The Fertility Center of Las Vegas

Almost there: What to expect during embryo transfer

It’s common to have questions about what to expect during embryo transfer. Your embryo transfer is an exciting appointment when your Las Vegas IVF specialist will place a thawed embryo in your uterus using ultrasound guidance. Knowing what to expect during embryo transfer can help eliminate any anxiety about this procedure. This allows you to focus on the excitement that comes with the final big step in your IVF process.

After creating embryos in our IVF lab using eggs and sperm, our team will freeze and safely store them while you prepare for your embryo transfer. Some people elect to have cells from each of their embryos genetically tested during this period. Prior to your scheduled transfer, an embryologist will thaw one embryo in our laboratory and examine it. Once we are sure that the embryo continues to look healthy and viable, we bring you back to our procedure room. We request that you come with a full bladder. This often makes the procedure easier to perform.

What happens during an embryo transfer?

Our Las Vegas IVF specialist begins the procedure with a “time out” to confirm that we have the correct embryo for the correct patient. Then, the doctor places a speculum in your vagina to view your cervix. At the same time, the ultrasonographer places an ultrasound probe on your lower abdomen, so he or she can see your uterus in real time. Then, we perform a trial transfer. We place a small empty catheter through the cervix to make sure we can access your uterine cavity.

After the trial transfer, the embryologist loads the embryo into the catheter, and your fertility specialist places it into the uterine cavity. Using a syringe, the embryo is deposited near the top of the uterine cavity. We will make sure that the embryo is no longer in the catheter by checking it under the microscope. We then remove the speculum and the procedure is complete. You can return home shortly after that.

Who will perform my embryo transfer?

Typically, your Las Vegas IVF specialist performs your embryo transfer, with help from an ultrasonographer and the embryology team. If the fertility specialist who has been managing your care is unavailable, another of our experienced fertility doctors will perform your transfer.

What can I do to increase my comfort during my embryo transfer?

Stay well hydrated and aim for a bladder that is about two-thirds full. If you have particular difficulty or anxiety with speculum exams, inform your doctor in advance.

Are there any side effects?

This is a very low-risk and tolerable procedure. In fact, it is similar to a Pap test. With any vaginal procedure, there is a small risk of bacterial infection. Please call us if you experience any signs of fever or chills. Minimal uterine cramping is rare, but may occur.

We recommend rest in the following days and use of a gentle heat pack, if needed. As pregnancy may begin shortly thereafter, we suggest avoiding medications that are not safe during pregnancy, such as ibuprofen.

What can I expect after embryo transfer?

By the time you have your embryo transfer, you will likely be on a combination of estrogen and progesterone supplements. You will continue these medications after the transfer. You will also receive a schedule for bloodwork to check these hormone levels and optimize your supplement doses.

The confirmatory pregnancy test typically occurs 10 to 11 days after embryo transfer. But, we recommend that you consider yourself pregnant shortly after the transfer. As a result, you should avoid toxins like alcohol and tobacco and continue taking your prenatal vitamin.

What will FCLV do to increase my comfort?

While this is considered a procedure, it is typically not as invasive or intensive as one may expect. In fact, the majority of patients tolerate it with ease.

Our goal is to facilitate a smooth and comfortable transfer, and to get you one step closer to building your family. One adult can be present with you in the procedure room for the embryo transfer. Additionally, the team will talk you through each step of the transfer so that you know what is happening.

How can I expect to feel after embryo transfer?

Most women feel excited to take this major step toward achieving pregnancy. We hope that you will rest, relax and enjoy this special time. Some women feel understandably anxious while awaiting their test results. The FCLV team is always here for you to answer any questions and put your mind at ease.

To learn more about what to expect during embryo transfer, or to schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas IVF specialist, contact us.