Shawnee Barton
Several days later, we return to the fertility clinic for the implantation of the embryo. First, we meet with the doctor to decide how many blastocysts to implant into my uterus. A family has to be prepared for as many babies to come as embryos are transferred. The doctor strongly recommends that we only implant one since nothing shows that I will have trouble carrying a baby, but our gut tells us to use two.

There are many reasons to only implant one embryo. According to Center for Disease Control statistics, the rate of live-births (for women under 35 who have extra embryos like I do) is highest when only one embryo is implanted. Accordingly, if you implant more than one embryo, you have to be prepared to deliver and raise more than one baby. Women carrying multiple babies are more likely to have complications during pregnancy, and twins are twice as likely as singletons to have disabilities that require ongoing educational or medical treatment.

Despite these facts, only implanting one embryo feels like a gamble after all we’ve been through. This implantation is our best shot, since fresh embryo transfers are more successful than those using frozen embryos. And, as someone who wants a house full of kids, it is hard to see the downside of having two babies instead of one. Eventually, after much agonizing, we decide to follow to the statistics and go with doctor’s recommendation.

Once we’ve decided to implant one embryo, things happen quickly. My husband photographs the embryologist as she picks the healthiest looking blastocyst and moves it from the Petri dish into a catheter. I am scurried into a dark room where several nurses, the doctor, and an ultrasound machine are waiting on me. A nurse gives me a Valium and tells me to hop up onto an exam table and put my feet in the stirrups.
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