woman smiling preparing for frozen embryo transfer

Preparing for a Successful Frozen Embryo Transfer

Transfer day is one of the most exciting dates on the IVF timeline. Whether you’ve already experienced IVF in the past, participated in frozen embryo transfer (FET) due to PGT testing, or are intentionally scheduling your pregnancy for specific time of year, there’s an advantage to using frozen embryos.

Data from fertility clinics worldwide show us that women participating in FET have higher overall conception rates, increased implantation rates, and fewer miscarriages. Even so, there are things you can do to better prepare for a successful embryo transfer.

Steps to Support Positive FET Outcome

While there is nothing you can do to ensure 100% IVF success, there are things you can do to optimize your chances. Here are the main steps we encourage you to take as you get closer to your FET appointment.

1. Keep making those healthy lifestyle choices

Your body’s health, including managing existing diagnoses and reducing overall inflammation, is foundational to fertility health. So continue making all of those healthy lifestyle choices you’ve focused on to prepare your body for pregnancy.

This includes honoring a pre-pregnancy diet (eat as if you’re already pregnant, forgoing anything that could threaten your baby’s well-being), taking physician-approved supplements, and honoring the FDA’s recommended daily allowance of folic acid. The goal is to amply nourish the body that will independently nourish your future baby.

2. Take prescribed fertility medications on time

Most patients using frozen embryos use birth control pills or a similar hormonal regulator to sync their body’s for the most receptive window for implantation (Day 5 after ovulation). To increase your body’s receptivity, we may also prescribe additional estrogen and progesterone medications. Make sure to take them as directed without missing a dose.

If your physician recommends bed rest, have your nightstand set up to accommodate all of your prescriptions and plenty of water to minimize your need to get up. Also, keep a trashcan nearby since all of those pill packets generate their fair share of waste.

NOTE: Bed rest is only recommended in rare situations related to a patient’s medical history. Lying down does not have any positive effect on implantation. Instead, being too sedentary raises your risk of developing blood clots. Instead, take it easy for a day or two afterward but feel free to resume mild to moderate exercise as it benefits your overall health and well-being.

3. Read the literature and watch our videos

Your fertility center understands that reading and remembering words on paper is not all that easy when you’re a bundle of mixed emotions. We do everything we can to prepare you for the IVF embryo transfer process, letting you know exactly what to expect. Read the literature we provide more than once, and never be afraid to ask questions. 

Ultimately, the transfer day process looks something like this:

  1. Take the prescribed sedative as directed to help relax you for the FET procedure (that means you’ll need a ride home!). And don’t forget your fuzzy, soft socks – a tradition rooted in Chinese medicine to increase warm blood flow to the uterus.
  2. Arrive on time with a full bladder, which aids ultrasound imaging.
  3. Once you’re checked in and, in the office, you’ll lie down on the table with a warm blanket, and we’ll review everything that’s about to take place. Ask as many questions as you want before we get started.
  4. The embryo transfer process is about as straightforward as can be. When you’re comfortably lying down, and your feet are in position, we’ll use the ultrasound wand on your belly. The ultrasound wand allows us all to see the reproductive tract for accurate embryo placement. We’ll ensure you can see the monitor along with us.
  5. Then, we insert a small tube (catheter) into your vagina and through the cervix, creating a direct track to the interior of your uterus.  Once the catheters are in place, the embryologist confirms the number of embryos being transferred (decided upon beforehand depending on your diagnosis and treatment history). 
  6. The embryo(s) is transferred with a small amount of air and fluid to keep it moving through the catheter. While the embryo is too small to see on the screen, we can see a quick “flash” when the embryo and medium makes their way into the uterus.

Once the transfer is complete, we’ll spend time celebrating the moment and reminding you of your medication prescriptions and any further instructions for the next two weeks. Now, your job is to return home and take it easy. 

Set Yourself Up for the TWW

The two-week (TWW) is notorious. It’s both exciting and grueling as you wait for the final word on whether you’re pregnant or not. The better prepared you are for the TWW, the more peacefully you’ll make it to the other side. 

  • Keep busy but not overly busy
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Occupy your mind by reading, watching favorite movies and shows, or getting absorbed in the workday
  • Try to minimize worry and anxiety about the outcome (easier said than done, we know)
  • Practice self-care

NCFMC Is Here for You

Have questions or concerns about your upcoming frozen embryo transfer process? Or, are you learning all you can about fertility treatments as you look ahead to starting a family? Either way, Northern California Fertility Medical Center is here for you. Contact us anytime to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation.

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