You and your partner are considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) so that you can build the family of your dreams. Or, you’ve decided to stop waiting for the perfect partner and start your family alone.
If you’ve reached the point in your fertility journey where your best option is now IVF, you may wonder about the various steps involved. At OC Fertility, Dr. Sharon Moayeri, Dr. Nidhee Sachdev, and our team want you to feel both physically and mentally comfortable about each step in your IVF journey. Here’s what you need to know about embryo transfer.
Embryo transfer is the last step of IVF
If you’ve chosen IVF to build your family, the most important aspect to know about embryo transfer is that it’s the final stage in your journey toward pregnancy. Once we implant the embryo in your womb, your uterus takes it from there.
Over the next couple of days, if all goes well, the healthy implanted embryo attaches itself to your uterine wall and begins to grow. You may notice symptoms of early pregnancy, such as:
- Tender breasts
- Back ache
However, don’t worry if you have no symptoms. About two weeks after your implantation, you come back to the office and we administer a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, that means the implantation was successful and you’re now pregnant! Congratulations!
Embryo transfer is fast and easy
When you go through IVF, you must first administer injectable hormone drugs that help you ovulate and release a number of eggs at once. When the eggs are ripe, we remove them with a special vacuum and then fertilize them in a petri dish.
You might find the injections to be slightly painful. You might also experience some slight pain, cramping, and bleeding after the egg extraction.
In contrast, implanting the embryo is probably the least uncomfortable part of the IVF process. You stay awake for the entire procedure.
The embryos are extremely small. Even if you’re having more than one implantation, each embryo consists of just 2-8 cells. The only medication you need to take for embryo transfer is progesterone, which is a hormone that helps keep your uterine lining thick and strong enough to nourish a baby. We may also administer a sedative to keep you calm and relaxed.
Implantation is like a Pap test
An implantation procedure is a lot like a Pap test. You lie on your back, with your feet in the stirrups. We dilate your cervix with a speculum and then pass a narrow transfer catheter into your vagina and through the cervix.
The catheter contains your embryos. We release the embryos into your uterus, so they can implant themselves in the thick, nourishing tissue that lines the inside of your womb.
You may choose to rest for a day
Even women who go back to their normal activities directly after embryo transfer can still have a successful pregnancy. However, you may feel slightly crampy and fatigued after the transfer. You might also want to take the time for a little “break” of about 24 hours.
Taking a break doesn’t affect the outcome of the pregnancy, but it does give you a chance to reflect on the journey so far. However, your decision to be active or not has no influence on the success of implantation and pregnancy. Those are controlled by the health of the embryo, not the lifestyle of the mother.
You choose how many
We can test your embryos for chromosomal abnormalities and viability before implantation. In that way, we identify a single embryo that has the best chance to become a healthy baby.
However, you may wish to implant more than one embryo. You could make this choice because you don’t want to test your embryos beforehand, or because you just want to increase your odds and don’t mind if you have more than one baby. We won’t transfer more than four embryos at a time.
You can save unused embryos
After your eggs have been fertilized and embryos have formed, you don’t have to discard the embryos that you didn’t use. You can request that we freeze these embryos and keep them for you, in case you want more children in the future.
Find out more about embryo transfer and how it may be the answer you’ve been looking for by contacting our team today for an IVF consultation. Call us at 949-706-2229 or book an appointment on our website.