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Embryo Transfer 

Embryo transfer is a technique of transferring an embryo into a woman's uterus to create a pregnancy that otherwise cannot occur naturally. There are many debates about this process that revolve around ethical and moral beliefs. However, many women who desire a child have limited options and may choose to explore this method to conceive. To learn more about embryo transfer and how the procedure is performed, take a look at the questions below that have been answered by the Experts.

What medication should a woman take to optimize the results of an embryo transfer and what should she expect during the transfer?

To ensure a successful embryo transfer, the uterine lining must be healthy and prepared to accept and maintain the embryo. In many cases, a woman is given a progesterone supplement to help this process and it is generally started around or at the time of the embryo transfer. Typically, the progesterone supplement is continued until the results of a pregnancy test are determined but, in some cases, it is continued throughout the first trimester. Progesterone oils and vaginal progesterone such as suppositories, gel or tablets tend to be more effective than oral progesterone. While progesterone oil (intramuscular) can sometimes be more painful than taking vaginal progesterone, the advantage is that there tends to be less luteal phase bleeding with it, making it the more popular choice. In some cases, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is used along with progesterone but it isn’t as effective as using progesterone only and could lead to complications such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Estradiol estrogen is also taken often with vaginal progesterone to avoid late luteal bleeding in the vagina. While many programs suggest that the woman should rest and reduce physical activities after an embryo transplant, there typically isn't any evidence to state that diet or exercise has an impact on the transplant. It is also normal for a woman to experience small amounts of clear to bloody discharge shortly after an embryo transplant. In addition, due to the increased levels of hormones, many women may experience tender or engorged breasts, bloating and constipation. Occasionally, a woman may experience cramping and pain during the transfer as well, which is usually caused from the transfer catheter touching the uterine walls. Women who have an embryo transfer are generally tested for pregnancy by the levels of hCG in the body after the transfer. Once pregnancy has been established, the woman will typically continue with an ultrasound evaluation one month after embryo retrieval. The fetal heartbeat is usually detected during the ultrasound. After the ultrasound, the woman will be referred for obstetrical care but many women choose to continue to keep in touch with the infertility doctor to be on the safe side.

How long does it take for the embryo to implant into the uterus between the time of the embryo transfer and the first blood test?

Implantation could take around three days but, generally, there is no way to determine if the embryo transfer is successful until the hCG hormone level begins to rise in the woman's blood. his generally occurs a few days after the embryo is implanted. In other words, the first blood test is what usually indicates whether everything is going according to plan.

What is recommended to do and not to do after an embryo transfer?

While there is no evidence that can prove bed rest offers any benefit to a woman who has undergone an embryo transfer, many doctors will have their patients on some form of bed rest or reduced activity levels for a few days following the transfer. This is usually just a precaution and provides many women with a sense of involvement and control with the procedure. The doctors generally request that exercise is minimized during this time since many women could end up blaming themselves if the embryo transfer doesn't take due to heavy exercise.

If the results of the HCG test say 758 after an embryo transfer, does this mean it is high and signifies the presence of multiple fetuses?

If a woman has two embryos transferred and has an hCG reading this high it could indicate the possibility of having twins. However, this cannot be determined until the fetal heartbeat(s) are heard during the ultrasound which occurs 2-3 weeks after the hCG levels have been read. For many women, conceiving isn’t easy and causes a lot of stress. This is one of the reasons why they opt for becoming pregnant with the help of an embryo transfer. If you have any questions about an embryo transfer or would like to learn more about this process, direct your questions to an Expert. They can offer medical insights and suggestions on the best approach to becoming pregnant based on the details of your case.

Ask an OB GYN Doctor

Dr. C.
Dr. C., Board Certified
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1650
Experience:  29 years of experience and an award-winning educator.
54412793
Type Your OB GYN Question Here...
characters left:
OB GYN Doctors are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

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    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
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    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

OB GYN Doctors are online & ready to help you now

Dr. C.
Board Certified
Satisfied Customers: 1618
28 years of experience and an award-winning educator.
Monika Hearne, M.D.
Board Certified OB/GYN
Satisfied Customers: 5745
With experience and compassion, I treat my patients like family.
Dr. Charles
OB/GYN (Doctor)
Satisfied Customers: 140
Board Certified. Solo practice for 8 years; delivered more than 1300 infants and performed more than 800 surgeries.

Recent Embryo Transfer Questions

  • I got my last period the week of October 22. I had sex on October

    I got my last period the week of October 22. I had sex on October 26 and we used a condom. I now am waiting to get my period and have not. I have a copper IUD but have been feeling nauseous. I took three pregnancy tests and they were negative. Is there a chance I could be pregnant?
  • Hi Dr, My periods have not worse again the last 3 months

    Hi Dr,
    My periods have not worse again the last 3 months - severe pain, vomitting and diarrhea, I miss work and after 2-3 hours on the first day of my period of such pain, I am then wiped out.
    Today and yesterday I went running at the end I had plain on left side and felt sick (I've had this for the last 6 months after running) and then need go to go to toilet.
    I went to the Drs 6 months ago complaining of bloated stomach, poor appetite and pain of left side (in line with hip bone). Various tests and results as follows:
    1. Bloods - CA125
    01.09.14 - 31
    20.09.14 - 56
    24.09.14 - 40
    Need to go back and have another and private consultation recommended CA199 and CA 153
    2. Ultrasound 02.10.14
    Endometrium 10mm. No palpable masses, right and left ovary normal
    3. CT scan with contrast - a week after
    'Small amount of free fluid seen in the pelvis. Small ovoid 2.2 cm ring enhancing low density focus is seen in the right adnexal region, which presumably represents right ovary slighted thickened wall'
    Background - on macrogynon since 12 (now 37). Prescribed it for the bad periods - vomitting etc as above. That helped but in 2009 I no longer wanted to be on the drugs and wanted to find out why I suffered so badly. I had a laparoscopy and mild endometrosis was lasered and I was ok after. Still some symptoms monthly but no longer severe. Intercourse always painful.
    Do you think this is all endo?? Would you advise a laparoscopy? That's what the consultant thinks. Do you think the pain after running is endo or should I see a gastro expert?
    Many thanks
    Loretta
    Sent from my iPhone
  • Sudden pelvic pain

    I'm having sudden, severe pain in what I'm pretty sure is my left ovary. It's a twisting, burning, stabbing sensation. I'm on birth control and at the end of my second week of pills. I have endometriosis but have not had pain outside a period in over 10 years. The pain is worse with movement. The pain has been going on for about 30 hours. Sometimes it is intense enough to cause a bowel movement or nausea Should I wait out the pain or head to the hospital?
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