What will happen at my Embryo Transfer?
So having had your initial Consultation, Egg collection, fertilization of your eggs and culture of your embryos in the laboratory - what is the next and final treatment step?
It's the embryo transfer - which may take place in the fresh cycle or in a subsequent frozen embryo transfer cycle.
In a fresh cycle depending on the quality of your embryos a transfer will take place on either day 2. 3 4. 5 or even 6 after your eggs were collected. You will be kept fully informed about the progress of your embryos during this period on a daily basis by our embryology scientific team. However the main procedures equally apply to frozen embryo transfer cycles
Do not worry you will be expertly advised on the best timing of your transfer by the Embryology and nursing team- depending on the outcome of your cycle in terms of embryo numbers, quality and the natural selection process.
Once a decision has been made about the optimal day for the transfer you will be given a time to attend. Please attend at the specified time and allow plenty of time for traffic delays. On arrival you can rest in our welcoming waiting room. You will have been advised to attend with a comfortably full bladder. All embryo transfers are conducted with the aid of ultrasound scanning which needs some fluid in your bladder to adequately view the uterus and the transfer procedure. Please avoid using perfumes, aftershaves and scented soaps for the duration of your treatment which can be toxic to embryos.
A short time before the transfer you will be asked to go to our waiting area in the transfer suite which has television facilities to help you relax. Occasionally transfer times can be delayed for various reasons so please do not be concerned if this is the case.
Immediately before your embryo transfer one of our nurses will ask you to go to a changing room where you will be admitted and asked to remove your lower garments in preparation for the transfer procedure and cover yourself with a towel to preserve your modesty. Your identity will be confirmed and a personalized wrist band will be placed on your wrist. You may also have your blood pressure and temperature taken if you have had an egg collection recently.
You and your partner or anybody you have chosen to accompany you will then walk into the embryo transfer procedure room. You will meet the Consultant or a trained experienced nurse who will perform your embryo transfer. The Consultant or nurse will check your identity once more and explain the procedure. The Embryology scientific team will also be present to explain the progress of your embryos and which embryo has been selected for transfer and the reasons for the selection. Usually only a single embryo is recommended for transfer to avoid the risks of a multiple pregnancy - although this may vary according to your circumstances.
Once the formalities are complete you will be asked to lie on the embryo transfer couch and your legs will be placed in rests. A small speculum will be placed in the vagina rather like a smear test to expose the neck of the womb which will be cleaned with swabs. A very fine tube will be gently inserted through the neck of the womb to exactly the right place and the embryo/s will be expelled from the tip of the tube with a very small amount of culture fluid. The path of the transfer catheter will be guided with an ultrasound probe placed on the lower part of your abdomen by a nurse. The transfer occasionally involves some minor discomfort but is usually painless. The whole procedure will usually take about 5 minutes and there is no need to lie on the transfer couch following the transfer.
Once complete you will walk back to the changing room where a nurse will explain some of the do's and dont's, give you instructions about your medications and the date to perform your pregnancy test. Once changed you will be free to empty your bladder and leave the clinic. Please be assured that emptying your bladder will not remove the embryo/s as your bladder and womb are completely separate organs.
I do hope that my blogs covering the Initial Consultation, what happens at the egg collection, what happens in the laboratory and what happens at the Embryo Transfer will fully inform you about the process of a bespoke and individualized IVF cycle at CARE fertility. Hopefully these blogs will reassure you about some of your natural anxieties and will answer your questions about your infertility treatment journey with CARE fertility.