Single embryo transfer is an elective component of various fertility treatments. The most common fertility treatment that can make use of this procedure is in vitro fertilization (IVF). Your lifestyle following the procedure should be similar to that following any kind of fertility treatment, with perhaps a bit more extra care since you've had fewer embryos implanted than is the norm.
Immediately Following the Transfer
Your fertility specialist will have you stay at the clinic for at least a few hours after the procedure. You will be asked to remain on your back for the first 30 to 60 minutes to increase the likelihood of successful single embryo transfer. If your doctor is satisfied with your progress, you can be discharged the same day.
The First Two Days after the Transfer
The first two days following your single embryo transfer will be the most crucial when it comes to the success of your treatment. If your pregnancy is considered to be high risk (you are age 40 or older or have a history of complications), you may be on total bed rest. If your pregnancy is considered minimal to average risk, you may be placed under fewer restrictions and return to most lines of work immediately, assuming your work does not involve strenuous activity or heavy lifting. You will, however, be asked to:
- Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting
- Avoid intercourse and masturbation
- Avoid bathing and swimming (you can still shower)
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
The First Two Weeks after the Transfer
Some of the restrictions you will face the first two days after the single embryo transfer procedure will continue to apply over the next few weeks, particularly no smoking or alcohol--which applies throughout your pregnancy or potential pregnancy--and no intercourse or masturbation. You can return to more vigorous activity, but being cautious about overdoing the activity or heavy lifting is a good idea.
You may experience light bleeding, called "spotting," during this period, as well as cramping. This does not mean that the procedure has been unsuccessful or that you're having a miscarriage, as it could be a normal reaction to embryo implantation. However, if you're concerned, you should make an appointment to be examined by your fertility specialist.
Once You Know the Treatment Has Been Successful
You may have an appointment 10 to 18 days after the procedure to determine whether or not you've become pregnant. If you have a negative test at this point, you will no longer under any restrictions in regards to your lifestyle and you may have to wait a few months before you can try again. If you have a positive test, you should continue your lifestyle as it has been for the past two weeks. You will be able to engage in intercourse again only after you have had an ultrasound in which your doctor can determine that the child's heart is beating; this will be somewhere between four and six weeks after the procedure.
The most important instruction following your single embryo transfer and fertility treatment is to relax and avoid too much vigorous physical activity. Depending on your age, health and risk to your child, your lifestyle changes can be fairly minor or more intrusive.