The 2-week wait from an embryo transfer to when you can take a pregnancy test can feel like an eternity. Between checking your panties for implantation bleeding to poking your breasts to see how tender they are, you can experience a lot of anxiety and stress wondering if any possible symptom could equate to a positive pregnancy test. And although some symptoms may point to a successful procedure, they can also be related to the fertility drugs and other medications you’re taking to get pregnant.
“In general, there are no specific signs that an embryo transfer has been successful until the pregnancy test itself,” says Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at RMA of New York. That’s because the estrogen and progesterone commonly taken before the embryo transfer, and the progesterone taken after the transfer, mimic the bloating, sore breasts, and discharge of pregnancy.
However, many people still keep a close eye on any positive sign that may indicate a successful embryo transfer. And while you may experience some or none of these symptoms, it’s important to understand their roles in the process.
A positive embryo transfer indicates a successful conception, which means your pregnancy has begun. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of a positive embryo transfer are almost the same as the early signs of pregnancy. After the embryo is implanted in the uterus and pregnancy begins, you can expect to experience changes in your body. Here are some signs that your embryo transfer has been successful:
. Pelvic pain and discomfort – You will experience mild to moderate discomfort and cramping in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis. These are known as implantation cramping. These signs and symptoms may be similar to menstrual cramps.
. Sore and swollen breasts – You can expect certain changes in your areola and nipples. Most women experience some breast pain and swelling.
. Fatigue – It is common to feel tired and sleepy during pregnancy. However, you may feel extremely tired after the embryo transfer due to changes in hormone levels. You will feel very sleepy or tired, especially after eating a meal.
. Nausea and vomiting – In the later stages of embryo transfer, you may experience mild levels of nausea and even vomiting. Commonly known as morning sickness, these symptoms are usually seen in the early days of pregnancy.
. Food Aversions – After a successful embryo transfer, aversion to certain foods and smells is normal.
. Changes in vaginal discharge – A positive embryo transfer can lead to increased vaginal discharge due to changes in hormone levels. The extra amount of vaginal discharge helps maintain the optimal state of the endometrium for implantation.
. Light bleeding or Spotting – Sometimes, you may also experience light bleeding halfway (7 days) through the two weeks. It is known as implantation bleeding.
. Increased urge to urinate – hCG pregnancy hormones are injected during the IVF cycle. These hormones can cause frequent urination in women. An increased urge to urinate is also one of the symptoms of pregnancy.
. Missed period – Missing your periods after an embryo transfer is a sign of successful implantation and indicates that pregnancy has begun.
. No symptoms – Some women may also experience no symptoms of frozen embryo transfer. Having no symptoms does not mean that your embryo transfer has failed.
If, after reading this list, you realize that none of these apply, don’t worry. Just because you’re not experiencing specific symptoms, doesn’t mean the embryo transfer wasn’t successful.
“The presence or absence of these symptoms are nonspecific and do not predict pregnancy outcome,” says Mukherjee. The listed symptoms, he says, are most commonly the result of estrogen and progesterone administration.
“In fact, 10 to 15 percent of patients have no symptoms at all, but still thankfully have a positive pregnancy test,” he adds. The only for-sure way to know if your embryo transfer worked is a positive pregnancy test.
We know you’re eager to see those two lines or a plus sign. But test too soon after an embryo transfer, and you risk being disappointed — not to mention, out $15 for the cost of the test. Ideally, you should wait until you’ve missed your period. This will give you the most accurate results. But let’s be honest — it’s hard to be patient. So, if you’re itching to test, wait at least 10 days after the transfer.
More specifically, Mukherjee says the embryo will attach within 48 to 72 hours after the transfer. The growing embryo will then increase in size and metabolic activity, producing more hCG until it can be reliably detected 9 to 10 days after embryo transfer. This is why your clinic will likely schedule an hCG blood test around this time.
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