Going through the process of IVF can leave you feeling overwhelmed and full of questions, but we’re here to guide you through each step of the process and give you a full breakdown of what to expect.
IVF is often done in two steps; the initial step involves growing the eggs, removing them from the body, then fertilizing them with sperm and allowing them to grow into embryos in the laboratory.
The second step in IVF involves embryo transfer, where the embryo is carefully placed within the uterus to allow for implantation (and a hopeful pregnancy). This step involves a procedure that is typically quick and relatively painless.
This can be a very exciting step, but it also can leave you feeling nervous as it brings you into the “two-week wait.” The “two-week wait” is the period following embryo transfer where you wait for your first beta blood draw to determine if the transfer has worked.
The Embryo Transfer Process
As mentioned previously, embryo transfer is quick and relatively painless and only takes about 10-15 minutes on average. Your reproductive endocrinologist performs this procedure in their office and usually requires no sedation.
The procedure starts with the doctor placing the speculum into the vagina, followed by a quick swab to clean the opening of the cervix with a special solution.
The doctor will place the catheter in the uterus using ultrasound to guide them where they will gently place the embryo. The catheter is removed, and a quick check is done to ensure the embryo has been released from inside the catheter. Following this, the patient rests in the room for a few minutes, then is discharged to their home to relax and wait for results within two weeks.
Preparing for Embryo Transfer
Whether you are doing a fresh transfer that takes place within 3-5 days of egg retrieval or a frozen transfer that can happen weeks to years after egg retrieval, it’s important to follow your doctor's medication instructions.
For a fresh transfer, the doctor will prescribe progesterone and potentially other meds to start following the egg retrieval to help you get prepped, while a frozen embryo transfer or FET will often require a medication regimen over several weeks.
In addition to following your medication protocols, it’s important to take extra care of your body during this time. Eating healthy, staying active, reducing or eliminating alcohol intake, and getting at least 400mcg of folic acid daily are a great way to help keep your body optimized for your embryo transfer.
During the procedure, we also welcome a support partner, so consider bringing your partner or someone close to you to the procedure for additional support. This is also important if you are given valium for the transfer as you will not be able to drive yourself home.
Ready to Learn More?
If you’re ready to learn more or take the next steps with IVF, don’t hesitate to call or text us at 949-996-9522 to schedule your IVF consultation. This is a great place to start, whether you are new to IVF or have taken a break before starting the transfer process.
During your consultation, we will update your medical history and discuss the next steps in addition to doing some diagnostic testing. This diagnostic testing will help us determine your fertility care's best course of action.