What is embryo transfer?
Embryo transfer is the introduction of one or more embryos into the woman’s uterus through the cervix. It is the culmination of an in vitro fertilization technique. This technique is painless and does not require any type of analgesia or sedation, prior fasting is not necessary, and the patient can be accompanied throughout the process by her partner.
Why is it performed?
In vitro fertilization involves different phases. Embryo transfer is the last step of this assisted reproduction technique, after ovarian puncture, insemination and oocyte culture.
Embryo transfer is the culminating point of an in vitro fertilization technique.
What does it consist of?
Embryo transfer can be performed under ultrasound guidance to visualize the endometrium and deposit the embryos 1 cm from the uterine fundus. Currently, most transfers are performed transcervically, that is, through the cervix. To visualize the cervix, a vaginal speculum is used.
As a general rule, it is performed on the fifth day, when the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage. Although some cases require it to be performed three days after the ovarian puncture.
Embryo transfer can be performed with embryos from the in vitro fertilization process or with embryos from a previous cycle (and which have been frozen for preservation). In the case of frozen embryos, to perform the procedure, the woman’s uterus is first prepared, the embryos are brought to a physiological temperature (37°) and transferred into the uterus.
Preparation for embryo transfer
Although it is not necessary for the patient to come to the clinic on an empty stomach, it is important to drink up to one liter of water beforehand, since a full bladder improves the visualization of the uterus, as well as favoring the canalization of the cervix with the catheter.
On the part of the clinic, just before the embryo transfer, the selected embryos are placed in specific culture medium. The embryos are loaded onto the end of the transfer catheter and gently deposited into the uterine cavity.
Some of the recommendations made to the patients are:
- Rest after the embryo transfer: The rest time recommended for the patient is about 20-30 minutes, that is, the time she is in the clinic after the embryo transfer. Once the patient is discharged, she can continue with her routine, trying to lead a quiet life and avoiding excessive efforts, but within normality.
- Avoid great efforts or intense physical activities: they can walk, drive, go to work (when their work does not involve physical efforts), and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi.
- Sexual relations: it is recommended not to have sexual relations until the pregnancy test.
- Medication after the transfer: when the patient is discharged, the doctor will indicate the medication to be taken until the pregnancy test.
- Immersion baths such as bathing in a bathtub, swimming pool or beach should be avoided in order to prevent possible infections. Without a doubt, showering is allowed.
- Drinking water: drinking the daily amount recommended by the specialist favors the correct functionality of the cells (including endometrial cells) and avoids cellular dehydration.
In spite of all the recommendations, one of the main ones is for the woman to be calm.