What to Expect on Transfer Day

embryo-transferTransfer Day can feel like the apex of your journey to this point. In many ways it is exactly that. Months of effort have gone into preparing for this day. Here’s a look at what happens on this very memorable day.

Your surrogate and, if you are able to attend, you will arrive at the fertility clinic in the morning. Generally the surrogate is asked to arrive with a full bladder and, in some cases, she will be asked to have taken a muscle relaxer. Both of these measures help improve the odds of embryo implantation in the uterus. The surrogate will not be placed under anesthesia for this procedure.

While your surrogate changes into a procedure gown and disrobes from the waist down, the intended parent(s) will likely talk with the embryologist about the quality of the existing embryos as well as the number of embryos to be transferred. If the intended parent(s) chose to do preimplantation genetic testing of the embryo, then the sex of the embryos are already known and are able to be shared with the intended parents. This can help you make the decision of which embryos and how many you’d like to transfer.

Once your party is in the procedure room an Embryologist will load the embryos into a special catheter. The doctor will use a speculum to open the vagina and expose the cervical opening. Using an ultrasound wand the catheter will be snaked through the vagina, through the tiny opening of the cervix and into the uterus. Once positioned appropriately the embryos will be expelled from the catheter and left inside of the uterus. In some cases the embryologist may examine the catheter after the procedure is complete to make sure no embryos were left inside the tube by accident.

The surrogate is generally asked to lay flat on her back in the procedure room for a period of time following the placement of the embryos in order to give them the best shot possible at sticking.

The procedure is over and done in less than 20 minutes. Most surrogates will take a period of bed rest lasting between 24 and 72 hours. Implantation of the embryos can occur as late as 72 hours after the transfer.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.