Embryo transfer is a simple procedure, where the embryo is transferred into a woman’s uterus using a catheter. This procedure is the final step of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), where the egg is injected with the sperm to form an embryo after fertilization. The purpose of embryo transfer is to facilitate conception once an embryo is made.
Once a doctor performs an embryo transfer, the most common concern of the couple is for how long should the woman rest for.
A simple answer to this is ‘no bed rest is required’, now some people are of the opinion that bed rest means resting till the pregnancy test date that is for 2 weeks while others think it’s for a day or two. According to studies, even half an hour rest after an embryo transfer is considered enough, but this is not accepted by a number of doctors who perform embryo transfer.
Hence, currently there is no such documented evidence to prove whether bed rest or continuing normal activities after the procedure will make a difference in the outcome.
When the embryo(s) are transferred there is not much a couple can do that would affect the outcome of the transfer. Hence any advice given by the doctors is according to the physical and mental state of the patient.
Some couples prefer resting for a few days for their own satisfaction, however others give priority to returning to normal activities after the transfer. In both cases, again it’s the couple’s choice as well as the mental and physical state of the woman. So your doctor may ask you to rest for at least twenty-four hours and others may suggest you to resume to normal activities as soon as possible depending on your condition and preferred choices. For example some women are professionals and have to resume to their job after the procedure, in such cases the doctors would not ask her to take any further days off unnecessarily. Some women want to keep themselves busy so they don’t think too much and worry about the outcome of their IVF treatment, while others cherish this time and like to think about the embryo that has been transferred.
Lastly, again conception is a natural event and there is not much impact of physical activity on conception and embryo implantation.
And it primarily depends on the genetic quality of eggs.
Having discussed this there are still a few things we tell our patients after an embryo transfer, these dos and don’ts include;
- Lift heavy objects
- Perform excessive exercises, mild walk and gentle movement is acceptable
- Consume too much caffeine
- Perform intercourse
- Go for hot baths, it’s better to stick to showers till the pregnancy test, hot environment may damage the transferred embryo
- Discuss your IVF procedure with those who have had a bad experience, it will only give you negative energy and increase your anxiety level.
- Talk to your husband/partner and share what you feel
- Get support from your family and loved ones
- Things that makes you happy, be it a hobby, listening to music or any other activity
- Stay calm and relax
- If you want to offer namaz, sit on a chair and pray
- Think before resuming work, if it’s a hectic job then try avoiding it, if it involves a lot of travelling then also consider not resuming immediately.
Consult your doctor immediately if you face any difficulties coping up with the anxiety of embryo transfer, be it before or after the procedure. Or if you don’t find answers to the questions that may come to your mind.
By- Dr. Alvina Arslan Meer
ART Coordinator (MBBS) and Online Counselor