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6 Things Everyone Wonders About Embryo Transfer

Can I sneeze out my embryo? What should I do after embryo transfer? Explore the top questions our fertility clinic team gets asked about embryo transfer.

July 14th, 2023 | 8 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler

It's finally the day of your embryo transfer - you've worked so hard to get here! If you have some lingering questions (maybe even a few you're embarrassed to ask), you're in the right place. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about embryo transfers!

In this article:

The Embryo Transfer Day Milestone

Throughout your in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, you've dealt with so many morning monitoring appointments, ultrasounds, medications, forms, phone calls, emails and consults with your doctor - you've probably stopped keeping count.

Now, the day of your long-awaited embryo transfer has finally arrived, and you want to make sure you do everything "right" in order to give that little embryo the best chance at successful implantation. 

6 Common Questions About Embryo Transfer

While your Care Team will remain on standby to answer your questions, we understand that some things you may be wondering about embryo transfer are, well...a bit awkward to ask your doctor or nurse about. That's why we're here to bust some embryo transfer myths!

1. Can I pee (or sneeze) out my embryo?

If you've ever been worried about this, you're not alone! You'd be surprised just how many patients have similar concerns. After going through an entire IVF journey, it's only natural to want to be sure your little embryo will be safe and secure after transfer!

So...can you pee, sneeze, cough or jump too hard and stop your embryo from successfully implanting? Nope! Once that embryo is transferred, it's going to stay put.

More good news? Even if you happen to get sick after your embryo transfer and experience some vomiting, your embryo won't be bothered - it will stay right where it's meant to be, tucked cozily inside your uterus. 

Your embryo simply cannot be dislodged from the uterus post-transfer due to you sneezing, coughing, peeing or other bodily functions. Though the embryo will float around in your uterus a little before finding a comfortable spot to implant, these tiny embryos aren't as fragile as you may think!

Note: If you see any discharge post-transfer, this is typically from any vaginal medications you may be on (this discharge can appear powdery or gel-like, depending on the situation).

In a nutshell, don't fret! Your embryo is safe and sound. And of course, if you have any concerns you can't shake, don't hesitate to reach out to your Care Team for reassurance. 

Watch this Ask Monica video for a more in-depth explanation from a nurse.

Embryo Transfer Day 101

What happens before, during and after your embryo transfer? Is embryo transfer painful? A medical assistant answers FAQs to help you feel more prepared for the big day.

Read Now

2. Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of successful implantation?

Actually, yes!

While so many pieces of the fertility puzzle feel completely out of your control, there are some key things you can do surrounding your embryo transfer to help increase your odds of successful embryo implantation.

Here are a few tips:

  • Laser acupuncture: This non-invasive, painless treatment has been shown to significantly increase implantation rates when performed before and after embryo transfer. And we have an amazing Acupuncture Team on standby for your big day! Learn more about laser acupuncture and embryo transfer or reach out to our acupuncturists directly to get more information.
  • Stress reduction techniques: While we will never tell you to "just relax" during your fertility journey, lowering your stress levels surrounding embryo transfer day is helpful (not just for your physical health, but your mental health). Speak with a friend or counselor, connect with our community, practice meditating with the help of an app or free YouTube video, dress in your comfiest clothes, and keep your environment as relaxing as possible. 
  • Follow your medication protocol closely: Reach out to your fertility nurse with any questions or concerns about timing or dosage. Also make sure you have enough of each of your medications, especially if you are traveling during your cycle. Your Care Team works hard to carefully design a personalized medication protocol to give you the highest chance of success!

3. How long does it take for the embryo to implant after transfer?

This really depends on the maturity of your specific embryo, but implantation typically takes place anywhere from 1-5 days after your embryo transfer. The next big question: When do I find out if I'm pregnant or not?

If there's one thing you know at this point in your fertility journey, it's that there is a lot of waiting involved. You'll have to wait about 9-10 days after your embryo transfer to get an official pregnancy test performed in the office (this is done via a simple blood test). 

We strongly recommend waiting for that official pregnancy test instead of trying to do at-home tests during this 9-10 day waiting period post-transfer.

We know it's tough to hold off, but the blood test we do in the office will provide the most accurate result (and likely save you a lot of confusion). Get helpful tips for coping with the "two-week wait" from Illume Fertility nurse, Brigitte. 

4. What should I do after my embryo transfer?

Great question! The answer depends a lot on how you're feeling, but there are some standard guidelines all patients should follow. 

Directly following your embryo transfer at Illume Fertility, you will rest for 20 minutes before you are discharged that day. Many patients ask if they need to go home and be on bed rest afterward, but there has been no benefit found to going on bed rest after transfer. You can go about your daily life as you feel comfortable!

However, you should be mindful of how you're feeling, and not do any heavy lifting or intense exercise for the next few days, because we want you to feel confident that you have created the best uterine environment to allow implantation to take place. 

Here are a few other things we ask you to avoid post-transfer:

  • No hot baths or jacuzzi time (sorry!)
  • No douching
  • No heating pads
  • No sex (wait until after your pregnancy test in 9-10 days)

Thinking about IVF?

Download our free guide to IVF to learn more about how much IVF costs, how long it typically takes, and how this fertility treatment can help you achieve your family-building dreams.

Get My Guide

5. What if my embryo transfer isn't successful?

While no patient wants to receive the news that their embryo transfer wasn't successful, our team of eight reproductive endocrinologists here at Illume Fertility work hard to create the optimal fertility treatment plan for each patient and maximize their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

Every situation is different, but sometimes, as frustrating as it is, it just takes a few cycles to achieve success. Remember: You're in great hands!

If this happens to you, it's only natural to feel upset - and then wonder what's next. Our Care Team will come together to rally around you and figure out the next step. 

6. Are there any side effects from an embryo transfer?

While there aren't any side effects typically associated with the actual embryo transfer itself, the side effects of taking progesterone and estrogen can often feel like early pregnancy - however, they tend to be mild. The embryo transfer procedure has little to no side effects other than (hopefully) pregnancy!

Common side effects from progesterone and estrogen:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Bruising at the injection site

Everybody is different - some patients report little to no side effects, and some feel some discomfort. Always reach out to your Care Team if you have any concerns.

And lastly...get your hopes up!

The day of your embryo transfer is such an exciting, hopeful day. Take good care of yourself before and after this big milestone in your fertility journey, and celebrate how far you've come.

You've gone through a lot to get here. 

Struggling to feel hopeful? Our OB/GYN friend Dr. Shieva Ghofrany shared some beautiful advice about why you should still get your hopes up, even when you're scared to. 

If you've been through multiple unsuccessful fertility treatment cycles, it may feel difficult to stay hopeful as you try again, because you don't want to be let down. But we see your strength and perseverance. And we're here to cheer you on and support you the whole way. 

Sierra Dehmler

Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.

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