Embryo transfer is a very simple and painless procedure and requires no anaesthesia. In our Unit, the couple and the doctor decide together on the number of embryos to be transferred, weighing the severity of a multiple pregnancy, to the possibility of failure to achieve pregnancy if a single embryo is implanted. Up to three embryos are transferred in women under 40 and up to four in women over 40 years old. Transfer of the above-mentioned number of embryos results in relatively high pregnancy rates whereas the cases of multiple pregnancies remain low.
The embryos in the culture medium are transferred in the endometrial cavity through the cervical canal with a soft embryo transfer catheter and the use of ultrasound scan. The catheter is then removed and checked to ensure that all the embryos are transferred. The patient remains supine for around one hour.
After the embryo transfer
The woman is then advised to refrain from intense physical action for the next couple of days whereas, for the next 14 days she must receive progesterone in the form of vaginal tablets, gel or intramuscular injections. Progesterone helps the maturation of the endometrium for the implantation to be successful and can be administered up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Low dose steroids or anti-inflammatory preparations are administered for a brief period of time to avoid immune reaction. The first pregnancy test is usually performed around day 14 following implantation. If the test is positive, an ultrasound is performed to confirm the existence of one or more gestational sacs and embryo cardiac pulses. If all the above are confirmed, the woman can return to her gynaecologist for follow-up.