Embryo Transfer

One of the critical part of IVF is to ensure steps towards succesful embryo transfer  , also called as ET. While the embryo transfer steps may appear simple on reading, Dr. Meenakshi Sahu, having taken care of couples seeking infertility treatment at Delhi, says that it is the skill that matters equivalent to knowledge. Thus no matter how best the hospital or the ivf clinic is, the success and failure of IVF can be determined by how careful or careless are the embryos transferred - right time,  right numbers, careful skill with minimal trauma and manipulation, with right location inside the uterus for transferring.

What is embryo transfer ?

Embryo transfer, in short “ET” is one of the steps as part of IVF, that transfers the embryo (produced in the lab) to the woman’s womb. While the process looks simple, it needs a great understanding on the physiology of embryo and the physiology of the uterus (where the embryo will be implanting).

When do we do embryo transfer ?

As part of Fertility care at Delhi, Dr. Sahu generally performs the embryo transfer approximately day 2 / day 3 from the egg pick up day, depending on how the embryos look like.

What is the procedure for embryo transfer ?

Embryos will be checked for their viability at the lab itself. They are then placed inside the uterus using a catheter that goes via cervix. In most, this procedure does not require sedation. How many embryos we transfer, depends on variuos factors that include age of individual from whom egg was picked (this includes age of egg donor as well), qualities of embryo, previous IVF success or failure etc.

The embryo transfer cather is loaded with the embryos. The catheter is passed through cervix into and upto the middle of uterine cavity. Dr. Sahu may use an ultrasound simultaneously to watch catheter tip at the proper position. Once the catheter is at the right location the embryo containing fluid is then injected towards the uterine lining. The catheter is then slowly removed.

When does the embryo implant following embryo transfer ?

Knowledge on embryo and pregnancy physiology has shown that a healthy human embryo will implant to the uterus 5- 7 days after fertilization. Thus it is expected that embryos will attach (implant) to the uterus within 3-5 days after a day 3 embryo transfer.

How many embryos can be transferred ?

As part of your infertility treatment at Delhi, Dr. Sahu will discuss with you regarding merits and demerits of transferring multiple embryos. While of course a single baby pregnancy is the safest and a one baby concept is the best thing as part of pregnancy, but with increasing female age there is an increeased risk of implantation drop. Thus it is worth for more than two embryos to be transferred for older females. On a general note and in terms of our observation, two embryo transfer has yielded succesful results across age group < 38 years, and around three embryos in females more than 38 – 40 years.

Precautions to follow after embryo transfer ?

Dr. Meenakshi typically will tell you to lie down at the clinic for an hour post embryo transfer. On day 1, you will asked to limit your physical activities throughout the day. On the next day you are allowed to peform normal activities, and avoid any jerks and strains. If you are far away from Delhi and will use a flight or railways, we suggest not to travel back on the day of embryo transfer, and can go back on the subsequent day post ET. If you are driving back from the clinic, all we suggest is to avoid bumpy rides. SO typically no auto rickshaw drives on rough roads, which are associated with more bumps and jerks !. We also suggest to avoid high impact exercises such as jogging, skipping, fast treadmill gymnastic exercise till a pregnancy test is done. In other words normal routine activities, simple exercises, simple walking, go to shopping, dining etc are all allowed. Maintain personal hygiene.