How Embryo Transfer Is Performed

How Embryo Transfer Is Performed

Embryo Transfer

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment can be a hopeful option for many couples who want to become parents. One of the most important steps in this treatment is embryo transfer. In this article, we will look at the details of embryo transfer and focus on the key points for success.

Our topics:

  • What is embryo transfer?
  • Selection and preparation of the healthiest embryo
  • Preparation of the expectant mother for the transfer
  • Transfer process
  • Post-transfer period
  • Pregnancy Test
  • Ways to increase pregnancy success

What is embryo transfer?

Embryo transfer is one of the most important stages of IVF treatment. This is when the fertilised egg (embryo) is transferred into the uterus. This is a crucial step in achieving pregnancy.

Selecting and preparing the healthiest embryos

Before embryo transfer, the healthiest and most suitable embryos are selected from the fertilised eggs. This process involves a series of laboratory tests to assess the developmental stage and quality of the embryos. Choosing the best embryo increases the chance of pregnancy.

Embryo quality is assessed based on factors such as the cellular structure of the embryo and the rate at which it divides. A good-quality embryo usually has homogeneous cells, regular division and healthy-looking nuclei. These characteristics increase the chances of successful embryo implantation.

The laboratory carefully monitor, evaluate and report on the development of the embryos on an ongoing basis. This monitoring is used to check the healthy division and development of the embryo. Letter grades such as A, B, and C are usually used, with grade A representing the highest quality.

Laboratory testing and evaluation of embryos:

Laboratory tests play an important role in determining embryo quality. These tests help to assess the embryo's cellular health, chromosomal structure and, genetic integrity.

Methods such as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) or Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) detect chromosomal abnormalities and help to select healthy embryos.

Selecting a good-quality embryo increases the likelihood of implantation (attachment of the embryo to the uterine wall) and is the basis for a healthy pregnancy. At these stages, determining embryo quality and interpreting laboratory tests are critical to improving the success of IVF treatment. Selecting a good quality embryo increases the chances of implantation. This is the basis for a healthy pregnancy.

Preparing the future mother for the transfer

For embryo transfer, it is important to prepare the lining of the uterus so that the embryo can implant more easily. This requires special hormone treatments and ultrasound monitoring.

Embryo Transfer Process

During embryo transfer, the selected embryo(s) are placed in the mother's womb through a thin catheter. The procedure is usually painless and does not require sedation.

On the day of the embryo transfer, you should try to arrive at the clinic in a relaxed and calm state. Stress can affect the success of the transfer.

The transfer takes place in the examination room and on the gynecological table and does not usually require sedation. You will therefore be awake during the procedure.

You will be asked to lie down on the gynecological table. Your doctor will then use a special catheter to transfer the embryo into your womb.The catheter is guided through the vagina into the uterus. This process is usually painless, but in rare cases, some patients may experience a slight feeling of discomfort.

The embryo is placed into the uterus through the catheter. This is usually performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure that the embryo is positioned correctly in the uterine wall.

After the embryo transfer, you may have to lie on the examination table for a while.

It's important to remember that each patient is unique and their experiences during embryo transfer may be different. Your doctor will give you more information about the transfer procedure. Being calm and relaxed during the transfer day can make it easier to complete the procedure.

Post-embryo transfer period

Some of the symptoms you may experience during the post-embryo transfer period are

Mild cramping: It is normal for your uterus to experience some mild cramp-like pain in the period after the embryo transfer as it may be a sign that the uterus is trying to accept the embryo.

Spotting: There may be some spotting or bleeding after the transfer. This may be due to slight irritation of the cervix when the catheter is inserted. However, if you experience excessive bleeding or severe pain, you should contact your doctor.

Hormonal changes: The medications that are used during IVF treatment can cause hormonal changes. These changes can sometimes cause emotional fluctuations.

What you need to be aware of after embryo transfer

In the period after the embryo transfer, you should follow your doctor's advice about having sexual intercourse. Avoiding sexual intercourse for some time is generally recommended.

You will need to take your medication and any recommended supportive therapies on a regular basis. These can be helpful for the healthy implantation of the embryo into the wall of the uterus.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns.

The symptoms that you might experience after the transfer are usually mild and of a temporary nature. However, they can vary from person to person. It is the first step towards a healthy pregnancy; careful monitoring during this time can increase the chances of success.

Pregnancy Test

After the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test will be carried out after a certain time has passed since the transfer. This is usually between 10 and 14 days after the transfer. There are 2 types of pregnancy tests that are commonly used:

The beta hCG blood test: Beta hCG is known as the pregnancy hormone and its levels in the blood rise rapidly after the embryo has been implanted. This test determines whether you are pregnant by measuring the level of beta hCG in your blood. The beta hCG test is more sensitive than a urine test and can give results at an earlier stage. However, there are times when a single level of beta hCG is not enough to make a definitive statement about the presence of a pregnancy, and the rise or fall in these levels can be monitored.

First beta hCG test: Usually 10 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, you will have your first beta hCG test. This test will helps to confirm the pregnancy.

Second beta hCG test: If the result of the first beta hCG test is positive, a second beta hCG test will be carried out a few days later. This test is expected to show an increase in beta hCG levels. The second test result shows that the pregnancy is progressing and the embryo has implanted in the uterus. If you test every two days, you should see an increase of at least 66 percent. Increasing beta hCG levels are a promising sign that the pregnancy is going well.

Home urine test: These tests detect beta hCG levels from urine. Beta hCG tests are slightly less sensitive than blood tests. However, they are still effective in detecting pregnancy.

The choice between these tests depends on your personal preferences and your doctor's advice. Your doctor will tell you when you should have a pregnancy test and which test to use.

Ways to improve pregnancy success

A period of time when the expectant mother is physically and mentally ready can increase the success of the embryo transfer.

The following factors are important:

Healthy lifestyle and nutrition

The preparation of the female body is important for the implantation of the embryo and the reduction of miscarriages. Couples should modify their eating habits, alcohol and caffeine abuse, smoking, and treat various hormonal disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc., and infections,and exposure to toxins, several months before the starting of their efforts.

Physical activity: Regular exercise improves circulation, reduces stress, and supports hormonal balance. However, excessive exercise should be avoided as overexertion can have a negative effect on the body.

Smoking and alcohol: Smoking and drinking alcohol can affect the success of the embryo transfer. These habits should be avoided.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet: It is important to support the body with nutrients before and after embryo transfer. Nutrients such as folic acid, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids can support reproductive health.

Vitamins, trace elements, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics strengthen the body. Nutritional deficiencies lead to malfunctioning of biological processes and implantation failure.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, olive oil and, cereals, are responsible for various cellular functions, egg development and healthy embryo development. The human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so they must be consumed from food. Eating 2-3 portions of fish a week is enough to provide a protective shield of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fertility is adversely affected by trans-fatty acids, high carbohydrate, and high animal protein intake. Saturated trans-fatty acids disrupt cell membranes and implantation. It is necessary to limit the consumption of white sugar (which depletes enzymes),white flour, salt (which inhibits enzymes),and saturated and trans-fatty acids because they accelerate the aging of the cells, the deterioration of the genetic material, and, consequently, implantation failure.

Caffeine and calcium: Caffeine intake antagonizes minerals, dehydrates and increases inflammation. Excessive caffeine and high doses of calcium can interfere with embryo implantation. It is therefore important to be careful with these substances.

Adequate hydration is recommended because water builds cells, detoxifies the blood, aids circulation, oxygen and nutrient transport, and increases metabolism.

Stress Management and Supportive Treatments

Stress can affect the success of the embryo transfer. Stress management practices such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing techniques can help you to cope better with the process.

Alternative Treatment Options

Acupuncture: Some research suggests that acupuncture can enhance the success of embryo transfer. You can collaborate with a specialized acupuncture therapist.

Supplements: Certain supplements like CoQ10, DHEA, and L-arginine are believed to have positive effects on reproductive health. However, it's essential to consult your doctor before using these supplements.

Massage and reflexology: These relaxing treatments can increase blood flow to the body and reduce stress.


Embryo transfer is a critical stage of IVF treatment and it is essential that it is carried out correctly. Several factors need to be taken into account to improve the success of embryo transfer. These include the selection of a good quality embryo, the preparation of the mother, the transfer procedure, post-transfer monitoring, the waiting period and working closely with your doctor.

In this article, we've looked at the details and key points on the road to success. However, remember that every woman is unique and the treatment process is personal. Your doctor's guidance and support will be an important part of your journey. So please stay in touch with your doctor about your treatment.The aim of this article is to help you better understand the embryo transfer process and achieve the best possible results.

Update Date: 01.09.2023
Prof. Dr. Nilgün Turhan
IVF Treatment Istanbul
Prof. Dr. Nilgün Turhan
The content of the page is for informational purposes only.
Please consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment.
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