Getting in the Trend of Egg Freezing, the Lucky Pregnancy With The Last Two Eggs

She got me thinking, reflecting on myself. And I have to thank her for giving me a precious lesson: professionals are not always right. We have to have an open mind, it is always easier to say "no, I can't" easily. That is my gift of the year, and I am glad that I did not turn her down in the first place.
Consultation
2021-09-24
Author: Dr. Hsing-Hua Lai, MD
Translator: Kayla

Thanks God!

That night, I looked at the magical number "373" showing on the screen. I was surprised! I remember she said, "I'm going through premature ovarian aging. If I'm not freezing my eggs right now, I might not have any chance to have any children in the future."..."If you are not willing to help, I would like to go straight for IVF to the United States." 

Seeing the result proves that she was right. I am so thrilled and speechless. And "Thank God".

Most of the stories about egg-freezing are most likely the same, we could not get sperm from epididymis nor testicles on the surgery day, so we have to freeze and wait for a sperm donor. Or some patients come before cancer chemotherapy. Even though she was not the first one to freeze eggs. But she was the first one who considered it as fertility insurance.

I've shared her story about half a year ago. The image of meeting her for the first time was on a Monday morning. She skipped work and came rushing in at my outpatient. She insisted, she was so committed to the thought of freezing her eggs.  She said," even though the possibilities are only 1/100, I am still going to try." As she was not married at that moment, we can not help her with IVF treatment. That's why we made the decision, which seemed ridiculous at the time.

She is suffering from severe endometriosis,  bloody stool happens at each menstrual cycle.It is speculated that the inner membrane cell invades the rectum. At that time, the ovarian function indicator AMH was only 0.77 ng/mL, and the FSH was up to 22.1 IU/mL. I remembered I told her that although our egg-freezing technology is mature, it is difficult to get enough eggs with her ovarian function. It would be very nice if we can get 1-2 mature eggs for each treatment. Her answer was beyond my expectation: "It does not matter! I can do it, but the most I can do is 4 times."

The treatment took place for the first time in April last year. Only one follicle developed. We took out the only egg on her period day 12. Another treatment started the next month. It was not until period day 17 that two follicles were seen but only one was retrieved. The other one was an empty follicle. Finally, the two precious eggs were frozen and preserved, and she never came back.

Not until 5 months later. She came with her Mr.Right. She was here looking for IVF treatment and wanted to undergo another egg retrieval treatment, fertilize with the 2 thawed eggs. I used mild stimulation this time, and gave her medication for 5 days. On period day 11, we saw a big follicle. But I figured it was another empty follicle as we couldn't retrieve it out placidly. 

This leaves us with no other option but the two frozen eggs. That was our last hope. What was the possibility with her at the age of 39? I saw love and happiness in her eyes while thinking about all the situations that can happen including the worst-case scenario. I wanted her to face the situation calmly as we will be dealing with many uncertainties. Including unsuccessful fertilization, incomplete development... also reminds that even with fresh eggs, there is usually only 1 embryo available till 3rd day of embryo culture. In the worst case, there might be no embryo available for implantation. 

These two eggs might be meaningless to other people, but it is crucial to her future. The dream of being a mother depends on these two eggs. It will also help get rid of the endometriosis that she's been suffering for years. She will be able to stay away from the fear of premature ovarian failure. Can I help to create a perfect ending? We were facing too much uncertainty, hope our prayers can be answered.

Just days ago, when I heard the baby's heartbeat, I was so grateful and congratulated her. Her dream of being a mother has finally come true. In just one year, she was a bride and now she's a mother! Thanks to the wise decision she made at 39-year-old, these two eggs gave her reassurance and hope, and gave her the confidence to face all the challenges of life in the future calmly. 

She reminded me of some of my past patients. One of them is the first IVF case with the PGS test. They both graduated on their first try. Along with many overseas patients who succeeded with one go. I've always wondered why.I treated them evenly as other patients. Is it that they are luckier than others? After all these years, I found the answer. I give the credit to Karl Wallenda Effect.

The best way to escape from the threat is to "protect yourself from the pain"  The cover photo is a hyperrealism art piece from Indonesia's outstanding artist FX Harsono. Using his art to interpret the story is perfect. She got me thinking, reflecting on myself. And I have to thank her for giving me a precious lesson: professionals are not always right. We have to have an open mind, it is always easier to say "no, I can't" easily. That is my gift of the year, and I am glad that I did not turn her down in the first place.

Comment

Dr. Hsing-Hua Lai, MD
Dr. Hsing-Hua Lai, MD
  1. Looking back now, if I had not accepted her request half a year ago, maybe the only way for her now is IVF with an egg donor. Due to restrictions in Taiwan, a legal marriage relationship is needed for IUI and IVF treatment. But you have a new choice: egg freezing! The story I shared today may be the first successful pregnancy case in Taiwan using thawed oocytes.
  2. Many accidents in life have insurances in order to lower the damage, such as life insurance, accident insurance, cancer insurance, critical disease insurance, and disability insurance, etc. I am happy that the concept of fertility insurance is up-raising. And glad to see that the artist Shu Qi has this concept and announced it publicly. I believe this concept will soon become a trend.
  3. Her egg freezing, fertilization and embryo developing as follow :
    11/20 11/21 11/22 11/23 12/7 12/10 12/30
    Thaw

    fertilized egg

    great embryo transfer great embryo Beta-HCG value after implantation follow up Beta-HCG data Baby's heartbeat
    2 oocytes 2 2# 4 cells 2# 8 cells 373 1762 one baby
  4. She got married in mid-2009 and thawed the only two eggs in November. Fortunately, both survived and were successfully fertilized. We implanted two day3 embryos with eight cells. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in August 2010. Really happy for her and her family.

  5. The Karl Wallenda Effect: if you are focused on a matter, you need to focus on what you are doing. There is no need to focus on the result. You need to put your all efforts to make it done, instead of having the perception that you will fail or succeed. Without worries about the result, you naturally become more relaxed. Fear of failure is itself a failure as well.

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