The final step during IVF is the placement of the embryo into the uterus. Now comes the hard part of waiting for the results. You might be anxious, excited and definitely nervous.
To help you cope with this waiting period it is important to understand the science behind the process and then come up with strategies that will help you and your partner to relax during this time.
How does the Embryos Implant Process Work?
So, what happens once the embryo is in the uterine cavity? How long does it take to implant? How long does it take for a pregnancy test to be positive? These are perhaps some of the most commonly asked questions by prospective parents. So, let’s find out the answers.
Studies have revealed that embryos do not implant until they have reached the blastocyst stage. Fertility experts who have observed embryos in the laboratory have stated that it takes 5 to 6 days to go from sperm meets egg to become a blastocyst. That means that when a blastocyst is transferred into the uterus, implantation could occur as early as the next day. In fact, the vast majority of embryos usually implant within 5 days. At the very latest, it is a week later.
85% of implantations occurred 8 to 10 days after ovulation. By the way, this study was done by testing hormones in the urine. If you do blood testing, then you will find the times are even shorter.
Back in 1999, scientists followed over 200 women for six months. They tested them every day to determine the day of ovulation and for the earliest signs of pregnancy. They found the earliest evidence for pregnancy implantation was 6 days after ovulation, and the latest was 12 days, hence, the ‘two-week wait.’
Why the Two-Week Wait?
The cells of the embryo produce the hormone HCG. Once the embryo implants, the HCG is absorbed into the mother’s blood, which can be measured.
So, why do fertility specialists ask patients to wait for two weeks before doing a pregnancy test? The ‘two-week wait’ does make a difference depending on whether you are doing a fresh embryo or frozen embryo transfer.
A fresh transfer is done 5 days after egg retrieval, 7 days after a woman has taken the trigger injections. The trigger injections usually contain HCG. Doing a pregnancy test too soon after injecting HCG might give you a false-positive result. So, with a fresh transfer, you cannot say for sure if you have a pregnancy unless you repeat the HCG blood test and see it going up, meaning a pregnancy. If it goes down, then it’s just left-over HCG from the injection.
With frozen transfers, there is no HCG injection given. So, any amount of HCG found in the mother’s blood means that an embryo has been implanted. You do not have to wait and repeat the HCG level.
So, while a ‘two-week wait’ may not be necessary in case of a frozen embryo transfer, it is still best to not rush into checking whether you have a positive pregnancy too soon.
How Can You Deal with the Two Week Wait?
The number one topic on fertility forums is the ‘two-week wait.’ People say IVF is a roller coaster, but those two weeks after transfer are particularly nail-biting. But there are ways to cope and improve your chances of pregnancy.
Take It Easy: The clock starts ticking the moment your transfer is over. So, avoid heavy lifting, hot baths, and excessive exercise. Get your partner to really spoil you.
Surround Yourself with Activities That You Enjoy: Waiting for anything tends to drive anyone over the edge. This is a normal feeling to experience. To cope with it, you should keep yourself engaged and occupied with activities that you really enjoy. Be it reading, movies or even taking a short trip, it is the time to go all out.
Eat Healthy and Drink Water: After the IVF process, it is essential that you keep eating healthy and keep yourself hydrated. Your body needs all the nutrients to support the implantation of the embryo. Additionally, if the body loses water, it minimises your chances of the implantation working successfully. Therefore, remember to drink plenty of water.
Take Your Medication: It is astonishingly easy to forget a dose, but your medication keeps your embryo alive. Try creating a chart for your daily medication or set up reminders/alarms on your smartphone.
Spotting and bleeding: Do not panic if this happens. Talk to your fertility expert and follow their instructions and guidance. Remember the golden rule, bleeding is not always bad.
Blood Thinners: Consult with your fertility expert about taking low-dose aspirin from the day of the transferor a day before. For some patients, especially ones who have had miscarriages, thinning the blood may help.
Keep Your Expectations in Check: The period post the IVF process is a time that is filled with hope and expectations. Sometimes that can lead to too much focus on the physical manifestations in your body during this time. While you may observe symptoms it is best not to read too much into them right away.
Do Not Test Early: While it is incredibly tempting. But after the IVF cycle, the HCG in your body could give you a false result. So, try and be patient.
Be Prepared for Good and Bad News: Success rates in IVF are variable and depend on a number of factors. Hence, it is always a good idea to be prepared to accept the bad equally with the good.
The ‘two-week wait’ is undoubtedly the worst time for any woman after she has gone through the IVF process. It is always best to plan ahead to spend the two weeks, primarily to ensure that it is not a difficult time for you.
Need A Recommendation?
Looking for professional assistance or someone to consult on how to better cope with the post-IVF waiting period?
If you are based in and around Hyderabad, be sure to take a look at MotherToBe, a well-known fertility centre that is headed by Lead Clinician Dr Vyjayanthi. With a long and positive reputation in this field, Dr Vyjayanthi is assisted by a team of practised and senior clinicians and fertility specialists that ensures that your fertility treatment is a stress-free experience as much as possible.
Dr Vyjayanthi across her 18 years of practice has personally performed over 10,000 IVF cycles adhering to the highest standards of patient care. Seek the counsel of Dr Vyjayanthi’s expert team for a personalised approach to your fertility condition and let your journey to parenthood with an experienced clinical and embryology team.
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