In Vitro, In Vegas
Heidi received her hCG shot on Friday evening at 11 p.m. This trigger shot causes the eggs to mature. The genetic process of maturation, or "meiosis," which takes about 30 to 34 hours, involves a reduction of the normal quota of 46 chromosomes in the egg to 23. The egg is now primed to be fertilized by the sperm. This essential prerequisite is the critical step in human reproduction. If following meiosis the egg ends up with even one more or one less than 23 chromosomes, it will not (upon fertilization) be able to develop into a "competent" embryo—one that is capable of producing a healthy baby. In fact, in most cases such an embryo will not even attach to the uterine lining or will be lost as an early miscarriage.
So I again reminded Heidi that it will be the quality of her eggs, rather than Darren's sperm, that will determine the success of this IVF cycle, and that at 43 probably only about one in 10 of her eggs will end up with precisely 23 chromosomes. She needs to have rational expectations. But Heidi is not the type who will easily accept failure as an alternative.
Of course she has blocked all of this "overload information" from her conscious mind. But then again, she and Darren are so ready for parenthood and have dealt with some heartbreaking disappointment in the past, so who can blame them? For my part, I just pray that somewhere among the eggs she produces will be at least one capable of taking her and Darren from infertility to family.
The fact, however, is that no one other than the great croupier in heaven"shuffles the deck or deals the hand—and that's quite a cliché since this is all happening in Las Vegas. If we are blessed with being dealt a "good hand" and eggs can be obtained, and we play it properly with the best intent, expertise and humility, we are likely to win. But if we are dealt a "poor hand" we will lose—no matter how well we play it.