Becoming a mother is a dream for many women. However, many times it happens that try as we may, we are unable to conceive. There are many causes of infertility, sometimes the reason may even remain unknown. There are many artificial reproduction techniques that are available today to help couples conceive and start a family successfully. One of the most popular methods of artificial conception is in vitro fertilization or IVF. When you are undergoing the process of in vitro fertilization, the actual day on which your doctor transfers the embryo into your uterus may feel like a dream. So when this big day finally arrives, it is indeed an event to very much looking forward to. After all, embryo transfer is one of the high points in the IVF process for most couples. Afterward, the two-week wait from the embryo transfer to when you take a pregnancy test can feel like an eternity.
7 Common Signs That Your Embryo Transfer was Successful
If you are also on tenterhooks waiting for the good news and to finally get some indication of successful implantation, here are some of the common signs to watch out for that your embryo transfer was successful.
Spotting or Implantation Bleeding
Spotting or light bleeding is usually the first sign of pregnancy after an embryo transfer in vitro fertilization. Spotting in the underwear or onto a toilet paper when you wipe could be an indication of implantation, meaning the embryo has implanted successfully into the lining of the uterine wall. Some bleeding or spotting after a week following an embryo transfer is a good sign. Unfortunately, at the same time, bleeding is also such a concerning sign that it does not provide much reassurance to most people.(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
At the same time, spotting is also a common occurrence that happens if you are taking hormone medications such as progesterone during the two week period following the embryo transfer. In all likelihood, your doctor will prescribe you to continue taking progesterone to help the body produce the same levels of hormones that it would if it was in the early weeks of pregnancy. This means spotting or light bleeding may or may not be a sign of a successful embryo transfer.(6)
Almost every woman knows that cramping is usually the first sign that Aunt Flow is on her way for the month. However, if you have undergone an in vitro fertilization cycle, then cramping could also be a sign that your embryo transfer was successful. However, before going out and buying a pregnancy test, it is important to keep in mind that mild cramping can also be due to the progesterone you are taking during the two week period.(7)
For some people, mild cramping can also be a common occurrence immediately after any pelvic procedure.
Another early sign of pregnancy in some women is having sore breasts. If your breasts feel tender to the touch or are swollen and hurt when you bump them, this could be a positive sign of a successful embryo transfer.(8)
According to experts, though, breast tenderness after embryo transfer could also be due to the effect of pregnancy hormones. Sore breasts could also be a side effect of the hormonal medication you are taking while waiting for the two week period. Oral and injectable progesterone is also known to commonly cause breast tenderness and breast swelling in many women.(9)
Most women who have been pregnant even once in their lifetime very well know the perils of morning sickness. Nausea or morning sickness usually begins in the second month of pregnancy, so it is not necessary that it is a symptom of successful embryo implantation that you would notice in the two weeks after the transfer. Many women who do experience the dreaded symptom of morning sickness report feeling sick to their stomach within two weeks after missing a period.
So, even though it is unlikely, if you do experience nausea or vomiting during the two week waiting period, you should take note of it, especially if it is frequent. Also, let your doctor know about the symptom.(10, 11)
Fatigue or Tiredness
Feeling fatigued or tired is a regular part of pregnancy – right from day 1 of your pregnancy to delivery, and of course, it continues on. You may also feel extra sleepy and tired in the early days when your progesterone levels increase.
Generally, most women tend to feel fatigued right around the time their period is due. While this could be an indication of a successful embryo transfer, it could again just be a side effect of the many fertility medications you are taking.
The most common cause of fatigue is due to the high levels of progesterone. This can either be because of pregnancy, or it can be due to the medications your doctor has prescribed.(12)
A missed period is one of the most common signs of pregnancy, especially if you have a very regular cycle. For women who can count on their period occurring at the exact same time every month, being late may be an indication that the embryo transplant was successful.
Frequent Need To Urinate
Taking more late-night trips to the bathroom and having an increased urge to urinate could be a sign of early pregnancy.(13)
Some women even notice a need to urinate more frequently before they miss their period. However, more than likely, this is a symptom you will notice after you have missed your period.
The frequent trips to the bathroom are usually because of the increase in the pregnancy hormone hCG, along with the spike in progesterone. If the embryo transfer was successful, the increased need to urinate is a good sign and might be happening as a result of the extra blood in the body.
Unfortunately, increased and frequent urination may also be a symptom of having a urinary tract infection. You should contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms along with frequent urination:(14)
- Urgency to urinate
- Painful urination
- Nausea and vomiting
The two week waiting period after you undergo the embryo transfer is usually filled with stressful, emotional, and exhausting ups and downs for any couple. Although some of the early signs of pregnancy, such as spotting, light bleeding, and cramping, could mean that the embryo transfer was a success, ultimately, the only sure shot way to find out if you are pregnant or not is a positive pregnancy test.
- Harville, E.W., Wilcox, A.J., Baird, D.D. and Weinberg, C.R., 2003. Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy. Human Reproduction, 18(9), pp.1944-1947.
- Bhatu, J.J. and Prajapati, D.S., 2020. A study of feto-maternal outcome in bleeding per vaginum in first trimester of pregnancy. International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 9(3), pp.1191-1196.
- Speert, H. and Guttmacher, A.F., 1954. Frequency and significance of bleeding in early pregnancy. Journal of the American Medical Association, 155(8), pp.712-715.
- Hayes, E.S., Curnow, E.C., Trounson, A.O., Danielson, L.A. and Unemori, E.N., 2004. Implantation and pregnancy following in vitro fertilization and the effect of recombinant human relaxin administration in Macaca fascicularis. Biology of reproduction, 71(5), pp.1591-1597.
- Harville, E.W., Wilcox, A.J., Bird, D.D. and Weinberg, C.R., 2004. Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 59(3), pp.172-173.
- Promes, S.B. and Nobay, F., 2010. Pitfalls in first-trimester bleeding. Emergency Medicine Clinics, 28(1), pp.219-234.
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. 2021. Surviving the Two Week Wait for Pregnancy Results. [online] Available at: <https://resolve.org/what-are-my-options/treatment-options/surviving-two-week-wait/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- Mommababygear. 2021. What Part of the Breast Hurts in Early Pregnancy and Why?. [online] Available at: <https://mommababygear.com/blog/what-part-of-the-breast-hurts-in-early-pregnancy/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- ProgesteroneTherapy.com. 2021. Breast tenderness. [online] Available at: <https://www.progesteronetherapy.com/breast-tenderness.html> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- American Pregnancy Association. 2021. Nausea During Pregnancy. [online] Available at: <https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-symptoms/nausea-during-pregnancy/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- Margaret Weigel, M., Reyes, M., Caiza, M., Tello, N., Castro, N., Cespedes, S., Duchicela, S. and Betancourt, M., 2021. Is the nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy really feto-protective?.
- Davidson, D., 2021. Does Progesterone Make You Tired? | PYHP 040. [online] Progressyourhealth.com. Available at: <https://progressyourhealth.com/podcast/does-progesterone-make-you-tired/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- pregnancy?, I., 2021. Is it normal for frequent urination to come and go in early pregnancy? – Rampfesthudson.com. [online] Rampfesthudson.com. Available at: <https://www.rampfesthudson.com/is-it-normal-for-frequent-urination-to-come-and-go-in-early-pregnancy/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
- The Femedic. 2021. How to tell when frequent urination is a sign of a UTI – The Femedic. [online] Available at: <https://thefemedic.com/incontinence/how-to-tell-frequent-urination-sign-of-uti/> [Accessed 25 November 2021].