Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Is it a reality that embryo transfer needs complete bed rest?

Is it a reality that embryo transfer needs complete bed rest?
Infertile couples talk a lot about the treatment to their friends and relatives and collect loads of wanted/unwanted information with them. It is further easy to search information on the Internet, irrespective of its validity or necessity. We infertility experts and our technicians struggle hard to clarify these misconceptions. Believe me, it is a marathon task. Sometimes, these concepts are so deeply rooted that we have to spend immense energy in clarifying them. Counseling is an important aspect of infertility treatment. We use it not only for clarifying the technical facets of infertility treatment, but to clarify the doubts and misconceptions also.

Bed rest after an embryo transfer, the popular misconception
One of the biggest worries, especially for the working women is about the so-called “mandatory” bed rest after an embryo transfer.  It is hard to believe, yet true that many women postpone the decision of embryo transfer due to non-availability of leave. Patients believe that the transferred embryo is very “fragile” because it is inserted by the doctors. Jerks, movements, or exertion may result in falling out from the uterus since it is not a “natural” embryo!

The truth
It takes quite a long time for us to convince patients about the reality. Various arguments need to be given justifying it:

•    The structure of our body has been designed quite wisely by the nature. An embryo is placed at such location that the normal bodily activities could not cause harm to it. Jerks during the routine activities like coughing, sneezing or walking do not harm the embryo at all.
•    Technically there is no difference between the so-called “natural” embryo and the “transferred” one. Both get placed at the same location in the uterus and body responds to them in the same way.  Once it gets attached to the uterus, it hardly matters whether it was created in a bedroom or in a laboratory.
•    When the pregnancy happens in the normal way, women have to follow certain precautions. They are just the normal ones like not lifting heavy weights or not doing too much exertion. It is restricted to participate in activities like athletics and gymnastics during pregnancy. The same restrictions are applicable to the embryo transfer also.
•    There is no need of forcible bed rest after an embryo transfer unless there are valid reasons for the same. Rather, it can be quite demoralizing and devastating for a woman to be confined in the home without any apparent reason.  You tend to think endlessly about the pregnancy and possible outcome after 9 months.
•    Infertile couples face a dreadful time during the notorious two week’s waiting period (technically referred as 2WW) when they wait for the pregnancy test after a successful embryo transfer. These two weeks are considered the longest weeks in the life. A bed rest followed by it could be fully miserable to the couples.
Embryo transfer is just a biological process performed with an external aid. There is no need to make an awe of it and follow unnecessary misconceptions!

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