Embryo transfer is a simple, yet quite important process following IVF. It may be performed from day 1 (fertilized oocyte stage) until day 6 of culture. Typically, it is performed on day 2 or day 3.
Embryo transfer is a painless procedure, and does not require sedation. It takes a few minutes, but cooperation of the woman is necessary. The procedure is similar to a Pap test. Embryos are placed in a soft plastic, non-toxic, non-traumatic catheter and transferred to the uterine cavity under ultrasound guidance. The woman stays in the clinic for a while; then, she may go home. The couple must wait 8-12 days (depending on the day of embryo transfer) for the outcome of the procedure; on that day, venous blood is drawn from the female partner to measure human beta-chorionic gonadotropin. A level over a certain threshold is indicative of an established pregnancy.