How To Prepare for an Embryo Transfer Day
Arguably the most anticipated day in the surrogacy process, second only to delivery day!
Also a day of anxiousness and nerves as the Intended Parents hopes and dreams ride on this embryo transfer process and growing in the uterus of their chosen gestational surrogate. The embryo transfer procedure can be stressful, but there are some fun tips to help the actual transfer go smoothly.
Other then your doctor and your body, implanting is something that you have little control over. So in the spirit of good luck and in an effort to decrease stress and anxiety, some rituals that are said to bring good vibes and good luck to transfer day have developed. Whether or not these “traditions” are proven to work or increase the odds of a successful transfer are debatable – it’s surely a great way to ease the nerves and channel the positive energy!
1. Lucky Socks
Since socks are usually the only item of clothing you can keep on during a medical procedure, surrogates have adopted this tradition. Wearing green because it’s the color luck – or orange and yellow socks representing fertility in some cultures. Pineapple socks also seem to be a popular choice given that pineapple is an icon for IVF and Infertility. Old Chinese saying “ Warm feet increase the chance of a warm and welcoming uterus.” Many gestational surrogates even choose to get matching lucky socks for their Intended Mother. Here’s a cute pair from SurroSister Design on Etsy!
2. “Sticky Thoughts or Sticky Vibes”
This is a surrogate’s way of saying Good Luck! The phase comes from the idea that a thicker uterus lining will increase the odds of an embryo implanting and “sticking.” Think of it as embryo glue for your surrogacy journey.
Why Pineapple? The core of a pineapple contains Bromelain, which has inflammatory properties. Since implantation or transfer can irritate the uterus – this is seen as a benefit in decreasing implantation issues. There is much debate on how much or even when to consume but many surrogate eat pineapple on transfer day, and the few days following, to hopefully increase their odds at a positive pregnancy test.
4. McDonald’s French Fries
French fries are usually something your doctor warns to stay away from to be a healthy surrogate. However, doctors usually recommend an increase in sodium and protein to reduce the chance of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) in Egg Donors. So this tradition likely bridged the gap to Surrogates as well. And honestly, I’m not sure anyone would turn down fresh fries – no matter how much benefit they actually carry in the fertilization process! You can even purchase a gift card prior to the big day as a little gift!
Searching surrogate groups and the community at large will also yield more traditions, since everyone has different embryo transfer experiences. Whether you believe in superstition or consider yourself lucky – these traditions can be a fun way to relieve nervousness, ease anxiety and connect with your set of Intended Parents!
Are There Side Effects After Transfer?
The embryo transfer procedure is relatively quick and your IVF clinic will provide detailed instructions on what to bring, and what to expect on the day of the medical procedure.The doctor will have you rest for about 5 minutes after the embryo transfer procedure.
The recovery will be different for every surrogate and every doctor has their own protocol. Generally speaking, surrogates do not have any down time after the transfer. Most even go out for lunch and spend time with their Intended Parents afterwards to soak in the important day in their surrogacy journey. Some clinics may require bedrest and others may simply recommend taking it easy. Either way, this is the time to load up on the pineapple and french fries!
While the procedure itself does not hurt, you may feel some cramping. If you experience heavy vaginal bleeding, blood in your urine, or a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above you should call your doctor right away.
Interested in learning more about the IVF process in general? Visit our IVF Process info page!
Fresh Embryos vs Frozen Embryo Transfer
A fresh embryo transfer is scheduled before the embryos are frozen for storage and a frozen embryo transfer uses embryos that have already been in storage. Often, frozen embryos will be thawed and develop a bit longer before the transfer takes place. If your Intended Parents have chosen to have their embryos PGT-A tested, it is not possible to have a fresh embryo transfer because embryo freezing is required. In either instance the IVF clinic will choose the highest quality embryo for the first attempt at the embryo transfer procedure.
Singe Embryo Transfer (SET) vs Dual Embryo Transfer (DET)
Most doctors will choose to transfer one embryo per transfer attempt, known as a single embryo transfer. The typical success rates for SET are around 85% for a positive pregnancy rate. A DET comes with risks for a twin pregnancy, or even triplets. A pregnancy with multiples comes with risks for both the surrogate and the unborn babies including: pre-term labor, pre-term delivery, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Because fertility clinics are so successful with a single embryo transfer, it is strongly advised to use this method. If first or second transfers are not successful, a doctor may suggest DET in a subsequent embryo transfer to increase the chance of pregnancy when the viable embryos are not considered a high quality embryo. Read more about this topic on our blog!
Testing for Successful Pregnancy
You will have blood work drawn to check your HCG levels (pregnancy hormone) approximately two weeks after the embryo transfer appointment. If your labs show a positive indication of pregnancy, you will return for the pregnancy blood test 2 days later. At the second appointment, the doctor will be looking for your HCG levels to at least double indicating a strong pregnancy.
You and your Intended Parents may have spoken about testing at home prior to the blood pregnancy test. If this is the case, some surrogates will take a home test as early as 5 days after the embryo transfer process. If you don’t see a positive test this early, don’t panic! This does not mean that you do not have a likelihood of pregnancy. In only means that the little embryo just may need another few days to grow.
Ready to Begin Your Surrogacy Journey?
Are you interested in seeing if you qualify to become a gestational surrogate? Take our quick 5 minute quiz to see if you qualify and start your journey today! Surrogates can earn up to $55,000 in compensation while helping change the lives for someone else!
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