Our IVF doctor explains the embryo transfer process
For individuals and couples struggling to conceive, IVF offers hope for achieving a successful pregnancy. At Innovative Fertility Center, Dr. Mark Rispler and Dr. Joshua J. Berger often utilize IVF for patients who have specific barriers to conception. The IVF process involves multiple steps, culminating in the embryo transfer. Our IVF doctor will explain each phase in detail so that you feel comfortable as you move forward.
Timing the embryo transfer
Your doctor will sync your IVF cycle, monitor it through sonograms and then retrieve the eggs during an outpatient procedure. Our embryologists combine the eggs with your partner’s sperm (or donor sperm) in the laboratory and then, typically, allow the resulting embryos to grow to a mature blastocyst stage.
We look for signs that each embryo is growing at a normal rate, and then approximately five days after fertilization, your embryos are prepared for cryopreservation. This fast-freeze process is precisely timed and a cryoprotectant surrounds your embryos as they enter a carefully monitored storage tank.
Most reputable IVF centers have moved toward frozen embryo transfers because it is associated with higher pregnancy success rates. This protocol allows a woman’s uterus to normalize for a month or more after taking fertility medications to induce ovulation. Frozen embryo transfer also allows time for PGS, a form of genetic testing that confirms chromosomal balance prior to embryo transfer.
For a frozen embryo transfer, our IVF doctor may prescribe estrogen and progesterone before the procedure.
Our IVF doctor demystifies the embryo transfer process
On the day of the actual transfer, you will visit our Manhattan Beach fertility center’s IVF lab. In the specially designed “clean room” setting, you will wear a gown and have your feet in stirrups, just as you would for cycle monitoring.
Once the embryos are placed in a catheter in an adjoining room, the embryologist walks the thin tube in, our IVF doctor threads it through the cervix into the uterus and transfers the embryo(s) into the uterine cavity. The transfer is performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement.
After the embryo transfer, you will rest for 30 minutes before returning home. As a precaution, we recommend that patients limit their physical activity for the first 24 to 72 hours.
Read more about precautions we take with embryo transfers.
The next steps: What happens after the embryo transfer?
Initially, you may experience minimal cramping, faint spotting and bloating. These symptoms don’t warrant cause for concern. If you develop severe pain, heavy bleeding or a fever, however, contact our office right away.
To aid in implantation and pregnancy support, you will take progesterone injections and suppositories as well as estrogen supplements following the transfer. Approximately two weeks later, our IVF doctor will see you for a pregnancy test. Because the hormones involved in IVF can impact the reliability of home pregnancy tests, we advise patients to wait until their return appointment so that the results are accurate.
Infertility treatment can leave you feeling overwhelmed. The team at Innovative Fertility Center, including our board certified endocrinologist can answer questions about the IVF process. Call our Manhattan Beach fertility center for more information.