How is embryo transfer done?

This is the procedure of transferring the embryos back in the woman’s uterus. It is a painless procedure that last for about 10 minutes. It can be performed 2 to 6 days after oocyte retrieval. The embryologist selects the decided number of best quality embryos for transfer, based on certain morphological characteristics (number of cells, size and shape, fragmentation).

VIDEO: Selection of two Day-2 embryos for transfer and their aspiration in the special catheter before transfer to the uterus.

VIDEO: Ultrasound-guided entrance of the catheter and placement of the embryos in the uterine cavity.

The procedure is performed using a special flexible thin catheter, in which the embryos are loaded. After the cervix has been exposed and the vagina carefully washed, the mucus is aspirated. The embryologist aspirates the selected embryos inside the catheter along with minimal volume of culture medium. The gynecologist inserts the catheter through the cervix into the cavity of the uterus under ultrasound guidance. The embryos are then carefully expelled in the uterine cavity. The catheter is then redrawn and checked by the embryologists under the microscope to verify that all embryos have successfully expelled.

This is one of the most important moments of an IVF cycle that is why it is important that the woman is completely calm. The clinical team must be experienced, precise and rapid in order to minimize exposure of the embryos. The correct performance of the embryo transfer is necessary for a successful IVF outcome. After the embryo transfer, the woman must remain in bed for one hour, although this practice is doubted by some studies.