Embryo transfer is the process of placing embryos into the uterine cavity during an IVF procedure. Embryo transfer is a 15-minute procedure accomplished by inserting a catheter (preloaded with embryos) into the uterine cavity. At IVF1, embryo transfers are performed at the Naperville Fertility Center .
This procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance and is generally no more uncomfortable than a pap smear. Unlike most of the ultrasounds that are done in a fertility center, the ultrasound for an IVF embryo transfer is an abdominal ultrasound. It is therefore necessary for the patient to drink a lot of fluid so that her bladder is full. The full bladder provides an “acoustic window” that allows the doctor to see the uterus more easily. It also straightens the angle between the cervix and the uterus and often makes it easier to pass the catheter into the uterus.
Occasionally, a woman may have a cervical canal which is difficult to pass a catheter through. In those situations, the doctor will use a more specialized catheter that has a malleable guide wire down the center. The doctor can bend the guide wire to follow the course of the cervical canal and in this way can perform the embryo transfer more easily.
Once the catheter tip is in place, the embryos are deposited and the catheter is removed. The embryologist will then check the catheter to ensure that the embryos have been released. Sometimes, the embryos can stick to the inside of the catheter.
After the IVF embryo transfer, the doctor can empty your bladder. Th IVF patient will then be taken to her room to rest for about thirty minutes. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THIS DOES ANYTHING EXCEPT MAKE THE PATIENT FEEL BETTER. Afterward, the patient can return home. Although it is not required, many patients feel better if they relax that day. There is now ample evidence to suggest that bed rest after the embryo transfer does not improve the chance for pregnancy. If you want to go back to work or shop or have intercourse it is absolutely o.k. There have never been any studies looking at the effects of things like swimming so I would avoid that. Flying and travel is o.k.
The embryos will be free floating in the uterus for 2-4 days after a blastocyst embryo transfer but will then hopefully implant into the thick uterine lining. A pregnancy test is performed seven to ten days after the embryo transfer. This should be a blood test (not a home pregnancy test) and is mandatory even if you are sure that you are not pregnant. It is very common in IVF cycles to have bleeding or spotting after the embryo transfer. DO NOT STOP TAKING THE PROGESTERONE UNTIL INSTRUCTED THAT IT IS O.K. If the pregnancy test is positive, you will be instructed to continue taking progesterone until the 11th week of gestation, as this is important in maintaining a thick uterine lining. You will also be given instructions for further monitoring.
Studies have demonstrated that the physician who performes the embryo transfer is extremely important in determining the chance for pregnancy.