Tips for a successful embryo transfer
The process of embryo transfer involves releasing the embryo created in a laboratory into the cavity of the womb using a special tube. For successful In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the sperm and the egg which are carefully fertilized in a petri dish need to be accepted by the woman’s reproductive system to form a healthy pregnancy.
For this, the lining of the womb needs to be ready to accept the embryo. In a normal cycle, the woman’s body produces hormones for this, so your doctor could time the transfer with the menstrual cycle to ensure that the transfer is done at the right time, supported by naturally produced hormones, or supported by medication depending on what is right for your body.
A pregnancy test is done about 15 days from the embryo transfer to confirm if you are pregnant. Some simple changes in your lifestyle can increase the chances of successful implantation.
Eat a balanced diet
There is a lot of evidence to support a direct link between eating a healthy diet and a successful conception and pregnancy and IVF is no exception to this. Any woman trying to conceive, whether naturally or through an IVF embryo transfer, but eat a diet comprised of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18-22 is considered ideal for which the intake of protein should be high and carbohydrates low. Eat foods that are high in folate and avoid high-risk foods like unpasteurised cheese, seafood with high mercury content, and junk in general. Avoid packaged food, smoking, alcohol, consumption of alcohol, and recreational drugs.
At this stage, it is important for the body to be well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water during the IVF process and also implantation – about two liters a day is recommended from water and other liquids like coconut water, chhach, etc.
Exercise and mindfulness
The general perception is that women need to go on complete bed rest after the process of embryo transfer is complete to improve the chances of implantation. But, there is no evidence to support that total bed rest improves implantation rates.
Our patients are advised to resume normal day-to-day activities, but it is important to listen to your body and take a rest when you are tired. Any kind of strenuous activities must be avoided around the time the process of embryo transfer is being performed.
The two-week wait between embryo transfer and pregnancy test can be a very stressful time so it may be a good idea to practice yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to relax the mind and body. But, any activities that increase the body temperature like steam, hot yoga, saunas, or even a hot shower must be avoided.
Take your medications
Women are normally given medication to support the process of embryo transfer. This could include luteal support and supplements needed by the body, depending on the preliminary blood tests done before the process of IVF is started. All of these medicines must be taken at the right time and in the correct dosage.
Furthermore, you should avoid taking any other medication at this stage, unless approved by your doctor. As a ground rule, remember that the only medicine which is safe to take during pregnancy and at this stage of embryo transfer is paracetamol.
Also, take precautions to ensure you stay fit and don’t come down with any other infections. Avoid outside food or uncooked meat which could lead to infections in the gut. In these times of the pandemic, also avoid going to crowded areas to prevent the chances of catching any infections.
Dr. Padmaja Pala is an Infertility Specialist at Dr Padmaja Fertility Centres, Hyderabad.