For all couples who are planning to go for an IVF cycle, embryo transfer is the last step of an IVF procedure. In this process, the embryos which are formed after the fertilization of eggs and sperms are placed inside the uterus. Embryo transfer can be of two types- fresh and frozen. Fresh embryo transfer means that embryos are placed inside the uterus in the same cycle when they are formed. Your eggs are retrieved from your ovaries after 10-12 days of injections and then fertilized with sperms to form embryos. After 3-5 days, once the embryos are ready, they are placed inside the uterus. In frozen embryo transfer, embryos formed in the IVF cycle are frozen and then transferred in the next month. Whether you will have a fresh or frozen transfer, will be decided by your doctor after a complete evaluation. If your uterus is healthy and hormonal levels in your body are within normal range, embryos will be transferred in fresh cycle. In case your uterus is not ready or your hormones are not normal, embryos will be frozen and frozen transfer will be done.
Your uterus needs preparation before the embryo transfer. Before the process of IVF starts, your uterus will be checked for any abnormality like a fibroid, or adenomyosis with the help of an ultrasound. If any problem is detected, your doctor will manage these problems before embryo transfer. Sometimes, it is required to check the uterus from the inside to see any fibroid, polyp or adhesions. This requires a hysteroscopy. In this procedure, a camera is inserted inside the uterus through the vagina and your doctor checks the uterus from inside. If any abnormality is detected, it will be corrected.
Once your uterus is fine, you will be prescribed certain medications to prepare your uterus for transfer. You will have to take these medications for 10-12 days. Your uterus needs to be checked before the embryo transfer if it’s ready to receive the embryo or not. The most important thing to be looked for is the thickness of the lining of the uterus. The endometrial thickness should be 7 mm or more for good pregnancy outcomes. If it is less, you will need to take certain supplements prescribed by your doctor to increase your lining. Also, your uterus should have a good blood supply before transfer, there should be no abnormality in your uterus. Once your uterus is ready, progesterone injections are started which are to be taken for 3-5 days following which embryo transfer is done. In case of fresh embryo transfer, these progesterone injections are started on day of egg pick up and embryo transfer is done 5 days following this.
Embryo transfer is a painless procedure. It is done without anesthesia. So u need not be empty stomach for the procedure. On the day of the procedure, you need to take all medications and injections as prescribed by the doctor. With the help of a small catheter, with the help of ultrasound, embryos are placed inside the uterus through the vagina only.
After embryo transfer, you need to follow certain instructions as given by your doctor and take certain medications and injections. You should take all medications on time and should not stop any medications without the advice of your doctor. You also should not take any extra medications without the information of your doctor. There is a big myth that patients need to take bed rest after embryo transfer. There are many studies that have proved that bed rest is not required after transfer. Pregnancy rates are not more if you do bed rest after the procedure. You can also travel, use stairs and do all routine activities after embryo transfer as before. Avoid any heavy weight lifting after the procedure. You need to take a well-balanced, healthy diet and take plenty of water after transfer. You should avoid alcohol and smoking after the procedure. Any type of infection will reduce the success rates of your IVF. So, you should avoid any outside food to avoid stomach infections, and avoid sexual intercourse to prevent vaginal infections. 15 days after embryo transfer, you will have to do a blood test serum Beta- HCG to confirm if you are pregnant or not. Further advice post result will be given by your doctor.