Embryo Transfer

Our patients will be contacted to schedule their embryo transfer. The transfer will take place 2-7 days following the egg retrieval.

According to their particular treatment goals, their doctor will discuss with them the recommended number of embryos to transfer.

Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET)

This relatively recent procedure involves the elective transfer of only one embryo to the uterus, with other viable embryos set aside for future use or cryopreservation. eSET helps patients to avoid risks that may be associated with carrying multiples.

Preparing for embryo transfer

On the day of the embryo transfer our patients may want to bring some music to listen to or a photo from a favorite vacation, as well as a small pillow from home and some warm socks. Patients are advised not to drink coffee or soft drinks before the transfer. The patient should let us know if they have a cold, cough or allergy, as they may need a cough suppressant. They will be asked to arrive at our clinic with their bladder at least half full as this will enable us to better visualize the uterus with the abdominal ultrasound.

Deciding on the number of embryos to transfer

About 15 minutes before the procedure, their physician will talk with them about the number and quality of the embryos available for transfer. The ability to control the number of embryos to be transferred is one of the benefits of the IVF procedure as it helps to avoid the complication of a multiple pregnancy.

Together our patients and their doctor will decide on how many embryos they wish to transfer as well as the number that might be frozen or discarded.

Verifying embryos

Directly before the embryo transfer, the embryologist will confirm the patient's identity. This is one in a number of measures we take to ensure the safety of our patient's embryos.

The embryo transfer procedure and recovery

The embryo transfer is done without anesthesia, and feels similar to a Pap smear. The entire process takes about 15 minutes (the transfer itself takes just 30 seconds). A speculum is inserted in the vagina; the cervix is washed and cleansed. The embryos are loaded into a soft catheter and passed through the cervix and into the uterus. The woman may feel a slight twinge when the catheter passes through the cervix, but many patients feel little or no sensation at all during the procedure. Because their doctor will use an abdominal ultrasound to guide the embryo transfer, they will be able to watch the transfer take place on the screen. They will also be given a picture of the transferred embryos.

Post transfer care

After completing the transfer the patient's nurse will gently position them so their legs are together and slightly elevated. This position is recommended for a short period of time following transfer. It is important during this time that the patient remain relatively relaxed and comfortable. Usually they will remain at rest for 15 to 30 minutes after the transfer.

Our patients will be asked to follow the instructions below to ease their recovery:

  • Avoid any vigorous activity like aerobics or running. After 8 hours, they may gently increase their activity. The ovaries will still be full of fluid from the effects of the stimulation and one may feel some bloating or pelvic discomfort at this time. It is okay to take stairs slowly, and walk short distances, less than a half mile.
  • Avoid vaginal creams, lubricants, or spermicides.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths, and don't swim.
  • Avoid penetrative sexual activity or orgasm for one week.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids to stay well-hydrated.

It is helpful to understand that at this point, successful embryo implantation and pregnancy will depend primarily on the health of the embryo rather than their activities.

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