Q: What is Embryo Transfer?
A: Embryo Transfer is a procedure that follows In Vitro Fertilization. Its objective is to aid conception following the In Vitro process. It is often seem as the simplest and final step of IVF. Embryos can be "fresh" from fertilized egg cells of the same menstrual cycle or "frozen", meaning that they have been cryopreserved and thawed just before transfer.
Q: What does the embryo transfer process entail?
A: A predetermined number of embryos are loaded into a transfer catheter that is passed through the cervix. An abdominal sonogram is used by the physician to act as a guide that shows the physician the appropriate spot at the top of the uterus; the embryos are then deposited from the catheter into the uterus. Patients are usually requested to have a full bladder as this makes the uterus easier to see with the sonogram.
Q: When should embryonic transfer occur?
A: Embryos are typically transferred three days after fertilization and may be at the eight-cell stage, or they are transferred 2-3 days later when they have reached the blastocyst stage. Embryos that reach the day three cell stage can be tested for chromosomal abnormalities by PGD prior to transfer.
Q: What are the risks associated with Embryo Transfer?
A: The procedure is usually painless, with some women experiencing cramping. There is minimal risk with the transfer procedure. A major issue is how many embryos can be transferred. Placement of multiple embryos carries the risk of multiple pregnancy.
Q: Will any medications be required for embryo transfer?
A: You may receive an injection of HCG to help the ovaries produce more progesterone during the embryonic implantation phase. Your physician will know if any additional medications are required.
Q: What are the follow-up procedures post embryonic transfer?
A: After embryo transfer, patients are kept on estrogen and progesterone medication; pregnancy testing is typically done two weeks after the transfer procedure.