What to expect during IVF embryo transfer
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that consists of a multiple-step procedure where healthy sperm and eggs are mixed together in a laboratory setting.
- Once fertilization is complete, the final step consists of IVF embryo transfer. Our fertility centers have used IVF treatment to help many women and couples overcome difficulties with becoming pregnant.
- Our caring fertility specialists can explain the entire procedure and help you understand the specifics of each step that make up the process.
- If you have had trouble conceiving or would simply like to learn more about your fertility treatment options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.
Preliminary IVF steps
In the beginning stage of IVF treatment, the patient will start taking fertility medications. This allows the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, rather than the single egg that will typically be released. After approximately eight to ten days, when a sufficient supply of eggs have begun developing, another medication is administered that will cause the final maturation and release of the eggs.
These cells will be collected through a minimally invasive egg retrieval procedure and evaluated by one of our embryologists. The eggs will be taken to the laboratory and prepared for fertilization with the highest quality sperm from the patient’s partner or a donor. After successful fertilization and subsequent cell division, the healthy embryos will be ready for transfer to the mother’s uterus or frozen (cryopreserved).
The final step in the IVF procedure is embryo transfer. After fertilization, the cell will begin dividing and doubling in number. Healthy embryos may be transferred at any time between days one and six, but the procedure typically takes place between days two and five, when the embryos are at the eight-cell to blastocyst stage.
Giving the cells more time to divide allows them to develop into blastocysts which generally have a higher implantation rate. This allows just one embryo to be transferred. Elective single embryo transfer (eSET) is preferred because multiple-birth pregnancies are associated with higher risks for the mother and babies.
The embryo transfer procedure can typically be performed in under 20 minutes. An ultrasound will be used to guide the surgeon as they deposit the embryo in a catheter that passes through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Anesthesia is generally not required, but patients are encouraged to rest for at least four to six hours following the transfer.
Following the transfer procedure, patients will take supplemental progesterone or other medications to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.