You have arrived! You’re past the days of injectable fertility medications and egg retrieval. Now, it’s time to plan for the long-awaited embryo transfer day. The good news is that embryo transfer is easy-breezy.
That said, the excitement can be somewhat mixed with anxiety because embryo transfer day is also the beginning of the infamous two-week wait (TWW).
Don’t worry! You got this. Here is exactly what to expect and tips on how to keep calm, strong, and confident in the outcome.
Taking deep breaths and using your favorite relaxation tools is the best thing you can do to prepare for embryo transfer day. To do this, we recommend personalizing these tips, which we’ve gleaned from other patients.
Your embryo transfer day is also the beginning of the two-week wait, and there is plenty you can do to set yourself up to enjoy that time to its fullest. It’s hard to play a waiting game like this, so having plenty of things to occupy you – while keeping positively focused – helps to keep stress levels down.
- Lining up your favorite binge-worthy shows and movies.
- Retrieve tried-and-true card or board games from the closet to occupy your mind and create some fun bonding time for you and your partner.
- Lay out your favorite warm socks (and bring one pair with you for embryo transfer). Chinese medicine practices claim that warm feet support a warm uterus, supporting conception. Of course, we can’t confirm or deny that, but we are fans of using acupuncture to support IVF, so why not participate in this tradition, too?
- Clear the calendar and act like you have no plans. You can always be spontaneous if you feel you need something to do.
- Plan some beautiful walks or hikes out in nature if the weather allows.
It’s important to get a good night’s sleep to support your well-being the next day.
- Don’t drink any caffeine for at least six to eight hours before you go to sleep. Skipping caffeine altogether that day is even better.
- Take time to really wind down, screen-free, for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Use your favorite relaxing essential oil (lavender or a sleep-friendly combination) in a diffuser to support the unwinding and letting go process.
- Stop eating at least three hours before bedtime and sip on a cup of tea such as chamomile or Sleepytime for natural calming benefits.
- Listen to relaxing music or a Yoga Nidra to help you drift into sleep (have your partner set it up for you so you don’t have to interact with the screen. Otherwise, turn the screen to its dimmest setting.
- Load up some of your favorite relaxation or mindfulness apps (like Insight Timer) in case you need them.
- Make sure you have a full (but not overly full) bladder when you arrive to support clear ultrasound images during the embryo transfer. Studies show that ultrasound guidance is key to improving embryo transfer success. Trans-abdominal ultrasound is routinely performed during the transfer so that the fertility doctor can visualize the small catheter containing the embryo passing smoothly through the cervix and entering the uterine cavity.
- Bring a small token or charm that lifts you up and brings you luck.
Despite the significance of the procedure, the process is swift and doesn’t require any sedatives. You won’t feel anything more than the speculum and the general sensations you feel during a routine OB/GYN wellness exam.
Once you’re comfortably lying on the table with your feet in the stirrups, we’ll use a warmed speculum to open your vagina. We’ll use the ultrasound wand to guide the catheter that will deposit your embroyo/s into the desired location.
It’s that simple. Most embryo transfers take 15 to 30 minutes, after which you’re free to go home.
Unless your fertility specialist orders bed rest, there is no need to lay down or stand on your head. Neither affects the embryo’s ability to attach to the uterine wall. Instead, we do recommend taking at least a few days off to take it easy and settle into the TWW.
In The Two-Week Wait: Boston’s Survival Guide, we outline a variety of tips and tricks to help you bide your time, some of which include:
- Hanging out at the Lawn on D so you can relax and keep your mind occupied by people-watching.
- Play tourist and walk, eat, and explore some of our amazing hot spots like The Commons, the North End, or Faneuil Hall.
- Sign up to volunteer (serving others always gets us into the best heart and mindset)
And, of course, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Fertility Solutions if you have any questions before or after embryo transfer day. We understand what a huge event this is, and we want you to feel seen, heard, and supported every step of the way.