Thursday, February 18, 2010

What precautions do I need to take after an embryo transfer ?

8 cell stage, prior to morula formationImage via Wikipedia

Most patients are very excited when they reach the stage of embryo transfer. This is a major milestone in their IVF treatment, and the fact that they have made embryos provides them with a lot of hope that their chances of having a baby are high. After all, this proves that their sperm and eggs work properly and that the doctor is doing a good job ! Now all the embryo has to do is to stick - and shouldn't that be automatic ? After all, it is a natural process which happens all the time !

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that not every embryo become a baby. Human reproduction is not an efficient enterprise - whether it is in vivo or in vitro !

Many patients are petrified that they will do something wrong which will cause their embryo to "fall out " ! They worry about what precautions they need to take - and even if they don't, lots of their friend, relatives and well-wishers will have lots of well-meaning ( but completely wrong !) advise about what they need to do !

What can I eat , doctor ? Are any foods too hot ? or cold ? Can I have a hot water bath ? a shower ? a swim ? sex ? Will the embryo fall out if I go through a pot hole ? Can I take a pain killer if I have a headache ? Can I dye my hair ?

Remember that the embryo transfer procedure is a short 30 second procedure in which the doctor mechanically pushes the embryos into the uterus with the help of a fine plastic catheter. However , implantation is a biological process which we cannot control. Just because we have transferred the embryo artificially into the uterus does not influence implantation – this is a natural process which occurs as it normally would !

After all, what special care do women take after having sex in their bedroom ? The embryo does not care whether it reached the uterus after normal sex - or after spending 3 days in the IVF lab incubator ! There's no need to change your normal lifestyle just because you've had an embryo transfer !

Unfortunately, when the embryos do not implant, patients blame themselves unnecessarily for this failure. And there are lots of nosey-parkers who will claim that the cycle failed because the patient did not take "strict bed rest" after the transfer !

The fact is that no special precautions are needed after the embryo transfer - the human body has been designed with enough sense that the embryos are safe and secure in the uterus. All you need to do is to use your common sense - and not do anything which you will regret later on !

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