What Not to Do After IVF Transfer: Embryo Transfer Aftercare

When researching the IVF process, there are so many things to learn and make note of. For example, what not to do after IVF transfer.

After IVF transfer, taking a pregnancy test right away is not recommended, as many symptoms mimic pregnancy that do not necessarily indicate you are pregnant.

Bed rest should also be avoided, as studies have shown that immobility can cause blood clots, and simply put, implanted embryos don’t fall out.

A women relaxing with a book and a warm drink

What Not to Do After IVF Transfer

You’ve made it this far, and although there isn’t much that can be done to alter the success of your IVF transfer, there are things that make good sense to avoid just to be sure.

Don’t Have Sexual Intercourse

Following an embryo transfer during an IVF, FET, or donor egg cycle, sexual activity is not advised. Five to seven days following the transfer, when a reliable pregnancy test may be used, this “pelvic rest” is advised.

The embryo has the best chance of implanting into the uterine wall during this rest. After an embryo transfer, most IVF patients can resume regular sexual activity. Always consult with your doctor or nurse to be sure.

Don’t Take a Pregnancy Test Right Away

Fertility clinics generally advise against taking a pregnancy test right away after your IVF embryo transfer. Instead, wait the customary two weeks. There is a reason for this, as it helps you handle the range of emotions that are bound to arise during this procedure and ensures that you receive accurate findings.

Because taking a pregnancy test too soon after the egg transfer sometimes yields erroneous results, clinics advise a two-week delay following your embryo transfer.

This occurs because the present stage in your fertility journey might affect the level of the hormone called hCG that is used to assess pregnancy in a pregnancy test.

In the case of extremely early pregnancy, for instance, there is frequently little natural hCG production, leading to a worrying false-negative result.

Don’t Ignore Troubling Symptoms

If you are having symptoms that are concerning you, it’s best to seek advice from your medical care team, especially if you experience any of the following issues:

  • Fever of 101° F or higher
  • Medications or symptoms
  • Severe pain or heavy bleeding
  • Severe bloating,
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Urinating less (these can be signs of ovarian hyperstimulation if you had a fresh transfer)

Avoid Bed Rest

After an embryo transfer, bed rest and inactivity are not required. Inactivity and elevated estrogen levels have been linked to an increase in insulin resistance and blood clot development. These blood clots may prevent blood flow, which is important for fetal and embryonic development.

Light exercise, on the other hand, decreases stress hormone levels, improves healthy blood flow, and reduces inflammation.

In the early days of IVF, women were required to spend the first two weeks after an embryo transfer in bed. In fact, for a while following the treatment, patients were not even permitted to stand up.

Instead, they were moved to a hospital gurney and then placed in a hospital bed; they even used a bedpan when it was necessary rather than using the restroom.

IVF technology has advanced significantly, yet IVF culture persists and adheres to some outdated practices.

Since IVF has been around for more than three decades, it is time to reevaluate the advice we provide patients undergoing treatment and question whether bed rest is still advised.

It quickly became evident that such a restriction was not required. Let’s look at a few of the most well-known research that demonstrates bed rest is not required following a fresh or frozen embryo transfer.

  • The first research, which claimed that a 24-hour period of bed rest was unnecessary, was published in 1997. They specifically showed that pregnancy rates were identical even when individuals were just subject to a 20-minute exercise limitation.
  • Later, in 2005, a much bigger and well-planned research discovered that the pregnancy rates of patients who were permitted to get up right away after their embryos were implanted were comparable to those of patients who were instructed to lie flat for an hour.
  • Last but not least, a 2011 analysis of all the available data on the issue established that overall sedentary behavior may be harmful rather than beneficial.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

As excessive heat is not optimal for embryo implantation, it is advised to maintain a normal body temperature. So it’s better to stay away from hot baths, hot tubs, and saunas for the time being because they can also make you more susceptible to infection.

Keep yourself cozy and toasty, but use caution in extreme temperatures. For the entire two-week wait, stick to warm showers.

Don’t Stop Taking Your Medications

You may find it tempting to stop taking the medicine you were taking before your embryo transfer, but you should avoid doing so without first seeing your doctor.

To give their pregnancy the best chance of continuing, many women must continue taking progesterone in the first several weeks following the transfer.

Because progesterone is a vital hormone for maintaining a pregnancy, it is frequently utilized in assisted reproductive techniques like IVF.

It facilitates the embryo’s implantation (and maintenance) in the uterus.

We acknowledge the inconvenience of progesterone vaginal suppositories and injections, yet persevere. It makes sense that you would continue taking them following your transfer.

Baby aspirin is a medication that your doctor could advise you to take. A little amount of aspirin may enhance the success of your implantation and pregnancy, according to research.

Aspirin medication, for instance, was found to improve results for patients who had a frozen, thawed embryo transfer in a small trial of 60 women conducted by Trusted Source (FET).

However, additional study is required, and not everyone should take aspirin. Continue what has been subscribed to you until you’re ordered to quit.


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Things You Should Do After IVF Transfer

Success in getting pregnant following an embryo transfer is somewhat unrelated to the safety measures you take. There are still a few things you can do that could be helpful.

Do Pamper Yourself

It is hoped that the embryo will implant after the transfer. Give yourself a few days to unwind and rest since it takes a few days. If you can, some experts will advise you to take some time off, and others may even subtly advise you to forgo the intense workouts.

Taking it slow will assist with the emotional rollercoaster you may be experiencing more than just as a physical precaution. Invest some time reading. See some romantic comedies on Netflix. Enjoy amusing cat movies. All of this may be beneficial self-care while you wait.

Just make sure you aren’t restricting yourself to bed rest, which is not only unnecessary but not recommended.

Do Keep Taking Your Medications

You may find it alluring to stop taking the medicine you were taking before your embryo transfer, but you should avoid doing so without first seeing your doctor.

To give their pregnancy the best chance of continuing, many women must continue taking progesterone in the first several weeks following the transfer.

Because progesterone is a vital hormone for maintaining a pregnancy, it is frequently utilized in assisted reproductive techniques like IVF.

Progesterone facilitates the embryo’s implantation (and maintenance) in the uterus.

Do Eat a Healthy Diet

If everything goes as planned, you’ll spend the next nine months creating a little human inside of your body. This is an excellent time to adopt the healthy dietary practices that nutritionists advise for expectant women.

A variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as diets high in calcium, protein, B vitamins, and iron, are ideal. But even if you’re eating well, go ahead and include a prenatal vitamin in your daily regimen.

Do Take a Daily Folic Acid Supplement

You should start taking folic acid supplements right away if you aren’t already. Taking folic acid when pregnant has several benefits. To avoid neural tube abnormalities, you need 400 mcg of this crucial B vitamin.

Most of the time, the folic acid you require is already in your prenatal vitamin.

One thing to keep in mind: Your doctor could recommend that you take more if you’ve previously been pregnant or had a kid with a neural tube problem, so be sure to inquire about that.

Do Stay Away from Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

Start paying close attention to the tools and other home supplies you use. The use of products that include ingredients like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, and triclosan, among others, could be something you should avoid, or at least try to minimize. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are what these are.

Chemicals known as EDCs have the potential to alter how your body’s hormones are intended to function. The Endocrine Society claims that some EDCs can pass through the placenta and accumulate in your baby’s circulation during a particularly vulnerable stage of development.

These substances may potentially obstruct the organ development of your unborn child. Early exposure to these substances at high concentrations may later result in additional developmental problems.

So, if you’re looking for a new water bottle, try to get one that says it’s BPA-free on the label. Additionally, verify your preferred sunscreen is devoid of EDCs by checking the label.


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What Happens After the Embryo Transfer?

It takes around nine days after an embryo transfer is completed before pregnancy may be confirmed. The embryo experiences the following in the days following a transfer:

Day 1: The embryo starts to emerge from its egg.

Day 2: The embryo continues to emerge from its protective shell and starts to cling to the uterus.

Day 3: Implantation begins as the embryo connects to the uterine lining.

Day 4: Implantation continues.

Day 5: The implant process is finished. The embryo’s placenta and fetus’ cells have started to form.

Day 6: The hormone that indicates a growing pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), begins to enter the bloodstream.

Day 7 & 8: Fetal development and hCG secretion continue, respectively.

Day 9: Maternal blood hCG levels are high enough to confirm pregnancy by a blood test.

Can an Embryo Fall Out After Transfer?

Because an embryo is so small, your specialist must proceed with extreme caution while transferring an embryo to the uterus. Since the uterus is a muscular organ and the embryo is being transplanted there, it will naturally remain tight and constricted. Your doctor will explain if this may be a problem for you.

The embryo is implanted between the uterine wall and the muscle during transfer, and the muscles contract to hold the embryo in place. The embryo subsequently buries itself within the lining and starts to develop.

What is the Process of Embryo Transfer?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a sophisticated set of treatments intended to improve fertility, avoid genetic issues, and aid in child conception. IVF involves removing mature eggs from ovaries and fertilizing them in a laboratory using sperm. The fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are then transferred into a uterus.

IVF takes roughly three weeks to complete one full cycle. The procedure can take longer if these phases are occasionally divided into separate sections.

The assisted reproductive therapy with the highest success rate is IVF. A couple’s eggs and sperm may be used in the operation.

Alternatively, IVF may use eggs, either by a known or unknown donor, or embryos from a carrier, someone who has had an embryo implanted in their uterus, might be employed in particular circumstances.


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Side Effects After IVF Transfer

Your regular daily activities can be resumed after the embryo transfer. Your ovaries might still be swollen, though. Take into account avoiding strenuous activities, which could be uncomfortable.

Common negative effects of your embryo transfer include:

  • Passing a tiny quantity of clear or red fluid soon after the procedure as a result of the cervix being swabbed prior to the embryo transfer
  • Breast sensitivity brought on by excessive estrogen levels
  • Slight bloating
  • Light cramps
  • Constipation

After the embryo transfer, if you experience any moderate to severe pain, call your doctor. Your risk of problems including infection, ovarian torsion, and severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome will be assessed by a medical professional.

Pregnancy Symptoms After IVF Transfer

Even while certain symptoms can indicate a successful procedure, they could be caused by the fertility pills and other treatments you’re doing to conceive.

Until the pregnancy test itself, there are typically no clear indications that an embryo transfer has been successful.

Progesterone, which is frequently administered both before and after the embryo transfer, mimics pregnancy’s bloating, aching breasts, and discharge.

However, a lot of individuals continue to closely monitor any indication of success during an embryo transfer. It’s crucial to comprehend the functions played by these symptoms during the procedure, even if you only sometimes encounter them.

An Increased Need to Pee After IVF Transfer

It’s possible that frequent restroom visits are an early symptom of pregnancy. In fact, before they miss their period, some women experience an increased urge to urinate. This could be brought on by surges in progesterone or elevated levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG.

If your embryo transfer was successful, the increased blood in your body will make you urinate more frequently. However, please call your fertility specialist if you have painful urination, blood, a fever, or vomiting.

Changes in Vaginal Discharge After IVF Transfer

In the seven days after your embryo transfer, if you notice more vaginal discharge than usual, check for a white, faintly odorous discharge. This may mean pregnancy and the success of the transfer.

However, your vaginal tablets, gel, or suppositories may be to blame if you’re enduring itching, burning, discharge, or even yeast infections.

Missed Periods After IVF Transfer

After an embryo transfer, missing your period might be an indication the transfer was successful if you have a stable, regular menstrual cycle. It could be time to contact your fertility clinic and take a pregnancy test.

Light Spotting or Bleeding After IVF Transfer

Patients may have spotting at various IVF therapy phases. During the first several weeks of hormone therapy, some women can experience spotting. Most likely, women who use vaginal progesterone suppositories will experience this.

A woman may have spotting after sexual activity because these suppositories have the potential to make her cervix extremely sensitive. This shouldn’t in any way affect IVF therapy.

The egg retrieval procedure is another IVF stage that could cause spotting. A catheter-attached needle will be introduced through the vaginal wall during egg retrieval.

Mature eggs will be collected via the catheter. Following egg retrieval, it’s typical for patients to have minor side effects including pain, light cramps, and light spotting. In a few days, these symptoms should go away.

Women frequently suffer spotting following embryo transfer, too. Spotting might happen right after or many weeks after the treatment.

The fact is that minor bleeding following an embryo transfer is likely to be neither a positive nor a poor predictor of the efficacy of treatment, despite the misconception held by many women that spotting that happens a few weeks after the embryo transfer is an indication of implantation.

Cramping and Pelvic Pain After IVF Transfer

While cramping is a common symptom of the monthly cycle for many women, pelvic pain can also be a sign that the embryo transfer operation went well. Pelvic pain and cramps during your two-week wait may also be brought on by progesterone and fertility drugs.

Additionally, for some women, the cramping may start right away following any pelvic operation.

Fatigue and Tiredness After IVF Transfer

Fatigue is another typical side effect that many women have at various stages of the IVF procedure. The body may experience weariness as a reaction to the early usage of fertility medications to encourage ovulation or it may happen as a result of the embryo being transplanted to the uterus.

Furthermore, one of the initial indicators of a good pregnancy may be tiredness two or three weeks following embryo transfer.

Whatever the reason, it is normal for many women to feel exhausted throughout IVF. It resembles the kinds of negative symptoms that might occur with a real pregnancy.

Sore Breasts After IVF Transfer

Tender, sensitive breasts are for some women an early indicator of pregnancy. A successful embryo transfer might be indicated by swollen or painful breasts to the touch. However, this might be a side effect of the progesterone you take orally and by injection during the two-week waiting period.

No Symptoms After Your Embryo Transfer

In the two weeks between your embryo transfer and pregnancy test, you can have symptoms that are comparable to menstrual cramps or being on your period. After your embryo transfer, it’s acceptable to experience no symptoms. Everyone is unique.

It’s crucial to understand that there are neither “good” symptoms nor “poor” symptoms following your embryo transfer.


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When to Test for Pregnancy After IVF Transfer

When during an IVF treatment cycle is it safe to take a pregnancy test? Ten to fourteen days following the egg transfer, your doctor may plan to do a blood test. The blood test will find and quantify the “pregnancy hormone,” or hCG.

An early home pregnancy test is not advised while undergoing IVF. Numerous early pregnancy tests are a bad habit that many women with fertility issues deal with; if you are undergoing fertility treatments, you should make every effort to avoid it.

The hCG hormone, one of the reproductive medications, is the cause. The day after having your implantation procedure, if you take a pregnancy test, you could find that it is positive—not because you are pregnant, but because the test is picking up hormones from the fertility medication.

Be careful to wait for a full 2 weeks following the egg retrieval if you plan to use an at-home pregnancy test during IVF.

Progesterone Support After IVF Transfer

Progesterone aids in implantation, and the IVF procedure reduces your body’s capacity to naturally produce progesterone.

For instance, all of the follicles that are aspirated during an egg retrieval procedure during a fresh IVF cycle produce progesterone, but the IVF medicines that prevent ovulation weaken the hormone signals from the brain that keep those follicles from producing progesterone.

Progesterone supplementation is therefore necessary during IVF.

How Long Should I Take Progesterone After IVF Transfer?

Until the placenta takes over progesterone production at about 8–10 weeks gestation, the ovary is responsible for producing progesterone. The majority of IVF clinics in the US advise progesterone supplementation until 8–10 weeks following egg retrieval/FET because of the anticipated time and the wish to be cautious.

Again, if you have concerns about your particular circumstance, speak with your doctor.


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Blood Tests for Monitoring After Embryo Transfer

Following a positive pregnancy test, your fertility specialist will probably continue to monitor your hormone levels for at least a few weeks. This is due to a few factors:

  • Watching for increasing hCG levels (which may indicate a multiple pregnancy)
  • Keeping an eye on estrogen levels, especially if there are signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Progesterone levels for a healthy pregnancy must be kept an eye on

Blood Test to Confirm Pregnancy

Typically, this blood test to confirm pregnancy is carried out 11 or 12 days following the embryo transfer procedure. Before intended moms and surrogates can decide if the embryo transfer was successful, there is a 2-week waiting period following the transfer.

Ultrasound Follow-up After a Successful IVF Transfer

A first-trimester obstetric (OB) ultrasound will be ordered following two positive pregnancy tests. Following the embryo transfer, this will happen two to three weeks later. Transvaginal ultrasonography is used for this (as opposed to abdominally). Your medical care specialist will be on the lookout for a gestational sac, a yolk sac, and an early fetal heartbeat.

You will begin visiting a healthcare professional if the ultrasound reveals all of these components and is found to be normal. For the duration of your pregnancy, it is advised that you start seeing an obstetrician or nurse midwife.

A second ultrasound may be suggested a week later in specific circumstances. Up to eight to ten weeks after your retrieval, progesterone is maintained.

Transitioning to an Obstetrician After Embryo Transfer

It’s not always simple to go from your infertility team to your obstetrician/gynecologist.

You may have grown accustomed to seeing your reproductive endocrinologist once every week and communicating with your nurse frequently.

You have been at ease because of the ongoing communication with your infertility team, and you may even be starting to look forward to your weekly ultrasound visits.

However, feel confident that you will eventually part ways with your infertility team. Although it’s an exciting shift, you could experience anxiety and sadness as a result.

Scheduling Your First Prenatal Visit After a Successful IVF transfer

Prior to being released from your RE, you should schedule an appointment with an OBGYN when you are around 7-8 weeks pregnant.

As you make the transition to your new doctor, there are a lot of practical matters to think about. From the time you phone the OB until they have an open appointment, it often takes time.

This will allow you to have your first appointment at roughly 10 weeks and provides you the chance to consult with your OB and arrange any necessary genetic tests and counseling.

Given that you could have already had the majority of the necessary tests for your OB, you should get a copy of your medical history and blood results. You should request to have a copy of your records delivered to you so that you will always have one on hand.

You should check your due date with your RE since, if you used IVF or even insemination to get pregnant, the conventional technique of determining your due date by utilizing the date of your last menstrual cycle may not be correct.

Prenatal Doctor Visits Timeline

A typical prenatal timeline for your doctor visits will be that up until 28 weeks gestation, you will likely be asked to visit your doctor every 4 weeks. Once you are at 28 weeks gestation, your doctor will want to see you every 2-3 weeks up until you are at 36 weeks. Once you are at 36 weeks gestation, you will be expected to have visits every week.

Keep in mind that this is a typical prenatal doctor visit schedule and not necessarily what your doctor will advise you.

9 Pregnancy Risks After IVF Transfer

The 9 Risks of IVF include:

  1. Birth Defects: No matter how the child is conceived, the mother’s age is the main risk factor for the development of birth abnormalities. It is necessary to do more studies to establish whether particular birth abnormalities may be more likely to occur in offspring created through IVF.
  2. Cancer: Although some early research showed there could be a connection between some drugs used to promote egg formation and the establishment of a particular type of ovarian tumor, more current research refutes these claims. Breast, endometrial, cervical, or ovarian cancer risk following IVF does not seem to be considerably higher.
  3. Stress: Financially, physically, and emotionally taxing, IVF use can be Your spouse and you can get the support you need to get through the ups and downs of infertility treatment from therapists, family, and friends.
  4. Miscarriage: When fresh embryos are used for IVF, the incidence of miscarriage is similar to that of spontaneously conceived women and ranges from 15% to 25%; however, the rate rises with maternal age.
  5. Complications with the egg-retrieval procedure:  Egg collection using an aspirating needle may result in hemorrhage, infection, or harm to the intestine, bladder, or blood vessels. Sedation and general anesthesia include risks as well if employed.
  6. Ectopic pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube, affect between 2 and 5 percent of women who utilize IVF. There is no way to carry the pregnancy on since the fertilized egg cannot live outside the uterus.
  7. Multiple births:  If more than one embryo is implanted into your uterus through IVF, your risk of having multiple children rises. Compared to pregnancies with a single fetus, pregnancies with multiple fetuses have a greater risk of early labor and low birth weight.
  8. Low birth weight and preterm delivery: According to research, there is a slight chance that a baby produced via IVF would be premature or have a low birth weight.
  9. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: When used to promote ovulation, injectable fertility medicines like human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) can lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which makes your ovaries uncomfortable and swollen.

The normal duration of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome symptoms, which include minor stomach discomfort, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, is one week. However, if you get pregnant, your symptoms can last for a few weeks. Rarely, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can become more severe, which can lead to fast weight gain and shortness of breath.

Sources

Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she can provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.