What To Expect After IVF Treatment
Considering the intensive experience surrounding in vitro fertilization (IVF), many people have questions about the experience after an IVF cycle. What happens after an embryo transfer is completed? When will a pregnancy test be conducted? What should people do immediately afterward? Can a woman stop taking fertility medications now that an embryo transfer has occurred? Knowing what to expect can help to minimize anxiety and provide clarity for anxious women and couples.
Don’t stop taking the fertility medications
Unless directed to do otherwise, most women who complete the embryo transfer process are still told to continue taking the fertility medications prescribed earlier. Often, women are prescribed progesterone hormone support which can aid in implantation and ensure that a woman’s uterus is best suited to sustain a pregnancy. Depending on the format, a doctor might switch a woman from injections to a gel or vaginal suppository.
Blood work and monitoring will continue
If IVF felt like a constant stream of tests and checkups, don’t be surprised that the experience continues after a successful embryo transfer. However, the focus will be slightly different. Rather than checking for ovulation, a physician will be looking for a rise in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The hormone is used to detect pregnancy but can take time before building up in the body to sufficient levels for detection. Usually, hCG is detected around 11 days after conception.
Try to rest and relax
Trying to conceive can be a stressful process in general. But the added psychological, physiological, and financial strain of IVF can make the process even more difficult. As tricky as the advice sounds, try to relax during the two weeks between the embryo transfer and when a pregnancy test is a viable option. Along with the mental health benefits, physicians recommend avoiding vigorous activities because too much intense activity may negatively impact the success rates for implantation.
After the pregnancy test
Assuming that the pregnancy test comes back positive, expect to continue meeting with the fertility doctor for additional hormone level monitoring and any lingering side effects, especially if a woman suffered from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) for a few more weeks. The doctor may also order one or two ultrasounds early in the process to screen for the chance of multiple pregnancies. Women who complete IVF and don’t experience any complications can expect to be transferred to a traditional obstetrician around eight weeks into the pregnancy. For more information about what to expect after IVF, speak with a fertility specialist.