Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) Tips and Strategies
One type of In-vitro fertilization treatment (IVF) is a frozen embryo transfer (FET). This procedure transfers a cryopreserved (frozen embryo) into your uterus. This is your embryo, or a donated embryo, created in a previous egg retrieval cycle that is thawed before the transfer.
Going through a FET procedure can bring on a wave of unique anxiety. Expect a range of emotions as you wait for confirmation that your procedure was successful.
So, what can you do during those two weeks to help your transferred embryo do its thing? Let's look at some possibilities.
Tips for After Your Frozen Embryo Transfer
Your doctor will give you instructions after your FET procedure. We offer general tips, but if they conflict with your physician's directions, defer to your doctor.
Some general, common-sense measures you can take following your FET procedure to encourage a positive outcome for you and your partner:
- Pamper yourself with rest at home for up to three days. While it’s permitted to return to normal activities, make sure you avoid any strenuous activity for a couple days.
- Continue your exercise routine if approved by your doctor.
- Sleep in any comfortable position; propping your legs up is unnecessary.
- Maintain good vaginal hygiene but douche only with your doctor's permission.
- Avoid processed foods, herbal teas, alcoholic beverages, and anything that contains caffeine.
- Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Continue to take any prescribed hormone medication until instructed to stop.
Now for a few specifics.
Water Exposure - Bathing or Swimming
You are not restricted from swimming, bathing, or engaging in intercourse after the embryo transfer. While some post-uterine/vaginal surgeries might recommend avoiding these activities, the embryo transfer process is similar to IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and does not increase the risk of infection. Studies have shown that it is safe to continue your usual activities during this time. If you have any concerns or specific questions, please feel free to discuss them with your doctor.
During the wait time following FET, you'll probably find yourself checking often for symptoms of early pregnancy. Some of the common post-procedure symptoms that may also indicate a successful embryo transfer include:
- Light bleeding or spotting. This could indicate successful implantation. It could also be in response to hormone medications, or even be an early sign of transfer failure.
- Cramping. This can occur immediately following any pelvic procedure. It can be an early sign of a successful transfer or an unsuccessful one.
- Tender breasts. This is one of the early signs of pregnancy but can also be a side effect of hormone medication.
- Fatigue. Feeling tired and fatigued may begin on day one after your FET. Fatigue will hit most around the time your period is due.
- Nausea. This usually starts in the second month of pregnancy, so discuss it with your doctor if it comes calling following your FET.
- Constipation. An increase in progesterone levels can leave you feeling bloated and facing a case of constipation. This can happen if you're pregnant, taking progesterone, or about to start your period.
The Pregnancy Test...Finally!
After you've survived the wait, you can finally take the pregnancy test! You can do a home test, and your doctor will do one in the office for your record and to confirm your (hopefully!) positive result. Pregnancy testing for frozen embryo transfers (FET) is usually done around 9-10 days after the transfer. This differs from fresh transfers, where testing is typically conducted two weeks after egg retrieval. Your care team will review this timeline with you to ensure you’re informed and prepared.
Need more information? Connect with us for the personalized advice and guidance you're looking for in your fertility journey.