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11/01/2003

A clean installation

The embryos have been neatly reinstalled in my pelvis. The transfer went very easily. When I was catheterized afterward to have my bladder emptied, Paul was astonished: "That was almost a quart!"

It's important to keep the romance alive. Shout out to Marabel Morgan.

One embryo was gorgeous: eight cells, grade A, gleaming like a rare pearl of the highest order. From across the room you could sense its intelligence, its kindness, its shining potential to be a force for good in the world.

One was hideous: 6 cells, grade D, simmering sullenly in its culture medium, plotting mayhem, a volatile collection of terrorist cells.

Although the ugly one has very little chance of implanting and growing, we transferred it, anyway. The doctor said, "We weren't going to transfer it, but since it's still growing, we decided to go ahead..." And I was nonplussed and angry that they'd even considered not transferring it. As long as it's growing, for the cost of a single catheter we can at least put the thing where it belongs and act like we've done the best we could.

And of course we transferred the future Nobel laureate, the MacArthur fellow, the Fulbright scholar, the gold medal short-track speed skater, and the winner of the Bocuse d'Or. (A National Book Award would be nice, but I try not to be pushy.)

The thing is, if I do manage to get pregnant from this whole debacle, I can clearly see myself confronting a snarling teenager one day: "I bet you were the lumpy one. I knew you were trouble from the time you were four cells old."

But that's not especially likely. Success rates with only one embryo transferred aren't high. I am assuming that figure — 9.9% live births per transfer — is influenced by the fact that if you only have one, you're going to transfer it even if it's ugly. (Lumpy, don't listen.) By contrast, transfers of two embryos have a live birth rate of 34.7%.

Now, you could argue that we did transfer two, but I don't think the ugly one really counts, alas. (You never believed in me, Mom.) The one that does count is comely indeed, so who knows where that puts us?

No one, at least for another 11 days.

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