Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Embryo Transfer vs Embryo Implantation - The Facts

Even though Embryo Transfer and Embryo Implantation are entirely different, many IVF patients are often confused between the two. The former is a medical procedure wherein the embryo is transferred to your uterus using a hollow, plastic tube called an embryo transfer catheter. On the other hand, Embryo Implantation is a biological process which occurs in the reproductive system.

These two are different, however both are related; this is because, in a successful IVF cycle, the transferred embryos will implant and result in a pregnancy:

Embryo Implantation- During an IVF cycle, the doctor transfers the embryo into your uterus; here it develops into a blastocyst and embeds itself into the uterus lining. Since Implantation is an in-utero biological process, the control switch is in Nature’s hands and not with the doctor.

Embryo Transfer- This is a mechanical procedure; how well it is done definitely depends on the skill and experience of the doctor.

Once the Embryo Transfer (ET) has been completed, the excruciatingly lengthy 2 Week Wait (2WW) starts. During this time your mind plays all kinds of games with you and the only thought on your mind is about what is happening to your precious embryos in your uterus. You wonder whether they are being properly nourished are safe and growing well.

Understanding the Implantation Process

This involves 3 steps:


All these steps are based on different hormonal and molecular signals in the uterus. Since it’s a biological process, no external control is possible. It’s also important to understand that stress levels, diet or physical activity don’t have an impact on it. You will be given hormonal therapy; this prepares the uterine lining for implantation, however, we cannot control the process or guarantee implantation.

The Genetic Abnormality Factor

It’s not possible for any doctor to pinpoint the complex mechanisms involved in this process and hoping and praying are the only things we can really do. It’s only after the 2WW (once you get your HCG results), that you know whether the embryo implantation has been successful or not. There are times when the embryo fails to implant. It’s not always possible to identify the reason for a failed embryo implantation, in most instances; genetic abnormality in the embryo is the cause.

Maintain Realistic Expectations

In most instances, these defects are very subtle and cannot be diagnosed even with the use of sophisticated modern genetic technology such as CCS (comprehensive chromosomal screening). However, we do know that the eggs of older women are at higher risk of having genetic defects due to the aging process.

It’s important for patients to understand that when embryos fail to implant post the transfer, it’s not an indication that the IVF clinic is incompetent or that your uterus is “rejecting” the embryo. It simply means that the implantation isn’t a sure-shot process, and having realistic expectations of IVF success is vital.

Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better!

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