Julie S’ Surrogacy Journey Vol. 6
A couple of weeks ago I had another embryo transfer. I know many surrogates are curious as to what happens at an embryo transfer, so I hope you find this blog helpful! Every clinic is different and the protocol and requirements are different, so please remember that my experience may not be the same as yours.
Our second embryo transfer was scheduled for September 12th at 12pm. Because it is a far distance from my house, my husband and I drove in the night before and stayed in a hotel that the agency arranged for us. As hard as it is to get a good night’s rest the night before a transfer, I feel that because I have done it 3 times prior (with my other surrogacy pregnancies), I wasn’t nervous and didn’t have butterflies like the first couple of times. I slept well and in the morning my husband and I relaxed and did a little shopping around town until I needed to be at the clinic.
In order to make the transfer smooth, my bladder had to be completely full by 12pm. My instructions from the clinic stated that in the morning I was to empty my bladder and then drink a 16oz bottle of water 1 hour prior to the embryo transfer. It needed to be extremely full in order to tilt the uterus in such a way that the doctor is able to reach the cervix with ease. After checking in, the nurse brought me to the transfer room where they did a quick abdominal ultrasound to see if we were ready to go. My bladder wasn’t quite full so they gave me a couple more bottles of water to drink along with a small dose of valium to help me relax. Many clinics issue valium 30 minutes prior to the transfer so that your muscles are relaxed. They turned on some spa-like music, dimmed the lights and left me to rest a while.
About a half hour later, the embryologist (the specialist who takes care of the embryos) came in to check my photo ID and have me sign some documents stating I agreed to a single embryo transfer. I saw a photo of the embryo so I knew she had already thawed it and was ready to go. Then the doctor came back to check and see if my uterus was in the right position now and it was!
Many times I get asked, “does the embryo transfer hurt?” Absolutely not! I have never felt pain, whatsoever. There’s a bit of discomfort because your bladder will be so full and they have to press the ultrasound wand on your abdomen, but it’s not painful.
The first thing the doctor did to prepare for the embryo transfer is to insert the speculum which will helped her to guide the catheter into my cervix. This is the same speculum used during a pap smear. Once the speculum was in place, the doctor inserted a very thin catheter tube through my cervix and rested the tip of it inside of my uterus.
She asked a nurse to go let the embryologist know we were ready. Next the embryologist walked in very slowly and carefully with the very special embryo inside of another tube. She walked as if she was carrying the most fragile item in the world, it was so sweet to witness. The embryologist repeated my name and the fact that it was a single embryo. The embryo is in a solution called “embryo glue” which helps it to stick to the uterine lining once it’s inserted.
The doctor placed that flexible, syringe-like tube inside of the other catheter and watched on the ultrasound machine to pick the best location for the embryo to be placed. She pushed the solution through the tube and once it was all done, she left the catheter in for another minute or so to make sure she didn’t disturb the embryo as it was sticking to the lining of my uterus. It was all very fascinating to watch. Immediately after the tube containing the embryo was removed, the embryologist took it back to the lab where she checked under a microscope to confirm the embryo was no longer there.
When the embryologist came back to confirm that the embryo had successfully been transferred, we were officially done! The next step for me was to rest in bed for another 10 minutes just to give that little embryo every single chance possible of sticking. They let me go to the restroom right after that and before I knew it, my husband was grabbing the car and we were on our way back to the hotel! Such a life-changing experience happens in about 30 minutes time. It is so incredible to be a part of this.
My clinic’s requirements were 48 hours of bedrest, so it was back to the hotel for my husband and I. Netflix binging and lying around was all I did for the next 2 days. It was so wonderful. Such a surreal time to think, Wow! I could be pregnant right now! I was so hopeful for a successful transfer for my Intended Parents again! We use the phrase “pregnant until proven otherwise” after an embryo transfer, and it is important I treat myself as pregnant until I hear otherwise! Check back next week to see if we are officially pregnant!