Have you just recently had a frozen embryo transfer (FET) and can’t wait to know if you are pregnant? Are there any positive signs after an embryo transfer through IVF that you could look out for to help you find out if you are pregnant?
That waiting is eating you alive, I know – I have been there! And the short answer it yes, there are some early signs you can look out for to indicate a positive pregnancy. However, there’s a few things to keep in mind before you get too excited. So, let me explain!
The Two-Week Wait After IVF or IUI
Let me start by saying that I know how excruciating the first couple of weeks after embryo transfer can be. Between my wife and I, we’ve been through a few IFV and IUI cycles, and the two weeks post embryo transfer (or sperm injection) are definitely the hardest.
If you are reading this article after IVF or a fertility treatment, you are probably spending a lot of time poking your breasts to see if they are a bit tender (by the way, the more you poke them, the more tender they get!). Or you are trying to work out whether your headache is a sign of pregnancy, or if it’s due to your stress levels.
I have been there, the wait feels like an eternity!
And, unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will tell you with certainty whether you are pregnant or not until two weeks after embryo transfer. You just have to be very patient.
That said, the positive signs that IVF has worked listed below are all a good indication that you could be pregnant, and might spark a bit of hope and optimism to get you through the next few days.
Positive Signs After Embryo Transfer Fertility Treatment
Here’s a list of early signs that you could experience within 14 days from the date of the embryo transfer, and that could mean that you are pregnant:
- Abdominal cramping
- Slight spotting or light bleeding
- Swelling of the breasts
- Sensitivity to smell
- Increased basal body temperature (BBT)
The good news? If you experience any of these, you could be pregnant. The bad news? You could also experience any of these symptoms if you’re not pregnant! The good news again? You could still be pregnant even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms!
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms could also be signs that your period is coming. And if you’ve never experienced pre-menstrual signs, don’t be fooled. The hormones that you took during the IVF cycle will probably change that.
I remember getting all excited because my breasts got extremely big and hard a few days after IUI and that had never happened to me before my period. Turned out I was not pregnant and the big breasts were just a result of the hormones I took to regulate my period.
On the other hand, my wife got very big and sore breasts after IVF embryo transfer and turned out she was actually pregnant! So, you can never now for sure.
Also note that these signs are the same early signs of pregnancy for any woman, whether they had IVF or fell pregnant naturally. The good news about IVF embryo transfer though, is that you know exactly at what stage the embryo is at and could be more precise with your calculations 🙂
Note: if you are experiencing other symptoms not listed here, know that there are also other strange and more uncommon early pregnancy signs that women can experience in early pregnancy.
1) Abdominal Cramping
If successful, an embryo will implant in the lining of your uterus about 6 to 10 days after egg retrieval. Which should be 1 to 5 days after the embryo transfer. When the implantation occurs, you could experience some cramping in the abdomen.
However, be mindful that cramping could also be due to the fertility hormones you are taking, or to the actual IVF pelvic procedure.
Remember to rest as much as you can post the IVF procedures and the embryo transfer to reduce any anxiety or stress: this should also help with cramping. Or, another tip to reduce discomfort is to use a heating pad or have a warm bath.
2) Spotting or Bleeding
When implantation occurs, some capillaries of the uterine lining might also break and this will cause some light bleeding or spotting after embryo transfer. It’s known as implantation spotting.
Same as per the cramping: if it happens, it will happen 1 to 5 days after the embryo transfer.
Do not panic if you get some spotting or bleeding! This symptom usually gets women extremely worried but, remember, it can be a good sign!
3) Swelling of the breasts
As I mentioned before, big and hard breast may as well be a sign that you are pregnant. This can happen as early as 1 to 2 weeks after the egg retrieval. Meaning straight after implantation occurs or shortly after the IVF embryo transfer.
Big, hard and sore breasts are the results of immediate hormonal changes and increased blood flow after implantation. And are one of the most common body changes after embryo transfer
However, remember that swollen or sore breast can also be the results of the hormones that you are taking.
4) Sensitivity to Smell
Another positive sign is an increased sensitivity to smell, and it can happen as early as within the two weeks after embryo transfer.
I found this one to be quite funny – almost every pregnant woman experiences this and it’s just amazing how you won’t stand certain smells anymore. I personally could not stand the smell of broccoli (who does, you might say! Well, I usually do… ). If I did smell them, all I wanted to do was run to the bathroom to throw up!
This change in sensitiveness is due to the pregnancy hormone estrogen and, the even funnier part is that it will go away the moment your baby is out! The change will be instant.
5) Increased Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
BBT is the lowest body temperature you can get when you are fully rested and relaxed (usually when you are asleep). It can be measured with a basal thermometer the moment you wake up from a sleep.
After conception, the BBT goes up by one degree and stays elevated throughout the whole pregnancy. So, if you’ve been tracking it throughout fertility treatment already, you can probably notice the change and tell if you have conceived shortly after embryo transfer.
I personally tried to track my BBT when I was trying to get pregnant with IVF and IUI. My acupuncturist suggested I did it. However, it was causing me stress more than anything else. Every time the temperature didn’t look right I would just worry there was something wrong, so I stopped after a few weeks.
6) Headaches, Nausea and Fatigue
Headaches, nausea or fatigue are also other possible positive signs post IVF and embryo transfer and they are all due to the changes in hormones after implantation. Therefore, they could happen any time after implantation, including within the first two weeks after the embryo transfer.
Did you also know that excessive nausea and fatigue are early symptoms of a girl pregnancy? If you want to have an early guess at your baby’s sex, watch out for these!
- 7 Baby Girl Symptoms during Early Pregnancy (from 1st Trimester!)
- 7 Baby Boy Symptoms during Early Pregnancy (from 1st Trimester!)
How Soon After the Embryo Transfer Can You Do A Pregnancy Test?
Regardless of whether after your embryo transfer you experienced any of the signs I’ve described, you are probably wondering how soon after the IVF treatment you can or should do a pregnancy test.
Now, this is a hard one to answer. Medical professionals will tell you not to do a pregnancy test at home and wait for the blood tests. If the test turns out to be negative, it could be too early for the stick to pick up the hormones, and this could cause unnecessary stress.
So a little voice somewhere in your head will tell you to be patient and listen to them. Another bigger voice in your head, coupled with your racing and excited heart, will tell you to try a pregnancy test at home.
How could that hurt after IVF and embryo transfer? If positive you can be happy earlier and be done with the waiting. If negative, you still have hope that the blood tests will give you a different result. Or at least that’s what happened with my wife and I the first time 🙂
The reality is that it’s not all so black and white. There’s a whole range of emotions that you may be experiencing as a result of the fertility treatment and they may vary a lot depending on your personality.
I believe whether or not you should take a pregnancy test earlier than the blood tests depends on how well you think you can handle it if it comes back negative.
Early Pregnancy Tests
One thing is a fact though. There are early pregnancy tests that could pick up pregnancy hormones as early as 8 days after conception. Meaning 8 days from embryo retrieval!
I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter after I did a pregnancy tests as early as I could. A tiny fainted line, but it was there, and I was all over the moon. That said, this was after I got quite a few negative pregnancy tests with failed cycles before.
But there was no way I could have waited! That’s just me. My wife on the other hand, after two failed cycles when we did early pregnancy tests at home, decided to wait for the blood test the third time. And third time lucky 🙂
I should also mention that you shouldn’t get too excited with a positive blood test! We made that mistake with our first failed attempt. The hormones levels were good at the first blood test, but already declining at the second one after a couple of days.
I would wait a few blood tests confirming the rise in hormones before you can celebrate.
Emotional Times After IVF Embryo Implantation
I don’t think there’s much that can compare to the emotional roller coaster that women go through with fertility treatment and embryo implantation. The wait to finally get a donor (if you do need one), the hormones, all the blood tests, waiting every time for a phone call to find out what the next step is. The excitement, the frustration, the patience required.
And we often go through it with just our partner, without telling friends or family, to avoid hiding the disappointment and tears when things don’t work out.
But when that day finally comes, when the embryo is transferred into your uterus with IVF, all those emotions sky rocket so high you could walk out of the fertility clinic and be shaking in your whole body.
I don’t think people that don’t go through fertility issues can really understand. All that wait, all that money. And no guarantee.
So, when you are finally almost there, when you know there’s a pretty good chance that embryo will turn into a little person growing inside of you… let me tell you, it’s such a mind-craze.
My wife and I have been through both multiple cycles of IUI and three rounds of IVF and were lucky enough to end up with two beautiful daughters. But I remember the days of fertility treatment as the most stressful days of my life.
So, I know that if you are reading this post, you are probably looking for that tiny light at the end of the tunnel. A confirmation that if you had a bit of a sore tummy, or maybe at pink-ish spot on your underwear, then you are definitely pregnant.
The honest truth is that there is no certain way to find out if you are pregnant or not until a pregnancy or blood test tells you so. I know you’ve been waiting forever and it feels like these extra few days of waiting are going to kill you. But hang in there.
It might not be this time, maybe it will be the next one. Or maybe you are about to celebrate one of the happiest days of your life as you find out you are carrying a glimpse of new life inside of you.
Whatever that may be, try not to overthink it until you do the blood tests. And I say “try” because I know it’s SO hard!
Increase Your Chances of Falling Pregnant After Embryo Transfer
I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven or not, but so many times women that have struggled with infertility only end up falling pregnant when they actually stop trying to conceive. I think there’s something about letting go that actually relaxes your whole body, allowing mother nature to take its course.
When we go through fertility treatment, the stress that comes with it sometimes ends up being counter productive. So, try and relax as much as possible: my wife took a whole week off from work after the third and last implant.
Here are some suggestions:
- Do yoga or meditation (or there’s lots of other pregnancy exercises that you can do and that are safe for all trimesters)
- Reach out to support groups.
- Do a session of acupuncture: both my wife and I had acupuncture sessions following the sperm injection / embryo transfer.
- Go for walks (without overdoing it though!).
- Do anything that would normally distract your mind. Bear in mind it’s usually recommended you don’t anything that would over-heat the body, such as saunas, hot baths, intense physical activity.
You can read more on how much stress affects fertility here. Also, check out Monica Bivas: she’s a fertility coach, with an online community for couples seeking or undergoing IVF treatment. She offers a free appointment for people seeking help.
Final Thoughts Spotting Positive Signs After Embryo Transfer
I’ve described the most common positive signs that IVF embryo transfer has worked together with tips to deal with the two-week wait – and even ideas to increase your chances of falling pregnant.
So to summarize, and if you are more looking into a day by day symptoms after embryo transfer, here’s what you can expect:
- Spotting: 1 to 5 days after FET
- Swelling of the breasts: 2 to 9 days after FET
- Sensitivity to smell: anytime within the 2 weeks wait, from as soon as implantation happens
- Increased BBT: anytime within the 2 weeks wait, from as soon as implantation happens
- Headache, nausea, fatigue: anytime within the 2 weeks wait, from as soon as implantation happens
I know going through fertility in general, and waiting for the test results post the IVF and embryo transfer, can be really hard and stressful. Particularly if you are going through it alone. But really try to relax as much as possible: two weeks might seem like an eternity but they will be over eventually.
If you do end up being pregnant, first of all congratulations – how exciting! Then don’t forget to also check out these other posts with tips and information on how to survive all the pregnancy symptoms and take care of yourself:
- 8 Tips for Coping with Anxiety During Pregnancy
- How to Cope with Pregnancy after Loss
- Pregnancy Survival Kit (30+ Essentials for Mom & Dad)
- Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy (What it is & Benefits)
- Best Pregnancy & Antenatal Exercises safe for all Trimesters (and for easier labor!)
- 20+ Fun & Creative Ways to Announce Pregnancy to Family
- 30+ Cute & Funny Ways to Announce Pregnancy on Social Media
- 20+ Remedies for Heartburn during Pregnancy (and Tips on how to prevent it)
All the best and good luck for your results 🙂
Are you a mama that got pregnant with IVF and experienced other early symptoms that are not listed here? Or are you in the two-weeks wait and have some more questions that haven’t been answered above? Then please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!