While assisted reproductive technologies have advanced considerably in the last decade, IVF, the most popular of these methods, still does not guarantee a successful pregnancy, with live birth rates ranging from 28% to 79%, depending on a host of factors. The two-week wait between an embryo transfer and the pregnancy test can be a mental test for most couples. But there are certain positive signs after embryo transfer that can indicate a pregnancy.
Preparing for Embryo Transfer
The embryo transfer process is a critical step in IVF in which an embryo that is formed from the in vitro fertilization of an egg with the sperm, is carefully transferred into the uterus of the woman.
At RISE Fertility, we believe the keys to success are preparation and personalization. We perform a thorough evaluation before transfer and prepare your body – mentally and physically – in order to create the optimal conditions for a healthy pregnancy.
Prior to embryo transfer (a few days leading to the day of the procedure), ensure that you take enough rest and avoid any physical and mental stress. You may try yoga, massages, or any form of holistic self-care to put your body and mind at ease. Avoid extreme temperatures, especially against your abdomen, so as not to deregulate your reproductive system which may adversely impact the chances of a successful embryo transfer.
Different fertility clinics have slightly different methodologies for the type of embryo to be transferred. This also depends on the suitability of the patient. At RISE Fertility, your physician will use your medical history, previous fertility treatments, and your hormone testing, as well as factor in your unique goals and preferences to create a personalized treatment protocol to optimize your outcome.
Different types of embryo transfers are –
- Fresh embryo transfer is one where an embryo that has just formed after in vitro fertilization is transferred into the uterus.
- Frozen embryo transfer, in which an embryo that is formed is frozen for later use. On the day of the transfer, it is thawed and transferred into the uterus.
- Cleavage (Day 3) transfer, in which a 3-day old embryo is transferred.
- Blastocyst (Day 5) transfer, in which a 5-day old embryo called a blastocysts, is transferred. Often considered a better option since they are likely to be generically normal and have a higher chance of implantation and eventual live birth.
Depending upon prior discussions between the intended parents and the fertility experts, single or multiple embryos are transferred. At RISE Fertility, we follow the recommended strategy of transferring a single embryo that is safe for both the mother and child. Transferring more than one embryo increases your chances of multiple live births or a complicated pregnancy.
What Happens on the Day of Embryo Transfer?
On the day of the embryo transfer, you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary, apart from maybe coming with a full bladder. This will help the embryo transfer process by slightly changing the angle of the uterus and making it more aligned. Take your medications as usual. Try to be mentally and physically relaxed before the procedure.
Once inside the clinic room, you’ll be asked to remove all your clothing and change into a clean hospital gown. You’ll lie on a table in a position that you normally do during a gynecological exam – hips at the edge of the table and feet in footrests.
Your physician will set up a trans-abdominal ultrasonography for better visualization. This will guide the physician as she inserts the catheter carrying the embryo through your vagina, cervix, and ultimately into your uterus. You can see the catheter entering your uterus on the screen! While you won’t see the embryo being released into the uterus (its too small!), you will see a small bright flash which is due to a mix of a small air bubble and liquid media that pushes the embryo(s) out of the catheter into the uterus.
Once the transfer is done, you’ll be advised to lie down for some time. While the time does not matter, you’ll need to relax till you feel ready to get up and go home. You will need to take it slow for the next 24-hour period. Some tips to follow –
- Take enough bed rest.
- Avoid strenuous physical activities and engage only in short periods of very low impact movements.
- Avoid sexual activity.
- Don’t feel tempted to take a pregnancy test just a few days after the embryo transfer. Wait at least two weeks before you take the test. And regardless of your result (you may get a false-positive or false-negative test result, depending upon the fertility medications you are taking), visit your fertility clinic where your physician will conduct a more sensitive blood test.
Positive Signs After Embryo Transfer
Once the embryo transfer is done, you have to take care of yourself as if you are pregnant. As you wait for the two-week period to be over before you can get a pregnancy test done to ascertain whether the embryo did implant successfully in your uterus, you have to keep your spirits high and look for certain signs and symptoms that may indicate pregnancy.
While no single sign or symptom can correlate exactly to successful embryo implantation, there are certain unmistakable signs that you may experience if your embryo transfer has led to a successful pregnancy.
Sore breasts are one of the early signs of pregnancy. You will notice a slight enlargement of your breasts and they will feel tender to touch. They could hurt, more than usual, if you bump them. However, some women do feel breast tenderness as part of their menstrual cycles due to hormonal changes. This tenderness may also be due to the fertility medication you are taking as part of the IVF cycle.
Light Bleeding or Spotting
Again one of the early signs of pregnancy, spotting may indicate that the embryo has successfully implanted in your uterine wall. 7 days after embryo transfer symptoms of light bleeding are usually seen. But again, light bleeding may also occur as a result of the hormone medication you are taking.
Mild Abdominal Cramping
Most women experience cramping when their periods arrive. This symptom may also indicate successful embryo transfer. This is because as the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall, your body produces progesterone that makes your muscles and ligaments looser and more flexible in an effort to accommodate the growing fetus.
This symptom can also be attributed to the increased levels of progesterone after a successful embryo transfer. This hormone slows down your digestive system which results in a feeling of bloating in the abdomen. However, you may still experience bloating without successful implantation because you are on fertility drugs that contain progesterone.
While unpleasant, nausea can be a sign that your embryo has implanted successfully. It is important to note that this nausea is different from the “morning sickness” most women experience around four to seeks weeks into their pregnancy. So if you feel nauseous during the two-week period, talk to your physician.
Changes in Vaginal Discharge
If your embryo has implanted successfully, you will notice an increase in your vaginal discharge during the two-week interim period. This increased discharge is your body’s way of protecting the growing fetus from any infections by washing away potential pathogens from the vagina and not allowing them to travel up towards the uterus. The discharge will be thin, usually clear (sometimes milky white), and with only a mild smell. If your discharge has any other characteristics, better speak to your physician.
Fatigue and Tiredness
As progesterone levels increase steeply immediately after successful embryo implantation, you will tend to feel tired. If you notice increased tiredness, this may be a sign that you are pregnant.
An increased need to pee is usually a result of increased blood supply in your body. This is to support the growth and development of the fetus and is a result of the combined activities of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and progesterone. However, if your increased urge to take bathroom stops is accompanied by symptoms like a burning sensation while urinating, painful urination, bleeding, and fever, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
If you are one of those women who get their period on time, a missed period may indicate a successful pregnancy.
If you do not experience any of the above pregnancy symptoms, it does not mean an absence of pregnancy. Many women do not experience any symptoms in the initial days post a successful embryo transfer.
Symptoms or no symptoms, only once you get your test done at your fertility clinic will you be sure of your pregnancy status. Once you get that positive pregnancy test, your RISE Fertility physician and team will continue to monitor you closely through the end of the first trimester. Weekly ultrasounds and bloodwork are performed to check the health of the pregnancy and to make sure everything is progressing normally. Between 11-13 weeks, you are handed over to your Ob/Gyn for prenatal care.
How RISE Delivers Consistent Results
The success of IVF treatment is a combination of many factors. They depend as much on the skills and methods used at your fertility center as they depend upon your uniqueness as a biological individual.
At RISE Fertility, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. While the basic precepts of different ARTs remain more or less the same, the key to our success and record of delivering consistent results is customization. At every stage of your journey, you are an integral part of the entire process as an empowered participant.
We also have a variety of customized in-house financing programs that you can avail of if your insurance policy does not cover any aspect of the IVF procedure (for example, frozen embryo transfer).
To experience the RISE difference, schedule a consult with a RISE Fertility physician today and begin your fertility journey with our skilled, compassionate, and accommodative team.
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