For the last two weeks, Eyewitness News has followed Photographer Ashley Matulis on her journey to parenthood. She and her husband, Marc, struggle with infertility. They have finally come to a last resort: in vitro ferilization. Now that process begins.
Six years of trying to get pregnant comes down to an early morning procedure. Two days after a trigger shot, an injection to start the ovulation process, it’s time to go in and get ashley’s eggs.
Once Ashley signs off, she’s off to the OR. There, the anesthesiologist gently sends her to sleep, and the work begins.
Guided by an ultrasound, Dr. Daniel Griffin locates the follicles in Ashley’s ovaries. Dr. Griffin uses a needle to suck out the fluid. Inside that fluid are hopefully healthy, strong, and prolific eggs. Ashley has been taking injections for weeks to help her eggs mature.
Once removed, the fluid is deposited in test tubes. An embryologist inspects them, looking for the best eggs and counting them off.
The process continues about a dozen times over. It’s clear that something is not exactly perfect. Dr. Griffen continues, determined to find the best possible eggs for this last shot for Marc and Ashley.
In the end, 11 eggs are retrieved, washed and placed in petri dishes. Ashley sleeps through it all. When she awakes, Dr. Griffen shares the news.
Tomorrow is most important number which is how many fertilize normally. Later that day, in the romantic setting of a petri dish, Ashley’s 11 eggs are introduced to Marc’s sperm in hopes they’ll hit it off overnight and nature will take it’s course.
The next morning is met with high hopes, but those hopes are dashed when the embryologist looks in the petri dish and finds none of them fertilized.
Dr. Griffen says this happens only about one percent of the time, and it’s not known why. He then had to call Ashley with the news.
“When he said none fertilized, I really have no words,” said Ashley. “At that point, we were done. If he couldn’t get my eggs to fertilize at all, then we were done. IVF was done. That failed.”
But Dr. Griffin is not giving up.
“There is still a way to give it a chance,” said Dr. Griffin, “salvage the cycle if you will because if you don’t do anything at that point, the chances of it working are zero. I’m talking about rescue ICSI.”