Embryo transfer

What is embryo transfer?

Embryo transfer is a procedure in which eggs that have been fertilized with sperm (embryos) are implanted in a woman’s womb. This procedure takes place 2 to 5 days after oocyte retrieval, which is the process in which eggs are removed from the ovaries to be fertilized outside of the woman’s body. If the woman has frozen embryos, the frozen embryo transfer may take place at varying times throughout her cycle. Embryo transfer is one of the steps in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process.

Why is embryo transfer needed?

An embryo transfer is needed for placement of embryos.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be given a medication to help you relax before the procedure. You will lie on your back on the exam table. The doctor will use a speculum to see your cervix. This is the same instrument used during a Pap smear. Your cervix will be cleaned. Your doctor will insert a small, thin tube called a catheter through your vagina and cervix into your womb. The embryos will be pushed through the catheter into your womb. The doctor will do an ultrasound, where the wand is on your belly, to clearly see your womb. The procedure takes about 15 minutes. If the procedure is successful, the embryo will implant in your womb a few days afterwards.

What are the risks?

A small risk of:

  • Losing the embryos during the transfer process
  • Mild to moderate cramping

What should I do to prepare for the procedure?

  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Do not drink anything with caffeine before the procedure
  • Come to your appointment with your bladder full
  • This makes it easier to see your womb
  • You will be allowed to empty your bladder after the procedure

What should I expect during recovery?

  • If you receive a sedative, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

  • You may feel cramping or pressure in your belly
  • If you feel nauseous try drinking clear liquids and eating crackers
  • If you are experiencing pain, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Take 2 regular-strength tablets every 6 hours
  • Do not participate in high-impact physical activity like jogging or aerobics until you take the pregnancy test

    • Do not lift more than 25 pounds until you take the pregnancy test
  • Do not have sex until you take the pregnancy test
    • If your pregnancy test is positive, do not have sex until the pregnancy is confirmed by ultrasound

  • Only take medications prescribed by your doctor
    • If you experience bleeding, continue to take the medications as this may be an early sign of pregnancy and call your doctor

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • Pain that is not relieved by Tylenol
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Fever greater than 100oF
  • Nausea that lasts for more than 24 hours
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing

Office number: (404) 778-3401, Monday – Friday 8:30AM – 5PM

For emergencies after hours calling this number will connect you to the paging operator who will page the Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility, REI doctor on call. 

If your pain becomes severe, your fever rises above 100.4oF, or you have difficulty breathing call the REI on call physician.

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