Aside from delivery day, one of the highlights of your surrogacy journey is the long awaited embryo transfer day. Family Makers gestational surrogate, Ashley, shares her thoughts and tips on the embryo transfer process!
9:08am on April 16th – I’m driving back from an early morning bloodwork appointment as I hear the MyChart notification sound from my phone and I know it’s my results. They’re back from the lab and my transfer date all rides on this number, and how it will affect our chance of success. A rush of emotions surges through me from excitement, to hesitation, to fear. I fight the urge to pull over, but ultimately convince myself to wait 5 minutes longer until I reach my driveway.
As I unlock my phone, every fiber of my being clings to the hope of seeing a number below 1. My phone loads – 0.41. No sooner do I see the results, my phone rings – the fertility clinic. The fertility clinic is calling to confirm Transfer Day is officially 5 days away! Another rush of emotions as I call my Intended Mother. She answers after just one ring and we both let out a squeal of pure elation – no words are necessary as we instinctively know what each other is thinking and feeling in that moment. We are headed to the embryo transfer appointment.
Excitement first, that in just 5 short days I could be carrying a child they’ve hoped, dreamed and waited years for. Hesitation because I want to do everything I can to ensure that this embryo implants and there is a healthy transfer. And lastly, fear – that despite everyone’s best efforts transfer might not be successful. Luck also creeps into my mind at this moment and along with it, all of the rituals for increasing your odds on Transfer Day.
Yes, some of the rituals carry proof of increasing the likelihood that the embryo implants – but many of these rituals are based on superstition and whether you believe in luck. Honestly, in my eyes these rituals were part of the bigger embryo transfer experience. I was game for trying them all, especially considering I didn’t know what the rest of the journey would hold. And increasing our odds – why not?
The first ritual took place weeks before the actual transfer. I received a package in the mailbox addressed to me, as I wasn’t expecting anything this took me by total surprise. I tear open the package to find a knitted hat that looks like a pineapple. A smile immediately comes to my face. The package is from my Intended Mom with a handwritten note stating how she bought 2 matching hats for Transfer Day but thought it would be fun to enjoy in the meantime. It’s no secret that the icon for infertility is the pineapple so these hats were not only fitting and fun but also a symbol of the process and the strength it takes to brave this journey.
Lucky Socks…yep, socks – based on the Chinese medicine saying that “warm feet equal a warm, welcoming uterus!” I packed my green socks just for Transfer Day but again my Intended Parents had the bases covered. I arrived at the hotel to find a basket packed with goodies – including a pair of pineapple socks. How fitting! I remember sitting in the hospital bed before being taken back for transfer. The nurse came in with some foot booties and instructed me that to slip them on, over my socks. I said “Oh good because I’m not taking off my socks!” She looked at me, giggled and said “Don’t worry, I know all about the tradition!”
The 3rd ritual that I tried was pineapple itself! Pineapple contains Bromelain and taken on an empty stomach, it acts as an anti-inflammatory which is said to help the embryo implant. Here’s the kicker – the part that contains the highest amount of the enzyme? The core! So first thing in the morning before transfer, I made sure I had some on hand and ate chunks that also contained the core. To be honest, it wasn’t as hard to chew as I anticipated and tastes the same as the pineapple itself!
The last, final and arguably the most indulgent – French fries. You heard that right. Listen, anything that encourages me to eat French fries – sign me up! The explanation behind this? This is actually something that originated in egg retrieval as sodium is said to help absorb the extra fluid – but it bridged the gap to IVF and I’m not arguing! So on the drive home from embryo transfer, I kept a look out for a McDonalds and forced my husband to make a stop – you know, all in the name of luck! Wink, wink!
So with all these rituals or superstitions – did the transfer procedure work? In our case, it did as 11 days later, I received our positive pregnancy results. I went on to have a successful pregnancy, carry and deliver a healthy baby to one set of very deserving parents. Whether these rituals helped will always be up for debate – but never the less, they were fun and definitely relieved some of the stress that surrounds Transfer Day!