Going through IVF can be an overwhelming experience for many of our patients, there is an enormous amount of information that is given all at once. At the onset of the FET, many questions arise like what I can expect, how long it takes, does the doctor do the transfer and the list goes on and on. We hope this will give a better understanding of what to expect and ease uncertainties.
Once the FET education class is completed, estrogen levels and endometrial lining is appropriate, and approval is given to start progesterone, most patients arrive seven days later for their FET. The day before transfer the laboratory will call, confirming the FET plan, reviewing the transfer time, and asking patients to come 15 minutes early. It is important for this visit to come in with a full bladder it enables the doctor to visualize the endometrial lining and placement of the catheter. Confirmation of the appropriate embryo will be discussed whether it is a day5/6 embryo, a particular gender or best quality as well as the type of progesterone prescribed. It is important to know, if the laboratory staff does not receive a verbal confirmation from our patients, the FET may be delayed. FET’s will not be performed without this confirmation. If a voicemail is left, please return our phone call.
The morning of transfer, two embryologist confirm each patients FET information and the thawing process begins. A half hour before each scheduled FET, patients embryos’ are transferred to embryoglue. The nurse will bring back each patient 15 minutes prior to their transfer time, giving them a gown with a mask, hat and booties to change into. Discharge instructions are discussed and confirmation of a full bladder and endometrial lining performed by ultrasound. The embryologist will discuss the status of the embryo, how many embryos remain if any, ask for confirmation of patient’s name on the device the embryo was frozen in and show a picture of the embryo. That picture will be emailed to the patient for their records. Once this discussion is complete, the nurse informs the doctor the transfer is ready. Please take note, our doctors rotate, you may have a different doctor than you see normally for transfer.
Once the doctor enters the room, a formal time out is performed, confirming the patients name and date of birth. The patient will lay down, the doctor preps the patient for transfer. Once visualization is clear, the patient confirms the last name and embryo. Using a catheter, the embryologist picks up the embryo in 15ul of media with a small air bubble at the end. It is brought to the doctor who then injects the embryo with the media. A “flash” is usually visualized, this lets the doctor know the embryo was successfully placed. The catheter is brought back to the lab, flushed multiply times to confirm the embryo did not stick to the catheter. Sometimes it will stick on the inside or outside of the catheter and the procedure needs to be performed again. This is not typical but it may happen, please know it does not affect pregnancy outcomes. Once the embryologist gives a verbal “all clear”, patients empty their full bladders and resume their day. This entire process takes usually takes less than 15 minutes and should not be painful. The only pain some say is the pressing down of the ultrasound on the full bladder. Patients usually return for a pregnancy test 10 days later.
Hopefully this has assisted in understanding the FET process here at Carolina Conceptions and answered any questions you may have. Whether you have frozen embryos here or at another facility, we look forward to helping you on your journey to becoming parents.