It's finally the day of your embryo transfer. You've worked so hard to get here. You've dealt with so many morning monitoring appointments, ultrasounds, medications, forms, phone calls, emails and consults with your doctor - you've stopped keeping count.
You're READY for this big day.
But you might have some lingering questions (maybe even a few that you're nervous or embarrassed to ask your Care Team). If this is you, you're in the right place. In this blog, we'll answer six of the most commonly asked questions about embryo transfers - and hopefully, give you a little more peace of mind in the process. Let's dive in!
#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 the full Ask Monica video below for a more in-depth explanation.
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#2 Is there anything I can do to increase my odds 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 increase implantation rates by up to 15% 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 promise not to ever tell you to "just relax" during your fertility journey, lowering your stress levels surrounding embryo transfer day is so helpful (not just to 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).
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#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)
#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. Here's why you should keep your hopes high after a failed IVF cycle.
Explore the data and learn how to improve your chances:
#6 Are there any side effects from an embryo transfer?
While there are not 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) a pregnancy!
Common side effects from progesterone and estrogen:
- Breast tenderness
- Bruising at the injection site
Every body is different - some patients report little to no side effects, and some feel more uncomfortable. You can always reach out to your Care Team if you have any concerns.
Learn More About IVF & Embryo Transfer
Have a question that wasn't answered here? Don't fret! Check out the following resources to help familiarize yourself with the IVF and embryo transfer process:
- What to Expect at Your IVF Embryo Transfer | A Nurse’s Perspective
- What to Expect at Your IVF Embryo Transfer | A Patient’s Perspective
- IVF Dos and Don’ts: Your Guide to Diet, Exercise, Sex, and More
- In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Side Effects at Each Stage
- How Long Does the IVF Process Take? The Length of IVF From Start to Finish
Take a peek inside our on-site Embryology Lab:
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 you, fertility warrior. You are strong. And we're here to cheer you on and support you the whole way.
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.