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Most patients are very excited when they reach the stage of embryo transfer. This is a major milestone in their IVF treatment, and the fact that they have made embryos provides them with a lot of hope that their chances of having a baby are high. After all, this proves that their sperm and eggs work properly and that the doctor is doing a good job! Now all the embryo has to do is to stick - and shouldn't that be automatic? After all, it is a natural process that happens all the time!

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that not every embryo becomes a baby. Human reproduction is not an efficient enterprise - whether it is in vivo or in vitro!

Many patients are petrified that they will do something wrong which will cause their embryo to fall out! They worry about what precautions they need to take - and even if they don't, lots of their friend, relatives and well-wishers will have lots of well-meaning ( but completely wrong !) advise about what they need to do!

What can I eat, doctor? Are any foods too hot? or cold? Can I have a hot water bath? a shower? a swim? sex? Will the embryo fall out if I go through a pothole? Can I take a pain killer if I have a headache? Can I dye my hair?

Remember that the embryo transfer procedure is a short 30-second procedure in which the doctor mechanically pushes the embryos into the uterus with the help of a fine plastic catheter. However, implantation is a biological process that we cannot control. Just because we have transferred the embryo artificially into the uterus does not influence implantation - this is a natural process that occurs as it normally would!

After all, what special care do women take after having sex in their bedroom? The embryo does not care whether it reached the uterus after normal sex - or after spending 3 days in the IVF lab incubator! There's no need to change your normal lifestyle just because you've had an embryo transfer!

Unfortunately, when the embryos do not implant, patients blame themselves unnecessarily for this failure. And there are lots of nosey-parkers who will claim that the cycle failed because the patient did not take strict bed rest after the transfer!

The fact is that no special precautions are needed after the embryo transfer - the human body has been designed with enough sense that the embryos are safe and secure in the uterus. All you need to do is to use your common sense - and not do anything which you will regret later on!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.
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