After Embryo Transfer: The 9-11 Day Wait

What happens after embryo transfer?

Couples and individuals pursing fertility treatments, especially IVF, need to prepare for comprehensive testing, numerous appointments and multiple steps. At ArkLaTex Fertility, David T. Vandermolen MD, MS, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor, and our entire team stand ready to support our patients throughout this process. When your IVF cycle ends, the phase after embryo transfer, commonly referred to as the two-week wait (two weeks after oocyte retrieval, 9-11 days after a day five or day 3 transfer), often produces hopefulness tinged with some uneasiness and anxiety.

What to expect after embryo transfer

The embryo transfer process is an important milestone in the IVF process. For the transfer, we will administer a mild sedative. During the outpatient procedure, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor will insert a catheter into the vagina and through the cervix so that he can deposit the embryo into the uterus. We monitor our patients immediately after embryo transfer and then have them return home, continuing to rest for the remainder of the day. While Dr. Vandermolen recommends relaxing the day of the embryo transfer, we advise patients to restart their normal routines, including light exercise, within 24 to 36 hours.

During this time, you should avoid strenuous activities, excessive stress and extreme heat like hot tubs and saunas. Normally, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor will prescribe progesterone, and possibly estrogen, supplements to offer additional support to a potential pregnancy.

How to handle the post embryo transfer wait

The final IVF phase, referred to as the luteal phase, is the time after oocyte retrieval in fresh transfer cycles and after embryo transfer in frozen thaw embryo transfer cycles and before the pregnancy test. After embryo transfer, patients may feel fraught with nervous anticipation. Mild cramping, light spotting, bloating, fatigue and breast tenderness are common, so don’t feel alarmed if you develop these symptoms.

To make the waiting more bearable and maintain your sanity, Dr. Vandermolen has several suggestions to help you get through the two-week wait.

  • Eat a balanced diet and take your prenatal vitamins
  • Distract yourself with hobbies and fun activities
  • Practice relaxation techniques to lower stress
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings while you wait
  • Resist the urge to take a home pregnancy test

With assistance from the ArkLaTex Fertility team, our patients can create the families they desire. Treatment options such as IVF enable us to make parenthood a beautiful reality for those struggling with infertility. Contact our office with any questions about what to expect after embryo transfer or to schedule an appointment with our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor.