Embryo numbers drastically dropped da... - Fertility Network UK

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Embryo numbers drastically dropped day 3-5 and cavitating embryos

SMMW profile image


We are currently in our first round of ivf. We had 18 eggs, 16 mature and 11 fertilised in day 3 we still had 10! However on transfer day we arrived to be told we only had 2 that were cavitating embryos (not quite blastocysts yet) so we had both transferred and currently in the tww.

Anybody have a sudden drop in numbers and any idea why? :-(

21 Replies

I always had really high egg numbers, 18, 15, pretty much all would fertilise, then after day 3 I'd have loads of top quality embryos suddenly just drop down to 2 viable. Never excellent, just good or average or poor. I ended up getting pregnant naturally and am now 21 weeks pregnant. So I wouldn't worry too much about numbers. The fact you have so many eggs is really good, you only need 1 or 2 good ones fertilised by the right sperm. I had 3 ivf cycles and on the second try I did get a chemical... However I later found out I had aggressive nk cells, so the miscarriage may have been more to do with that than the quality. As for why the numbers drop, usually egg or sperm quality. I always say its all about getting the right combo: good egg, good sperm. Could be you had good eggs with a not great sperm, and bad eggs fergikised by good sperm.... Fingers crossed your combos are right 🤞🤞

I’ve just had a video call at 9am before I go for my transfer at half 10 we had 8 eggs fertilise and only 2 have made it to blastocyst stage and graded 3BB. One will be frozen. I was expecting/hoping for 50% but she told me only a third of couples get to freeze one! I was quite shocked by that statistic.

Best of luck, got everything crossed for you and I hope the tww goes quickly xx

I sound like a stuck record because I'm always on about this, but check your partner's sperm DNA fragmentation! For us, we have low fertilisation rates but all the fertilised eggs are top quality on day 3 and then have arrested or not quite made blastocyst by day 5 - it's because of sperm problems.

We also had this done... My partner came back fine. Still had imsi anyway, but they ended up abnormal blastocysts! Worth having doing to put your kind at ease and/or give you some answers x

I have had quite a few cycles and with my first I had 8 eggs collected and all fertilised I was quite naive because I thought that meant I had 8 embryos

And as the days went on the number kept dropping at the end I I ended up with 2 top grade that did turn into a twin pregnancy but I was so disappointed as I thought I would of had 6 to freeze

I soon learned that numbers drop very quickly

I had a hatching blast transferred today which I’m very happy about and was lucky enough to get some to freeze

I had 18 eggs 16 mature 13 fertilised and 7 made it to day 3. Today very surprising that 7 had still made it but 5 was top quality and the other 2 would be discarded

When I spoke to the embryologist on day 3 she told me they would expect the numbers to half every day so would be looking at hopefully 2 on day of transfer so was really lucky to have a better number this round but I have had 4 previous cycles so I now just hope for a good quality embryo for transfer and anything else is a bonus

Just remember it only takes one 🤞🏻

I’d be investigating your partners sperm further as there is some evidence that it’sperm quality which takes over from day 3 and dictates the outcome on day 5 x

My partner has azoospermia so he had surgical sperm retrieval and had 5 straws frozen.. all his hormone, chromosome and cystic fibrosis genetic check caste back normal x

Ladypii profile image
Ladypii in reply to SMMW


This is exactly what happened to us, my husband has azoospermia too, we had an SSR in tandem with ivf icsi on the day. We had 20 eggs from me and then only 2, 5 day blastocysts in the end, the drop off was horrible, so i know how you feel, especially as we had spent £20k by this point and was praying for at least 3 or 4 blastos to try with! But we put one back in and froze the other. I am now 29 weeks pregnant, god willing all going ok so far.

It is so true when they say it only takes one. We had a de-brief with the urologist after and he said its quite normal to see this kind of drop off in SSR sperm. If you used frozen sperm this is actually a good outcome, frozen sperm does not defrost well (and you will see some stories on here where is doesnt defrost at all and cannot be used) hence why our urologist encouraged is to use fresh sperm on the day of egg collection instead.

I think all things considered you’ve done really well and im sure those two embryos are implanting as we speak! Best of luck to you both xxx

SMMW profile image
SMMW in reply to Ladypii

Thank you so much for your reply. Nice to hear if success stories with azoospermia 😊 we’ve never really been told about the quality. He had some taken frozen and thawed and that’s when they told us we had viable sperm. We used 1/5 straws during this round x

We had the same - first cycle 15 eggs, 12 fertilised, 11 still viable on day 3 and then by day 5 only 2 made it to blast. Second cycle same - 17 eggs, 13 fertilised, 11 on day 3 and again down to 2 on day 5 blast. BUT - one good one is all you need, and though the two from cycle 1 didn’t work, one from cycle 2 did and we have have a gorgeous little toddler and about to go back for a FET to try our remaining frostie. It’s incredibly disheartening but try and keep focused on one successful outcome , it’s so hard x

SMMW profile image
SMMW in reply to McQueeny

Thank you! Think I’m worried as the 2 we had weren’t quite at blast either. Doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their thing whilst inside but it’s just such a tough rollercoasters of emotions x

McQueeny profile image
McQueeny in reply to SMMW

It’s insanely tough. It’s by far and away the hardest experience I’ve been through, and no one who hasn’t experienced it will ever understand..... all fingers crossed forYou and wishing you loads of luck 🤞 x

Hey again I have much of a similar story in my latest cycle I had 19 follies and 12 mature eggs. Day 3 im told 9 are ‘perfect’ then all of a sudden we are down 2 blasts on day 5. 1 good-top quality, 1 average. Both transferred as we weren’t sure the second would survive a thaw. I was gutted because the embryologist also said she was expecting more BUT she had warned me that it is v.common to have nothing to freeze - in fact she reminded me that most couples do not get anything to freeze and not to get too hung up on what we read online as it’s a small representation of everyone going through IVF. This forum whilst a godsend in so many ways, can also increase anxieties.

Oh, and lady responded to a post just the other day to say her cavitating embie is now a gorgeous toddler so don’t despair! X

SMMW profile image
SMMW in reply to Beatrix_K

Thank you so much! It’s hard finding the balance between support and comparison isn’t it xx

Beatrix_K profile image
Beatrix_K in reply to SMMW

Yep it really is. Try and keep your chin up, it really is true what they say, it only takes one special embryo x

One solution to the problem is to do a 3 day transfer and freeze your remaining embryos on day 3 as well next time if this time does not work. So you avoid losing so many.

Hi I only had 6 eggs retrieved by the next morning I was down to 3, by embryo transfer day down to one, I’m currently on the dreaded two week wait, I know our numbers aren’t the same but I feel your anguish, keeping everything crossed for everyone xx

SMMW profile image
SMMW in reply to Marley15

Thank you, wishing you lots of luck I’m now on day 6 after transfer .. where are you on the tww? X

Marley15 profile image
Marley15 in reply to SMMW

Hi I’m 8 days after my transfer so not to much longer to wait keeping everything crossed.

SMMW profile image
SMMW in reply to Marley15

I will keep everything crossed for you to 😊

Marley15 profile image
Marley15 in reply to SMMW

Thank you I will for you as well

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