What is embryo transfer?
- Embryo transfer takes place after eggs have been collected and fertilized in the laboratory. Depending on the situation between one and three of the best quality embryos are selected and then transferred to the woman's womb
- An embryo must successfully attach itself to the wall of the womb for pregnancy to begin
How does embryo transfer work?
- The exact procedure for embryo transfer depends on the clinic you choose. A typical procedure may involve the following:
- Step 1. Two to three days after the eggs are fertilized, the best quality embryos will be selected for the transfer back in to the womb.
- A maximum of three embryos can be transferred back in to the womb.
- If women have good quality embryos, those that are not transferred can be frozen. Some clinics may also offer blastocyst transfer, where embryos are transferred five to six days after fertilization.
- Step 2. The doctor doing the embryo transfer inserts a speculum into the vagina.
- A fine tube (catheter) is passed through the cervix, normally using ultrasound guidance. The embryos are passed down the tube into the womb.
- This is normally a pain-free procedure and usually no sedation is necessary, but you may experience a little discomfort because you need a full bladder if ultrasound is used.
- Step 3. It is generally recommended that you lead a gentle lifestyle during the few days after embryo transfer.
- Step 4. About two weeks after the embryo transfer, you will be given a pregnancy blood test. If it is positive, you will have a scan about two weeks later.
What are the risks of embryo transfer?
- There are no significant risks relating to the embryo transfer process itself.
- If you have never had a baby or if the canal of the cervix has not been assessed before the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle was started, there can occasionally be difficulties in passing the embryo transfer catheter through the cervix .
- While it is possible to stretch the cervical canal at the time of transfer, your specialist might prefer to avoid such interventions at this time.
- In extreme cases, your specialist may decide that it is in your best interests to delay the embryo transfer and freeze all suitable embryos until after the cervix has been stretched.
- There are significant risks if more than one embryo is transferred: you may want to consider single embryo transfer.
What are my chances of getting pregnant after embryo transfer?
- Female fertility diminishes with age, so if you are using your own eggs, on average, the younger you are, the higher your chances of success .
- For women receiving stimulated IVF using fresh embryos created with their own eggs, the percentage of cycles reaching embryo transfer that resulted in a pregnancy are as follows:
- 30-40% for women aged under 35
- 25-30% for women aged between 35-40
- 15% for women aged between 40-42