The Trial Run: Is A Mock Embryo Transfer Helpful For IVF Success?

The Trial Run: Is A Mock Embryo Transfer Helpful For IVF Success?

Practice Getting Pregnant

People using in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant want the best shot at success. Sometimes, a fertility specialist may recommend a mock embryo transfer. This practice run usually happens a month before the embryo transfer, allowing the doctor to evaluate the cervix and uterus. A mock transfer allows the doctor to prepare for the actual embryo transfer, possibly increasing the chance of success.


The importance of embryo transfer

Getting pregnant with IVF involves many steps, including medication use, bloodwork, ultrasound, ovulation stimulation, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer. Most doctors agree that embryo transfer is the most important part of the cycle. Placing the baby-to-be in the woman’s uterus at precisely the right time can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

What is a mock transfer?

Practice makes perfect. A mock embryo transfer is essentially a practice run for the doctor. The trial run is most commonly performed a month before the real transfer. However, the doctor may also perform the mock run during egg retrieval or on the same day as the actual embryo transfer. Patients are usually asked to come to the procedure with a full bladder. Then, while the patient is lying down, the doctor uses a speculum to insert a catheter through the cervix into the uterus. The main goals of the mock transfer are to make sure the catheter can enter the cervix smoothly and figure out the preferred path from the cervix to the best spot in the uterus. If any roadblocks, such as a fibroid, are identified, the actual transfer may be delayed.

Fake transfer, real pain?

Most women with a mock embryo transfer will not experience any pain. Many people describe the procedure as similar to a yearly pap smear. Some minor cramping may occur when the catheter is inserted, but the cramps should stop once the practice run is over. For most women, the full bladder is more of a pain than the procedure. If the mock transfer is done during egg retrieval, the patient will be under general anesthesia, so nothing will be felt.

Easy vs difficult transfers

Although the science is still out on whether the mock transfer can improve pregnancy rates, the procedure can provide important information. A recent study found that chances of pregnancy were reduced in cases of difficult mock transfer or when blood was present on the catheter tip. On the other hand, women who experienced an easy practice trans¬fer were more likely to have a successful subsequent embryo transfer. Importantly, allowing an early view of the implantation field can increase the doctor’s precision when the transfer time comes.

Moving forward with a mock trial

For women undergoing IVF, a mock transfer can be helpful but doesn’t guarantee that the actual transfer will be a success. The fertility specialist will let the patient know if the information obtained from a practice run can be helpful. If a mock trial is suggested, patients can rest assured that this short and easy procedure will not pose a risk to the IVF cycle.

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