The waiting may seem endless and many people will want to keep a close eye on any signs that may indicate a successful embryo transfer, but the only truly positive sign that an embryo transfer has been successful is a positive pregnancy test. Preferably done by the clinic, around seven days after the embryo transfer. This is much more reliable than a home pregnancy test, which may detect the hormones you’ve been taking for IVF as a sign of pregnancy and give you a false positive.

Symptoms after embryo transfer 

You may experience a variety of symptoms after the transfer, which could be early signs of implantation/pregnancy, however, it’s important to note that they could also be related to the IVF medication, side effects from having a procedure, or the onset of a menstrual period.  These symptoms may include:

  • Light bleeding or spotting
  • Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Tender or sore breasts
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • An increase in vaginal discharge
  • A missed period

If you feel unsure about any symptoms that you are experiencing during the waiting time after embryo transfer, or at any other time, you can ask your GP or fertility specialist for advice.

Sometimes, you will experience no symptoms at all after embryo transfer and you may still go on to have a positive test at the clinic after seven days, confirming that you are pregnant.

What makes the clinic test more accurate than a home test?

The timing is the most important factor. Implantation usually occurs 1-5 days after the embryo transfer. The blastocyst emerges and the embryo attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. This is when you may notice implantation bleeding/spotting.  As the embryo starts to get bigger, more hCG will be produced, which can then be detected by a blood test at the clinic. The clinic may also/alternatively test your urine for signs of pregnancy.

If I have a positive pregnancy test, what will happen next?

Your fertility clinic will let you know when you will need to have your first scan and any further appointments. They can also advise you on things like diet for pregnancy, the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and what signs and symptoms you may experience.

If I have a negative pregnancy test, what will happen next?

Your fertility clinic or hospital can give you advice on how to proceed, including offering counselling and support and talking you through possible future options. If you decide that you would like to try another cycle of IVF, it’s important to wait until you are ready emotionally, as well as physically, to start another cycle.

How can the IVF Network help you on your fertility journey?

We have medical experts on hand to offer up-to-date information and advice on a range of topics related to IVF and fertility.

We understand and, in some cases, have first-hand experience of going through IVF ourselves, so we know the many challenges it can present, physically, emotionally and logistically.

As everyone is different, with their own medical and personal circumstances, there is no one size fits all approach and online research can feel overwhelming. Our dedicated channel, website and blog posts will provide you with straightforward information and support, so that you can make informed choices on your own, personal fertility journey.