By Michalis Kyriakidis, MD, MSc. Gynecologist in Assisted Reproduction, Head Doctor of International Dpt, Embryolab Fertility Clinic
The transfer and uterine placement of an embryo is one of the most critical steps of an IVF round, as this procedure encloses the efforts of the couple as well as the medical team. Τhe time leading to this moment as well the time that follows is equally important and requires commitment and energy.
The preparation cycle is important to ensure the receptivity of the endometrium. Despite the numerous studies, the most optimal priming protocol is still a matter of debate. Evidence suggest that a minimum set of criteria needs to be met in order to proceed to an embryo transfer and aim for the highest implantation rates. The final decision of your doctor will depend on uterine anatomical characteristics and hormonal environment at the time of transfer.
In order to maximize success rates, a holistic approach of the embryo transfer may be considered
This attempt has included acupuncture, analgesics, anesthesia, massage, traditional Chinese medicine and prophylactic antibiotics. Although there is no clear evidence to support the introduction of these interventions around the period of embryotransfer, they provide some theoretical benefits. Some include modulating hormones, altering energy flow throughout the body, enhancing blood flow to the uterus, reducing stress and reducing microbial colonization of the genital tract.
The actual procedure of placing an embryo inside the uterine cavity is painless and patient -friendly
Yet, this requires preparation on the part of the doctor and the laboratory as optimal handling of the embryo is imperative for the success of IVF.
Your doctor will prepare the passage of the embryo-catheter by placing a vaginal speculum and cleaning the area of the outer cervix. The appropriate type of catheter should be chosen depending on the anatomical characteristics of the area. While this happens, the embryologist is preparing the embryos. It is important that the doctor positions the catheter carefully in order to avoid injury of the area. Indeed, there is fair evidence that embryo-catheter placement can affect implantation and pregnancy rates. The whole procedure is guided by ultrasound to ensure that it is uneventful. The duration of an embryotransfer maybe short but its significance is great. And remember that, once the transfer is completed, you don’t need to remain in bed. Immediate ambulation is actually recommended.
After the embryo transfer, support of the luteal phase and the endometrium is crucial for the success of your effort
Progesterone is administrated in different forms to assist the uterine lining during the implantation of the embryo and the early stages of pregnancy. There is a wealth of data on the efficacy of different routes of progesterone from which your doctor can choose and design the proper approach for your needs.
(Recently, Embryolab Clinic and Embryolab Academy have successfully hosted a workshop dedicated on the subtle procedure of embryo transfer. Guided by our two-decade experience in the field of IVF and our will to transmit our knowledge, several doctors from around the world were educated and trained in a controlled and friendly environment.)
The day of embryo transfer represents the completion of your journey in IVF. Proper education and experience of your medical team on this special procedure will maximize your chances to start your next journey to pregnancy.
Dr Michalis Kyriakidis answers your questions: