The Embryo Transfer Process

Microscope-style image of sperm fertilizing an eggThe final phase of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is embryo transfer. When we perform this procedure at our San Antonio, TX, fertility clinic, our skilled team of doctors will place one or more embryos in the uterus of the patient or surrogate. Although this process is relatively brief and straightforward, we want to educate our patients about embryo transfer so that they know what to expect on the day of their treatment. To learn more about how we perform embryo transfer, contact the Fertility Center of San Antonio today.

Embryo Transfer: The Final Phase of IVF

IVF treatment involves multiple steps, each playing a vital role in helping you conceive. Embryo transfer is performed last, after ovulation inductionegg retrieval, and fertilization. In general terms, embryo transfer involves the placement of healthy embryos into the uterus of the patient or surrogate.

Cleavage Stage vs. Blastocyst Stage Transfer

After the embryos have developed, we can transfer them during one of two stages:

  • Cleavage Stage – This stage occurs two to four days after the embryos have developed. By transferring the embryos during the cleavage stage, we are usually able to transfer a greater number of embryos.
  • Blastocyst Stage – When the embryos are allowed to develop for five to six days, we can transfer them during the blastocyst stage. This typically results in a better chance of live birth, but reduces the total number of embryos that can be transferred.

To qualify for transfer during the blastocyst stage, patients must meet a few qualifications. We can help you weigh the benefits of each transfer option and evaluate your candidacy for blastocyst transfer during a personal consultation.

The Transfer Procedure

Out doctors will approach embryo transfer with the utmost level of care, detail, and precision. Before performing the procedure, your fertility doctor will plan for ideal placement locations to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. The actual transfer of embryos to the uterus typically takes less than 20 minutes. During transfer, the physician uses a special catheter to carefully deposit healthy embryos into the uterine cavity. Most patients remain awake during the procedure, and they can watch the transfer happen on a sonogram monitor.

Recovery and Aftercare

Following embryo transfer, you should not experience any discomfort, nausea, or dizziness. However, we recommend patients rest for a short period and have an escort drive them home. For the first several days following embryo transfer, patients should avoid strenuous activities and sex. We also urge patients to avoid potentially stressful situations during this time. 

Pregnancy Test

After two weeks have passed, you will return to our office for a pregnancy test. If IVF treatment was successful, you will be advised to schedule regular visits with your primary care physician or obstetrician. If treatment was unsuccessful, we will reevaluate and plan the next steps. Often, several IVF sessions are attempted before a patient becomes pregnant.

Contact Us to Learn More

At the Fertility Center of San Antonio, we have been helping women achieve their dreams of pregnancy for more than 25 years. If you are considering IVF treatment, we can discuss the embryo transfer procedure in detail during a personal consultation. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.

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