four.

On day 4, same thing: 8 cells, until this point, all laying flat.

On day 5, all the cells divide again, and it turns into a ball shape. Now there are too many too count.

On day 5 or 6, the ball of cells begins to differentiate – into an outside layer called the trophodecterm, inside cells that go on to form the embryo, and inside cells that go on to form the yolk sac. (Yep, you heard that right. The yolk sac supplies nutrients to the embryo until the placenta comes online to get nutrients from the mom, which usually happens at about 8 weeks.)

At this point, the ball of differentiated cells is now called a blastocyst.

On day 6, the embryologist will laser of a few cells from the trophodecterm, and those cells will be sent to the lab for CCS – Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening.

On average, half of eggs that fertilized will survive to day 6, and of those, 30% will pass genetic screening, the results of which take a week to receive. So, more waiting.

If I think about it, my mind can get all wound up. But no amount of thinking about it will change the outcome, so I turn my attention elsewhere. No use in getting wound up! Focusing elsewhere also happens to be a convenient cover for being guarded, given our disappointing results last time. So I welcome the mental break. I’m sure that by Friday morning when I am waiting for a phone call, my mind-tricks won’t work.  And that’s ok!



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