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What to do following IVF embryo transfer or intra-uterine insemination

Whilst the two week wait following your fertility treatment such as IVF, ICSI or IUI can be a positive and exciting time it can also be a time when you may experience feelings of loneliness and anxiety. For weeks you have been attending the clinic for monitoring and preparation to get to this point, it can therefore be difficult to understand why you are not experiencing feelings of elation. This can also be a time when you are telling yourself not to become stressed and the more you seem to tell yourself this, the more stressed you feel you are becoming.

By exploring some of the feelings or symptoms you may experience, what is happening to your body and why you are taking the medications & the side effects we hope we can reduce some of your anxiety at this time.

Why wait two weeks?

In order to know if your IVF treatment has met with success, you will need to wait to do a pregnancy test. The two weeks following your IVF embryo transfer or insemination are called the luteal phase. This time in your fertility cycle would be similar to days 14 – 28 of a natural cycle. Following these two weeks you would have been asked to carry out a pregnancy test, the pregnancy test measures a hormone beta hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). It takes approximately two weeks from the time a fertilised egg implants into the endometrium (lining of the womb) for beta hCG to be present. We do not recommend that you carry a pregnancy test before this time as this may give you an inaccurate result.

Will I be taking medication during this time?

You will have been asked to use progesterone pessaries, you may insert the pessaries rectally or vaginally. It is important that you insert them approximately twelve hours apart. Try and choose a time that is convenient for your day when you will have time to do this. Some patients have found it helpful to set a reminder on their phone.

The purpose of taking a progesterone supplementation at this time is to maintain the lining of the womb and to provide the level of progesterone your body requires for early pregnancy. Some of the side effects you may experience from progesterone such as slight nausea and breast tenderness can be difficult as they can be confused with symptoms of early pregnancy.

What shall I do if I start to bleed before I am due to carry out my pregnancy test?

If you start to bleed before you are due to carry out your pregancy test it is important that you contact the clinic. Do not panic as this does happen from time to time and does not mean you IVF treatment has not been successful. You should continue using your advised medication at this time.

If I haven’t started bleeding before I carry out my pregnancy test does that mean my test will be positive?

This can be very difficult for fertility patients as the side effects from the progestreone such as breast tenderness and mild nausea can lead you to believe that you are pregnant, unfortunately even if you have not experienced a bleed this does not necessarily mean that you will have a positive test.

My pregnancy test is positive but I have now started to bleed, what shall I do?

Unfortunately, having fertility treatment does not reduce your risk of miscarriage or problems that can be experienced in early pregnancy. If you do experience any bleeding please contact us and we will be able to guide you through the next steps.

Should I change my diet at this time?

During the two week wait you should start to eat and drink as if you were pregnant with a healthy balanced diet. We would recommend avoiding alcohol, unpasteurised cheese as well as uncooked meat and fish. Please continue to take your pre pregnancy vitamins or supplements containing folic acid.

My pregnancy test is positive, how pregnant am I?

Please use a reliable pregnancy test, e.g Clear Blue. When we know that you are pregnant we will arrange your first pregnancy scan, this is normally carried out between 6-7 weeks of pregnancy. The date of your scan is calculated from the date of your IVF egg collection, frozen embryo transfer or IUI. Your first pregnancy scan is normally carried out 4-5 weeks after this time of your treatment.

My pregnancy test is negative, what shall I do?

If your cycle is not successful it is as important to us as if it were successful. Please do contact us. Many patients can feel that they have done something wrong but this will not be the case. We will review your cycle with you and together we will make a decision about the next steps.

My cycle hasn’t been successful, do I have to wait before starting again?

Your previous cycle will be reviewed with you, we may recommend some further investigations before starting a further cycle but for many patients they are able to start straight away.

We know that the the two week wait can be a very stressful and difficult time, if you have any questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact us by email to : or seek support from our BICA accredited Fertility Therapists, Wendy and Francine.

Francine has provided an article you may find helpful : Coping with the waiting period

To make an appointment with the BCRM Patient Support Team or to arrange a follow up appointment with your Fertility consultant please call a Patient Advisor on 0117 2591159 or email