What is Embryo Transfer?

IUI vs IVF Treatments in Singapore: Which Treatment is Right for You?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), has helped thousands of couples worldwide embrace the joys of parenthood. Embryo transfer is an important process in reproductive medicine that plays a crucial role in the success of IVF treatments. If you or a loved one is struggling with infertility issues, a reputed gynaecology clinic in Singapore can help diagnose and treat the conditions affecting fertility. The initial examination will include a review of the medical history, hormone tests, and a physical examination of both partners. After the evaluation, your Singapore gynaecologist will recommend the most appropriate fertility treatment, which will often include embryo transfer. In this article, we will take a closer look at what an embryo transfer is, how it works, and the factors affecting its success.

What is an Embryo?

An embryo is formed when a sperm fertilises an egg, resulting in a single cell called a zygote. The zygote then begins to divide and develop into an embryo. Under naturally fertile conditions, the embryo eventually implants into the lining of the uterus and continues to grow and develop into a foetus.

In the context of assisted reproductive technology, embryos are created in a laboratory setting through IVF where eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a controlled environment. The resulting embryos are then cultured in the laboratory for several days until they reach a stage of development suitable for transfer. These embryos are also graded for quality. The quality of the embryos is a critical factor in the success of embryo transfer.

Embryo Transfer in IVF

Embryo transfer is usually performed at a hospital or a gynaecology clinic in Singapore, and the procedure itself is relatively simple. Embryo transfer involves placing one or more of these embryos into the uterus of the intended mother. The embryo transfer procedure is usually carried out under ultrasound guidance as an outpatient procedure and does not require anaesthesia.

Prior to the transfer, your Singapore gynaecologist will prescribe medications to prepare the uterus. This will essentially involve treatments targeted at synchronising the timing of the embryo transfer with the patient's menstrual cycle.

During the transfer process, the embryos are inserted into the uterus using a thin, flexible catheter. The entire process usually takes about 15-30 minutes and is typically not painful.

Types of Embryo Transfers

  1. 1. Fresh embryo transfer involves transferring the embryo(s) to the uterus soon after they are created in the laboratory. This usually occurs on day 3 or 5 after fertilisation, depending on the development of the embryos.
  2. 2. Frozen embryo transfer involves thawing frozen embryos that were not used in a previous IVF cycle and transferring them to the uterus. This has become increasingly popular at many gynaecology clinics in Singapore due to improvements in the cryopreservation process, which allows embryos to be stored for long periods without significantly reducing their viability.

The IVF Process at a Glance

Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation: This is the first step in an IVF cycle, where fertility drugs are administered to the female patient to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

Step 2: Egg Retrieval: The eggs are then extracted from the ovaries with the help of a thin needle. This is done under anaesthesia.

Step 3: Fertilisation: The eggs are fertilised with sperm from the partner or donor in a laboratory at a gynaecology clinic in Singapore.

Step 4: Embryo Culture: The resulting embryos are cultured in the laboratory for several days until they reach a stage of development suitable for transfer.

Step 5: Embryo Transfer: Your Singapore gynaecologist will then transfer the embryos to the uterus through the cervix with the help of a catheter.

Step 6: Luteal Phase Support: The patient is given progesterone supplements to help support the development of the embryo(s) in the uterus.

Step 7: Pregnancy Test: The woman undergoes a pregnancy test about two weeks after the embryo transfer to determine whether the treatment was successful.

Factors Affecting Embryo Transfer Success

Several factors can affect the success rates of embryo transfer, including the following:

  • The timing and synchronisation of the procedure
  • The age of the patient
  • The quality of the embryos
  • The number of embryos being transferred
  • The endometrial receptivity of the uterus

Other factors, such as underlying medical conditions and lifestyle habits, may also impact the success rates of embryo transfer.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

While embryo transfer is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure. These may include cramping, spotting, and infection. Therefore, it is important to follow post-transfer instructions carefully and seek medical attention if any complications arise. Additionally, there is a slight risk of multiple pregnancies and even an ectopic pregnancy.

Aftercare and Follow-up

After embryo transfer, it's essential to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your Singapore gynaecologist. These may include rest and avoiding strenuous activities, taking prescribed medications, and attending follow-up appointments to monitor the success of the procedure.

IVF Treatments at Seng's OG Practice

Embryo transfer is a crucial step in the process of assisted reproductive technology and can help couples struggling with infertility achieve their dream of having a baby. While the success rates of embryo transfer vary depending on several factors, it remains an important and effective tool in reproductive medicine.

If you are considering IVF treatment in Singapore, make an appointment with our gynaecology specialist at Seng's OG. With nearly 20 years of experience and an impressive track record of successful fertility treatments, Dr. Seng will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance to address your fertility issues.

Seng's OG Practice is a MOH-approved fertility clinic in Singapore and offers up-to-date and well-maintained laboratory facilities. If you are considering undergoing embryo transfer, speak to our specialist to learn more about the procedure and how we can assist you.