Preparing for embryo transfer
Most women who are undergoing IVF cycles want to know if there is anything they can do to improve their chances of a successful pregnancy. So here are our suggestions of what you can do on the day of embryo transfer to prepare yourself both physically and emotionally.
I know no one wants to hear this one as you’ve heard it a thousand times before but I’m just talking about simple ways to make the day go as smoothly as possible. These include knowing where you’re going, and allowing enough time for traffic and parking so that you’re as calm as possible prior to the transfer. If it’s too difficult for your partner to come with you take another family member or friend or just enjoy a bit of time by yourself. If it’s convenient take the day off work and go home to relax for the rest of the day. If you do have to go back to work try to keep yourself warm, where possible don’t schedule stressful meetings for the day and try to leave on time and enjoy a relaxing evening at home.
As an acupuncturist I’m a big fan of having an acupuncture treatment on the day of an embryo transfer. But I still adhere to the point above to keep stress to a minimum so if your acupuncturist to too difficult to get to on the day talk to them about other possible days in which treatment can help. There is no point rushing between appointments and feeling anxious about it. If possible though, try to have the acupuncture treatments before and after your embryo transfer. Click here for more information on embryo transfer acupuncture.
Some of the IVF clinics recommend you have sex the night prior to or the morning of embryo transfer. Studies have shown that exposure to semen is important for normal embryo development and implantation. Whilst the one big study I found did not find increased live birth rates it did find an increase in pregnancy rates at 6 to 8 weeks which indicated the presence of semen assisted with embryo development and implantation. The study also found that intercourse at this time it definitely isn’t harmful to the embryo or chances of a successful pregnancy.
In Chinese medicine we love warmth and think it’s very important for those trying to get pregnant. Simple ways to keep warm are keeping your socks on, eating warm foods like soups and stews and warm drinks, like tea. Following transfer it’s recommended you don’t apply heat packs or other heat devices to your abdomen so the embryo doesn’t become overheated.
There is no evidence that bed rest post transfer will increase pregnancy rates but if you feel like spending the day curled up on the couch that’s just fine. Gentle activity is good to keep the blood flowing and the mind calm so a gentle walk is fine if you feel like it.