Embryo Transfer Process

An embryo transfer procedure is the process of taking a fertilized egg and implanting it into a woman’s uterus.

The embryo transfer procedure is the last step in the in vitro fertilization process, and it comes just before a blood pregnancy test. 

It is therefore a critical process that can be ruined with a careless procedure, regardless of how good the IVF laboratory culture environment is.

The delicate placement of the embryos at the proper location in the middle of the endometrial activity affects an entire IVF.

Read on to find out more details about the embryo transfer process.

Table of contents 

  • Why intended parents turn to embryo transfers
  • Preparation
  • Aftermath
  • Conclusion

Why intended parents turn to embryo transfer

intended parents

Even when you may not know the specific cause of your infertility, a reproductive endocrinologist will help you diagnose the source of infertility, and define the best way to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Embryo transfers are a good option for intended parents who are experiencing or have experienced;

  • Ovulation disorders are marked by irregular menstrual cycles that make fewer eggs available for fertilization.
  • Blockage or damage in the fallopian tube makes it more difficult for the egg to be fertilized and to travel into the uterus.
  • Uterine fibroids on the uterus wall that can interfere with successful embryo implantation and the expected conception.
  • Tubal ligation.
  • Poor sperm morphology and motility, considering that the male factor commonly causes infertility.
  • Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue grows outside a woman’s uterus, thus affecting the functionality of the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and the ovaries.



In preparation for your embryo transfer, ensure that you take your medications routinely as prescribed by your doctor. Also, ensure that you ask your doctor about the need to take over-the-counter supplements like Vitamin D and other medications.

Consider holistic and non-pharmaceutical therapies to help you along the way. These include but are not limited to yoga, massages, and acupuncture. These holistic treatments have improved the pregnancy rate by nearly 60% when used by women undergoing IVF.

Remember to avoid strenuous activity, take a back seat to the work responsibility, and give your body some downtime to ensure you have sufficient rest. 

Stay away from extreme cold or hot temperatures near and against your abdomen. These extremes can deregulate your reproductive system, thus negatively affecting the chances of your embryo transfer success.

Boost your chances further by eating a low-carb, high-carb diet to reduce inflammation in your reproductive system and G.I. tract. 

Steer clear of chemical products such as those found in some abrasive cleaning supplies, hair care products, and nail polish.

Just before the day of the procedure, plan for the experience by setting up your schedule, packing a bag with essentials, and preparing a means of transport to the medical facility and back home. 


Try to report for the procedure with a full bladder to help the ultrasound imaging be more efficient.

The start of IVF process begins when a woman is prescribed injectable medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs in the ovaries. Once the follicles responsible are mature, an egg retrieval procedure is carried out to remove eggs from the ovaries.

The next step involves adding sperm to the eggs, which are checked over the following 24 hours for signs of fertilization. 

A chosen number of embryos is then selected and stored safely for transfer into the uterus as deemed fit by a fertility expert.



Fertility experts indicate that the most efficient technique for embryo transfer is an ultrasound-guided procedure. This is quite familiar with a Pap smear, and the procedure typically does not involve any pain or sedation.

Fertility doctors recommend undergoing the procedure when the candidate’s bladder is moderately full. 

This not only helps the visualization of ultrasound imaging when viewing the embryo transfer catheter, but it also unfolds and straightens the uterus into a more forgiving angle. 

This makes the process less traumatic for both the embryos and the uterine lining.

The embryo transfer catheter is loaded with the chosen embryos and the fertility doctor passes it into the cervical opening up to the middle section of the uterine cavity. When the tip of the catheter reaches the ideal position, the embryos are squirted out of the catheter into the endometrial lining.

The catheter is then slowly withdrawn and observed under a microscope to check for retained embryos. While it is uncommon, any embryos retained in the catheter prompt the transfer procedure to be repeated immediately, after which the catheter is checked again.

An embryo transfer is a short procedure that takes between 15 to 30 minutes. After the procedure is done, fertility doctors prescribe a rest of around an hour, when lying on your back.


pregnancy tests

Your fertility center will give detailed instructions after the procedure to ensure that you are taking care of yourself correctly before the expected post-embryo transfer pregnancy test. 

Most doctors will likely recommend low-impact movement to stimulate blood flow to the uterus.

Remember to avoid strenuous activity, taking baths, and having sex after the procedure. This, and a positive outlook on the future, will help you realize your aim to be pregnant. 

While it may be nerve-racking, fertility clinics recommend waiting for two weeks before taking a pregnancy test to ensure you get the most accurate results possible. 

Taking a test too soon may yield false results, often caused by the hormone used to measure pregnancy varying according to the current phase of your fertility journey.


Remember that the way an embryo transfer is carried out greatly impacts the impending success rate. Therefore, do some research to find a medical facility that has vast experience with the procedure and one that you feel comfortable entrusting to your future.

To familiarize yourself further with the process, reach out to members of our surrogacy community. Their experience may add some value to the knowledge you have and it may just make the difference in your fertility journey.

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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.

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