In our IVF orientation, the embryologist stressed that Day 5 transfers (when the embryo has reached the ‘blastocyst’ stage) are where it’s at. They have higher rates of success — so much higher, in fact, that any clinic doing Day 3 transfers probably doesn’t even know what IVF stands for they’re so dumb. But then I hear from other friends going through treatment that their REs and fertility docs are insisting Day 3 transfers are better, that Day 5 transfers are what embryologists in the Stone Age were doing (and yes, I’ve totally researched this — there were embryologists in the Stone Age).
Anyway, I decided to turn to Dr. You-Probably-Have-AIDS-or-Cancer, otherwise known as Dr. Google, and found this page explaining the difference: Basically, it seems that 5-day transfers have better success rates because they’ve progressed further and therefore the embryologist can get a more well-rounded view of whether the cells are dividing on schedule and fragmenting as little as possible. The advantage of a Day 3 transfer, on the other hand, is that the cell may have a better chance of implanting, especially if it’s growing at a slower pace. Also, Day 3 embryos may fare better in the freezer than their Day 5 counterparts, however this could all depend on the freezing technique used at your clinic.
UGH. Do any of you have coherent thoughts on this matter? Seeing as I’m scheduled to get a Day 5 transfer, I really could do with some reassurance that this is the right choice. Yes, my fertility doctor is a man I trust, but he is also a man who has sperm-shaped stress balls in his office and a pile of Crocs by the door.
(Note that the above image is from Million Dollar Baby, which is appropriate because our own quest for a baby is costing exactly that.)