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Oct 21, 2022
3 min read

The final stage of IVF: the Embryo Transfer

The highly anticipated day is finally here and we are ready.

The last few days were a real emotional roller coaster. Fortunately, I did not have any physical symptoms after the oocyte (egg) retrieval. The most common side effects are cramping and spotting, and I was lucky I did not have to experience either one of them. The only thing that was a little bit uncomfortable were my very sore and painful breasts, but it was tolerable.

The embryos are transferred into the uterus through the vagina by using a very thin catheter. When the embryos reach their final destination, you can see little air bubbles on the monitor. Here they are! Now it is up to them and the universe. We just have to wait.

Nevertheless, I felt very anxious during the last few days while waiting for the embryo transfer. I’m not sure if it was because of the hormones playing with my emotions, or just my thoughts. Either way, handling the last few days was very difficult. After the oocyte retrieval I felt like a part of my soul was placed outside of my body - not knowing what was happening with our tiny embryos was truly nerve-wracking. I would have given anything to have a spy camera in the lab to check on them and make sure that everything was going well and according to plan.

But now the wait is finally over. Our embryo transfer is scheduled for today and if all goes well, at least one embryo is going to be placed back where it belongs and will give us the chance to become parents.

The last procedure of IVF does not require a lot of preparation. The clinic asked me not to wear any deodorant, perfume, nail polish, makeup, or apply lotions or powder, as the embryos are very sensitive to strong scents and chemicals. They also asked me to come to the clinic with a full bladder, which can make the transfer easier and may aid with placing the embryo perfectly. This part (the full bladder) is a little uncomfortable, especially if you are as excited as I am!

Embryos are transferred back to the uterus between day 2 and day 5 after fertilisation. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best transfer time, such as the number of fertilised oocytes, the number of previous treatments, the quality of your embryos, or the age of the patient. We were scheduled for a transfer on day 3.

After arriving at the clinic, we met with our doctor first. He confirmed that we have two well-developed embryos that are ready for transfer. He recommended transferring both of them back to the uterus in order to increase the chances of at least one of them implanting successfully. I found an article on about embryo transfer statistics, which explained that “about half of IVF procedures in the U.S. involve the transfer of two embryos, 23% involve three, and around 10% involve four or five embryos. Close to 1 in 3 IVF births involves twins.”

Hence, two is an ideal number for us because:

  • it increases our chances of conceiving;
  • it has a low risk of complications;
  • and we would be very happy with twins.

The transfer was a very quick and simple procedure - it is actually very similar to a pap smear test, so there really is nothing to worry about. The nicest thing about it is that your partner can share this special moment with you.

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