IVF Embryo Transfer: What You Should Know


IVF Embryo Transfer: What You Should Know

In vitro fertilization, another type of assisted reproductive technology contributes to the conception of about 2% of babies born in the United States each year. These treatments can be effective even if they are not always effective, and in the past ten years, their popularity has more than doubled. The transplantation of the embryo is frequently the last step in assisted reproductive technology procedures. At this time, the fertilized egg is placed in the uterus, and if the embryo implants, pregnancy may result. But there have been other steps before this one. Continue reading to find out when and how an embryo transfer takes place, what to anticipate during the procedure and the typical success rate.

 An embryo transfer is what?

In an embryo transfer, a fertilized egg or embryo is inserted into a woman's uterus. When using assisted reproductive technology for fertility procedures, such as in-vitro fertilization, this is often the last step (IVF).

Fresh embryo transfers and frozen embryo transfers are the two types of embryo transfers. Frozen embryo transfers use embryos that have been previously frozen and then thawed before being transferred to the uterus, whereas fresh embryo transfers take place within three to five days of the egg retrieval (during which mature eggs are harvested from the ovaries). Frozen embryo transfers can take place as soon as a month after the embryos were generated and frozen, or they can happen a year afterward.


 What is the purpose of an embryo transfer?

U     usually, an embryo transfer is carried out as part of an IVF cycle. IVF may be used for the following purposes

  •        Due to a reproductive problem
  •        Due to the need to preserve fertility, such as when someone freezes eggs before receiving cancer treatment and then uses those eggs to create embryos later.
  •        If a person has opted to carry a pregnancy for another person while acting as their gestational carrier.


What Happens During an Embryo Transfer?

The IVF procedure's last step is embryo transfer. After using gonadotropins to activate the ovaries, the eggs are first harvested. A reproductive endocrinologist or another medical professional performs egg retrieval by using ultrasonography to guide a needle through the higher vaginal wall and into the ovary. The eggs are extracted from the follicles, which are fluid-filled organs in the ovaries where the eggs are located. After being harvested, the eggs are taken to a facility where an embryo is produced by fertilizing them with either partner or donor sperm. (If the patient chooses to freeze her eggs instead, that will happen right away following the retrieval, before an embryo is produced.) The embryos are then raised in a lab for around 5 days while they develop.

The patient will then be informed about the quantity and caliber of the embryos created by the doctor. Patients who intend to do a fresh transfer frequently get progesterone therapy both before and after the egg retrieval. Patients who intend to transfer frozen embryos normally do not take medication following the retrieval and should anticipate a recovery period of seven to ten days. To help doctors choose which embryos to transfer, the embryos are rated according to how much they have grown throughout their days in the lab and how they appear. The embryo transfer then starts. Around 10 days following the embryo transfer, pregnancy is typically discovered.


 What Happens During an Embryo Transfer?

Although embryo transfer is "the most critical stage" in fertility therapy because it might lead to pregnancy, it is "extremely basic and straightforward" in practice, according to Mindy Christianson, M.D., medical director of the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center.

The procedure takes around 15 minutes, during which the patient is usually conscious. The embryo(s) are transferred via a catheter that is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. The catheter includes the embryo(s) and a little amount of fluid. The embryo is then released. While this is going on, and abdominal ultrasound is being performed to make sure the embryo(s) are placed correctly in the uterus.

 Success Rates for Embryo Transfer

According to. Dr. Christianson, the success rate for embryo transfers is from 50 to 6 percent. That success rate, however, can change based on a variety of variables. Dr Christianson believes that an embryo is successful if it produces a live birth.

According to. Dr. Christianson, success rates increase with patients’ age at the time the eggs are produced. So, for example, a chance is higher at age 25 than 40. Success rates can vary depending on the age of the egg or sperm donor.

The success percentage of embryo transfers can also be influenced by the embryo's genetic or chromosomal normality, which can be verified through earlier testing. In addition, the health of the woman's uterus—that is, if the lining has thickened and there are no abnormalities—can affect how well an embryo transfer goes.

 Risks of Embryo Transfer

Dr Christianson claims that having many children, such as twins or triplets, is the greatest risk of embryo transfers. Multiple pregnancies increase the danger of difficulties for both the pregnant woman and the unborn children; hence this is seen as a risk.

However, the number of embryos transferred has decreased in recent years, Dr. Christianson, and the likelihood of conceiving multiples through an embryo transfer has decreased. In the majority of situations today, an elective single embryo transfer is strongly advised, especially if the patient is younger. And those who do transfer more than one embryo are warned about the possibility of multiples.

An embryo transfer also carries the risk of ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo implants outside of the uterus, frequently in the fallopian tube…Dr Christianson notes that even if the embryo is immediately implanted into the uterus during an embryo transfer, there is a possibility of migration. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be taken to term and provide the pregnant individual with a potentially fatal risk.

An embryo transfer's ultimate risk is failing to conceive as a result of the procedure. Dr Christianson observes, "This is unfortunate, but it can happen. It's also not particularly unusual, as even a couple with normal fertility has a 1 in 4 chance of getting pregnant during the first IVF cycle.


How to Get Ready for a Transfer of Embryos?

According to Dr. Christianson, you can anticipate having a consent appointment and going over treatment planning with your fertility expert before the embryo transfer. You will go through every detail of the embryo transfer procedure and the embryo you intend to transfer during the planning phase.

Whether it's a fresh embryo transfer or a frozen embryo transfer, there are different additional preparations to make. The patient will often take progesterone to sustain pregnancy when egg retrieval and transfer are performed quickly after one another.

The uterus must be ready to receive the embryo if it is being transferred from a frozen embryo in this case. The doctor will watch the patient see when they ovulate and will time the embryo transfer for roughly five days following ovulation if it is a natural cycle frozen embryo transfer (meaning it is done during the woman's normal uterine cycle rather than through artificial stimulation). Another option is a planned cycle frozen embryo transfer, in which the patient receives estrogen therapy to thicken the uterine lining. The physician will next give progesterone to make the uterus receptive to the embryo once the lining is thick enough, which normally takes approximately two weeks to happen.

According to Dr. Christianson, when someone undergoes an embryo transfer, they are probably doing it as part of a larger fertility treatment plan and have spoken with their fertility specialist about their expectations for the procedure.

The patient can feel some cramping, pressure, or nausea following the surgery. You could be instructed to stay away from strenuous activities like jogging and to postpone having sex until after you've taken a pregnancy test.

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