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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Positive Signs of an Embryo Transfer: What to Expect

  • Published on March 02, 2024
Positive Signs of an Embryo Transfer: What to Expect

Nearly 3 million couples in India actively seek fertility treatments. While Assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments are effective and give hope to couples, they can also be challenging. The wide array of these treatments and their effects can create a lot of confusion for the patients. One such segment of the treatments is embryo transfer.

Embryo transfer, briefly put, is the process of implanting a fresh or frozen embryo resulting from fertilisation of the eggs and sperm retrieved from respective partners.

It is an important step in any fertility treatment where conception is the primary goal. However, like with any course of action, embryo transfer can also have positive or negative impacts affecting your chances of a healthy pregnancy. 

In this article, we will study about the positive signs after embryo transfer. Let’s get started by learning about the process of embryo transfer.

What is an Embryo Transfer?

In an ideal IVF treatment, certain hormonal drugs are given to the female partner to stimulate ovulation. Once ovulation is induced, healthy and mature eggs are retrieved. Simultaneously, a semen sample is also collected from the male partner. This semen sample is washed and concentrated to aspirate healthy sperm cells.

The mature eggs and sperm are then combined and allowed to fertilise in a Petri dish in a carefully monitored environment at an IVF lab. The resulting embryo is allowed to develop 5-6 days after fertilisation.

Embryo transfer is the last step of an IVF cycle. In this step, your fertility doctor identifies and selects a healthy embryo and implants it in the lining of the uterus.

Most times, an IVF cycle results in the creation of multiple embryos. There are, hence, two types of embryo transfers – fresh embryo transfer and frozen embryo transfer.

A fresh embryo transfer is when the resulting embryo is transferred after 4-5 days of retrieval. A frozen embryo transfer is one in which the embryo has been previously created and preserved for future pregnancies. When multiple embryos are created in fertilisation, patients have the choice to freeze extra embryos for future pregnancies.

Signs After Embryo Transfer

An IVF pregnancy test is usually done after a 2-week wait from an embryo transfer. This wait can be exhausting for some and take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Hence, understanding the symptoms that are occurring in these two weeks is important.

Based on the success and failure of the implantation, you are likely to experience varying signs of an embryo transfer.

Is It Normal To Have No Symptoms After an Embryo Transfer?

Yes, it is very normal to not have any symptoms after an embryo transfer. Every person’s body is different and how the treatment responds to every individual’s body will also differ. So, it is common for a woman to have zero symptoms after the embryo transfer and still have a positive pregnancy. This is because many symptoms appear due to the presence of estrogen and progesterone intake in the form of supplements that are given to the patient during the IVF treatment. Some patients do not see any symptoms even after waiting for 2 whole weeks. In conclusion, a positive pregnancy test is the only surefire way to determine whether your embryo transfer was successful.

Positive Signs after Embryo Transfer

A positive embryo transfer indicates a successful conception meaning that your pregnancy has started. Hence, signs of a positive embryo transfer are somewhat the same as the early signs of pregnancy. After an embryo is implanted in the uterus and pregnancy is induced, one can expect to experience changes in the body. Here are a few signs that indicate embryo transfer has been successful:

  • Pelvic pain and discomfort – You will experience mild to moderate discomfort and cramping in your stomach, pelvis and lower back. These are known as implantation cramping. These symptoms may be similar to menstrual cramps.
  • Sore and swollen breasts – You can expect certain changes in the areola and nipple area of your breasts. Most women experience some amount of swelling and breast soreness.
  • Fatigue – It is common to feel tired and drowsy throughout the pregnancy. However, you may feel extra tired after an embryo transfer due to the changes in hormonal levels. You will have high levels of tiredness or sleepiness, especially after eating a meal.
  • Nausea and vomiting – In the later stages of an embryo transfer, you can experience slight levels of nausea and even vomiting. Popularly known as morning sickness, these symptoms are usually seen in the early days of pregnancy.
  • Food aversions – After a successful embryo transfer, it is normal to have aversions to certain food items and smells. 
  • Changes in vaginal discharge – A positive embryo transfer can lead to an increased vaginal discharge due to changes in your hormonal levels. The excess amount of vaginal discharge helps maintain an optimal state for the endometrium for implantation.
  • Spotting or light bleeding – Sometimes, you may also experience light spotting halfway (7 days) through the two weeks. It is known as implantation bleeding.
  • Increased urge to urinate – hCG pregnancy hormones are injected during the IVF cycle. These hormones can cause frequent urination in women. An increased urge to urinate is also a symptom of pregnancy.
  • Missed period – Missing your periods after an embryo transfer is a sign of implantation success and highlights that the pregnancy is initiated.
  • No symptoms – It is also possible for some women to experience no signs of a frozen embryo transfer. Having no symptoms does not mean that your embryo transfer has failed.

Primarily, an absence of the above-given positive signs highlights implantation failure. Please note the above symptoms sometimes also appear due to the hormonal drugs used in the IVF cycle.

Nonetheless, you should consult your fertility doctor to understand the success or failure of your embryo transfer procedure. This is because a diagnostic pregnancy test is the only reliable measure to establish the results of your embryo transfer.

Pregnancy Test After an Embryo Transfer

Following an embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is usually conducted to assess the procedure’s success. But the test’s timing is really important. Waiting 10–14 days following the transfer is crucial because testing too soon could provide false positives.

The test frequently determines the blood or urine’s beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. An embryo is implanted in the uterine lining if hCG is discovered, which is an important developmental stage in the early stages of pregnancy. The exact time of the test is determined by the protocol of the IVF facility; nevertheless, it is typically performed a few days following the anticipated window for implantation.

While a positive result should be celebrated, more testing and ultrasounds are necessary for confirmation. While a negative outcome can be disheartening, it’s important to keep in mind that IVF success rates can differ and that trying again with more cycles might be necessary to conceive. In either scenario, seeking advice from an infertility professional is imperative.

Conclusion

Embryo transfer success is an important milestone in your IVF treatment. If the embryo transfer is successful, you are likely to feel a range of positive signs and symptoms which are explained in the article. However, it is always advisable that you consult your fertility doctor and gain a better understanding of the process and to understand the positive signs after embryo transfer. If you are looking for effective IVF treatment, consult our fertility expert today. To book an appointment you can either give us a call at the mentioned number or fill in the required details in the given form and our medical counsellor will call you shortly with all the necessary information.

FAQs

  • How soon after embryo transfer do you feel symptoms?

You can expect to feel symptoms after nearly 2 weeks of an embryo transfer. 

  • How can you tell if your embryo has been implanted?

Positive signs after embryo transfer include light spotting, abdominal cramps or pain, nausea, sore breasts, headaches, and mood swings.

  • How do you know when implantation has failed?

The following negative signs of embryo transfer occur after failed implantation – changes in the tendency to smell, breast tenderness, and abdominal cramping.

  • How does the embryo get nourishment inside the mother’s body?

The embryo derives its nourishment from the mother’s body through the placenta.

  • When do pregnancy symptoms start?

The onset of pregnancy symptoms usually occurs 6–8 weeks following the last menstrual cycle. Fatigue, breast discomfort, and moderate nausea are some of early symptoms. But each woman experiences symptoms at a different time and with varying intensity.

  • Can I take precautions to increase the success chance of the embryo transfer?

Indeed, there are steps you may take to increase the likelihood that an embryo transfer will succeed. These include leading a healthy lifestyle, controlling your stress, listening to your doctor, and taking prescription drugs as instructed. Maintaining proper hydration, getting enough sleep, and avoiding undue physical stress can all help to improve the result.

  • What are the factors that affect IVF success?

Multiple factors can affect the success of embryo transfer, some of them are:

  • Quality of the embryo 
  • Uterine health
  • No. of eggs retrieved
  • Quality and quantity of sperm cells
  • Age of the female partner
Written by:
Dr. Apeksha Sahu

Dr. Apeksha Sahu

Consultant
Dr. Apeksha Sahu, is a reputed fertility specialist with 12 years of experience. She excels in advanced laparoscopic surgeries and tailoring IVF protocols to address a wide range of women’s fertility care needs. Her expertise spans the management of female reproductive disorders, including infertility, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, PCOS, alongside high-risk pregnancies and gynaecological oncology.
Ranchi, Jharkhand

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