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Embryo implantation: What happens during and after?

  • Published on May 16, 2022
  • Updated on June 21, 2022
Embryo implantation: What happens during and after?

Embryo implantation is the final step that paves way for a successful pregnancy. It is a significant step for IVF, IUI and ICSI treatment. While undergoing fertility treatment, it is important to remain aware of what may and may not happen, during each step. The following article, written with insights from Dr. Shobhna, provides details of what happens during and after embryo implantation. 

However, before we begin to note the signs and symptoms of successful blastocyst implantation, let us first understand what is meant by this process.

 

What is Embryo Implantation?

For an IVF treatment, the fertility doctor begins by inducing ovulation in the female partner for the production of a higher number of healthy eggs. After tracking ovulation, he/she retrieves a certain number of healthy, mature eggs. Simultaneously, a semen sample is obtained from the male partner. This semen sample is washed and concentrated to select healthy sperm cells. 

The egg and sperm cells are allowed to combine and fertilise in a Petri dish in a carefully monitored environment. This results in the formation of embryos. 

The resultant embryos are allowed to develop till the blastocyst stage (till 5-6 days) before they are implanted into the uterus. 

Embryo implantation is done by a fertility doctor through transvaginal ultrasound. In an embryo transfer, the doctor inserts a speculum in the woman’s vagina guided by real-time ultrasound. This speculum is made to pass through the cervix and into the womb to allow for implantation.

Points to note about embryo implantation 

  • Embryo transfer is performed at the blastocyst stage so that the embryo attains the right receptivity with the endometrial lining 
  • Embryo implantation usually occurs after 6-10 days of egg retrieval 
  • The attachment and invasion of the embryo begin within one day of embryo transfer 
  • The implantation rate for embryos depends on the age of the female and chromosomal screening and associated risks

 

Read more about IVF process in hindi

What happens during Embryo Implantation?

The process of embryo implantation is divided into three main phases which explain what happens after embryo transfer day by day:

  • Apposition phase 
  • Attachment or adhesion phase
  • Penetration or invasion phase

The apposition phase is defined as the unstable adhesion phase in which the blastocyst embryo sticks to the surface of the uterine lining. 

In the attachment phases, stable adhesion occurs, and the embryo and uterine lining signal back and forth. 

The penetration phase or invasion phase involves the invasion of the embryonic cells through the surface of the uterine lining into the stroma of the uterine lining leading to the formation of a vascular connection. 

The entire process of implantation completes in 7-12 days after conception. The embryo then begins to divide and develops into a zygote. Post this, the zygote releases a hormone called the HCG that is used to determine pregnancy. 

 

What happens after embryo implantation?

Successful embryo implantation determines whether the pregnancy is confirmed or not. The same is reflected by a range of common signs and symptoms. 

Symptoms of successful embryo implantation include:

  • Abdominal cramping – You can expect to feel slight cramps in your abdominal region. Cramping is commonly felt during implantation. 
  • Mild spotting – Slight vaginal bleeding in the form of spotting is a common sign of successful blastocyst implantation. 
  • Discomfort in the breast – Breast tenderness is a common early sign of pregnancy. You can expect to feel light swelling in your breast along with tenderness. 
  • Food cravings and aversions – After successful implantation, you may feel attracted towards certain types of food items with an enhanced craving. On the other hand, it is also possible to feel slight food aversions. 
  • Temperature changes in the body – Early signs of pregnancy include a slight jump in your body temperature which is caused by increased levels of progesterone. 
  • Changes in vaginal discharge – Successful embryo implantation can lead to a brown-tinted vaginal discharge after 1-2 days of the implant happening. 

 

The Concluding Note 

It is important to learn about the process of implantation and signs of positive implantation for all couples, especially the ones who are seeking fertility treatments. This information helps you remain aware of what to expect in the coming time and have a positive approach or seek timely treatment. 

For more information on embryo implantation, book an appointment with Dr. Shobhna at Birla Fertility & IVF. 

Written by:
Dr. Shobhna

Dr. Shobhna

Dr Shobhna is an experienced reproductive health specialist, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with a forte in treating fertility-related concerns in subfertile couples by individualized patient-centric approach. Her area of expertise is treating Recurrent IVF failure, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, PCOS, Endometriosis and Uterine anomalies. Dr Shobhna is specialized in advanced Laparoscopic and Hysteroscopic surgery for various Gynaecological conditions. She is adept in performing various major Gynaecological surgeries such as Total Abdominal Hysterectomy, Vaginal Hysterectomy, NDVH, TOT (Transobturator tape), Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation and Laparoscopic Salpingectomy. Her dexterity also lies in procedures such as suction evacuation, endometrial sampling, IUCD insertion, Colposcopy, LEEP (Loop electrosurgical excision procedure) and cryotherapy (Chronic cervicitis).

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