You’ve come a long way on your journey, to accomplish your dream of having a child. You have done your research and decided to follow through with IVF. You have been through exams, multiple injections, had your egg retrieval, and yet your journey has just begun.
The next two weeks may be the most stressful time of the IVF process. Some important steps will be taking place during this time. At the end you will finally find out if the IVF procedure has successfully resulted in a pregnancy.
What are the side effects of egg retrieval?
Immediately after egg retrieval, you may have cramps, or feel pressure or fullness. This is normal, but let your doctor know if you are having trouble eating or drinking, using the restroom or have any fevers.
Meanwhile, your eggs will be examined for quality. The healthy eggs will be mixed with sperm, so fertilization can occur. The resulting embryos are then allowed to incubate for three to five days. Genetic testing, to find any specific illnesses, can be done prior to embryo transfer so that only the healthy embryos are transferred back into your uterus.
The embryo transfer and implantation
The embryo transfer process will take place in a GENESIS procedure room; after the embryos have been allowed to incubate and have reached an optimal developmental stage. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is placed through the vagina and cervix into the uterus, where the embryos are gently placed inside the uterine cavity.
After a few days, if all goes well, the embryo will begin to implant in the uterine lining.
If multiple embryos resulted from the fertilization, there is the option to have the additional embryos frozen for later use. This is called cryopreservation and is another service offered at GENESIS.
How long does it take to recover from embryo transfer?
This is a common question. The day of the transfer and a few days after, you should limit your activity. After three days you can resume normal activity. You may feel some after-effects of the procedure including a small amount of bloody discharge, mild cramping or bloating, and constipation. If pain continues, contact your doctor. He/she may want to examine you.
The two week wait
Although most people are familiar with the term “two week wait”, it is actually only 9 – 11 days after the transfer to find out the results of the procedure. This period can be the most difficult part of the IVF process; filled with emotional ups and downs as you wait to find out if the procedure was successful. It’s so important to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, during this time. Stress has no harmful effects on the outcome; but you may find it helpful to have a support network in place and use some of these emotional coping strategies. You can also try meditation, yoga or another alternative program. Self care is very important.
The big day
It’s finally here. Once the embryo has had time to implant in the uterine lining, and your body begins to produce a detectable HCG level, you will see your doctor for the blood test to check if you’re pregnant.
If the result is positive you will continue all of your medications, repeat the blood test every other day to ensure that your HCG levels are rising. Your first sonogram will be scheduled for six weeks gestation.
If the result is negative, you will be instructed to stop taking any hormones previously prescribed by your doctor and expect your period to start again in a week. This is not the end of your journey. Even in natural, unassisted conception it takes more than one cycle to become pregnant. Talk with your doctor about the next steps, when you can try again and what protocols, if any, need to be adjusted going forward.