An embryo transfer is the last in vitro fertilization (IVF) process.
During IVF, fertility medications stimulate the ovaries to release healthy eggs. These eggs are then removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilized in a lab. Once the fertilized eggs have multiplied, the embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus.
For a pregnancy to begin, the embryo must attach itself to the wall of her womb or uterus.
When embryo transfer is needed
IVF and embryo transfer are needed when natural fertilization is not an option or has difficulty occurring. There are many reasons for embryo transfer, including:
- Ovulation disorders: If ovulation is infrequent, fewer eggs are available for successful fertilization.
- Damage to Fallopian tubes: The Fallopian tubes are the passageway through which the embryos travel to reach the uterus. If the Fallopian tubes become damaged or scarred, it is difficult for fertilized eggs to reach the womb safely.
- Endometriosis: When tissue from the uterus implants and grows outside the uterus. This can affect how the female reproductive system works.
- Premature ovarian failure: If the ovaries fail, they do not regularly produce average amounts of estrogen-release eggs.
- Uterine fibroids: Fibroids are small, benign tumors on the uterus walls. They can interfere with an egg’s ability to plant itself in the uterus, preventing pregnancy.
- Genetic disorders: Some genetic disorders are known to avoid pregnancy from occurring.
- Impaired sperm production: In men, low sperm production, poor movement of the sperm, damage to the testes, or semen abnormalities are all reasons natural fertilization may fail.