With IVF what you need to know about The Numbers is that they keep getting smaller. Your mantra quickly becomes ‘it only takes 1, we only need 1!’
You awake from the procedure eager to know how many eggs have been gathered. A nurse holds up a clipboard and shows you the number 8, ‘this is really good’, she says. You’re fine with that, until a less discrete nurse tells the woman waking in the next bed along that they collected 12 from her. You remind yourself: It only takes 1, we only need 1!
Then comes The Night of Dread. Your 8 eggs are mixed with the sperm and now it’s out of everyone’s hands. Nothing you can do now will make any difference. Thankfully the drugs from the egg collection help you to sleep and stop you from literally going insane wondering what your number will be come morning, or indeed, if you’ll have a number at all. You fall asleep thinking: It only takes 1, we only need 1!
All morning you wait anxiously by your phone for a call from the embryology lab. When it comes you can hardly breathe. 6 is your number now; 6 eggs fertilized overnight. Through tears of relief you think, it only takes 1, we only need 1!.
Over the following days you think of those 2-celled embryos and will them to continue growing. Your logical mind deserts you and you feel a strong protectiveness towards the contents of those petri dishes in a lab on the other side of town. ‘Keep growing, even if it’s just 1 of you’ you urge: It only takes 1, we only need 1!
Another call comes 2 days later, and your number is still 6! Amazed, you’re told your embryo transfer (the numbers withstanding) will now be in another 2 days’ time.
And so follow two more days of suspense. 6 is good, but The Numbers always go down. It’s ok though because it only takes 1; we only need 1!
The morning of the embryo transfer you arrive at the hospital not knowing what your final number will be. You don’t know that number until you’re in the room, about to put your feed in the stirrups! The number is 3! The number is 3! 3 is more than you ever hoped or dreamed of, you only needed 1.
The final, final number you’re still waiting to hear. How many will they carefully insert back into your womb? Your womb, which has been waiting so long for this. This number can only be a 1 or a 2.
The embryologist tells you that today they will be placing 1 of these pinpoints of hope gently back inside of you. Well, you think, you only needed 1.