Post by J. P. Gilliver (John) Post by carolet Post by Vicky Ayech
He was made with Shula's egg and Mark's sperm. Was the ivf done after
Mark died? If so why did they have his sperm? Did Shula have
difficulty getting pregnant and they were in the middle of treatment?
Shula had had an ectopic pregnancy and then, since that, had been
unable to conceive again. She and Mark had started IVF treatment
before he died (I can't remember whether this was their first
attempt at IVF or if they'd had previous, unsuccessful attempts).
IIRC, the egg had been implanted a day or so before his accident and
she nearly didn't go ahead with all the hormone treatments necessary
to allow it to develop into a pregnancy. Dr Dick gave her a huge
amount of support and gave her the daily injections she needed
(which, under other circumstances, she would have been expected to
give herself or to get Mark to help her).
They certainly had at least one failed attempt before the one that
resulted in Daniel. We heard about that first attempt as it was
happening. We may have heard that they were planning on having another
go, but I don't think we knew that it was underway until after Mark
was dead, not until we heard the doctor remind her to continue with
My second IVF baby was born in the same month that Mark died, and I
was closely following their story. I have a memory of being surprised
and delighted that she still had a chance of having a baby, though I
would have preferred it if they could have given Mark the same chance.
I don't know whether Shula/Mark had been doing her injections before
his demise, or whether the plan always was that the doctor should give
them. (Mine were done by a nurse/doctor at the local health centre, so
I wasn't surprised that Richard was doing them for Shula.)
When you refer to "injections", are you talking of the turkey baster
activities, or the hormones to which Serena refers?
Injections of hormones.
When people talk about using a turkey baster in connection with assisted
conception, I think they are usually referring to artificial
insemination, where it is used to place the semen in the optimal
position at the optimal time. One reason for doing this is when the
sperm is provided by a donor, as was the case for Helen, with Henry.
With IVF, the woman is first given hormones to ripen multiple eggs at a
known time, and to bring the uterus to the optimum state . Ultrasound
examination shows when they are ripe and they are collected via keyhole
surgery. The eggs are then mixed with the man's semen "in vitro". (I
think this "vitro" in more akin to a petrie dish than the test tube that
this technique's other name may lead you to suppose.)
Some time later the result is examined to see whether any embryos have
formed, I think they generally grow/grew them to the 4-cell stage.
Assuming that this produces the desired result, the healthiest looking
ones are replaced in the woman's uterus (any spares can be frozen and
used later). I suppose the instrument used to do this embyro replacement
could be described as a turkey baster too (though that had not occurred
to me until now). After this different hormones are given to help
maintain any resulting pregnancy.
In my/Shula's day all of these hormones were given as daily injections.
They started some weeks before the procedure and continued well into the
pregnacy (if successful). I am talking about 25 years ago though, I
think that they moved on to giving these hormones as nasal sprays not so
long after, and many other aspects of the treatment may well have
changed by now.
I presume that Lexi and the egg donor have each gone through something
similar to this to create Adam and Ian's baby. The egg donation would
certainly require hormones to produce eggs that can be collected. IVF
would then give the precious eggs their best chance. If Lexi had been
willing to use her own eggs, then artificial insemination might have
been an easier way to proceed, certainly cheaper.