Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy Symptoms After Embryo Transfer

Early Pregnancy Symptoms after IVF Embryo Transfer

How do you know that an IVF embryo transfer worked? Here are the tools I used to decipher early pregnancy symptoms.

Given that it costs approximately $30,000 to make an embryo and $4,500 to transfer one, the pressure for it to succeed is overwhelming. Immediately after my first embryo transfer, I became consumed with Googling “what are the signs of early pregnancy success after an embryo transfer” to try and decipher if things were headed in the right direction. Unfortunately what I found was disappointing and geared towards non-IVF patients, offering gems like: “An early pregnancy symptom is missing your period.”

Try telling a woman who just spent thousands of dollars and emotional time on one procedure to wait 15 days for a missed period. It simply does not suffice. So what did get me through this difficult time and help decipher very early pregnancy symptoms after embryo transfer? Read below to find out!

Early Pregnancy Symptoms after IVF Embryo Transfer
Early Pregnancy Symptoms after Embryo Transfer: Image source InviTRA

Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms

According to research conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, the most commonly reported first signs of pregnancy are the following:

  • Missed Period
  • Nausea
  • Tender Breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Implantation Bleeding

While this list might satiate the average person who is Googling pregnancy signs after sexual intercourse, it simply can’t pass the incessantly inquiring mind of an IVF patient who has just undergone a scheduled embryo transfer and is now tapping her toe, waiting for answers.

The not-so-helpful list of early pregnancy symptoms

Here’s why these symptoms simply don’t cut it:

  • Missed Period – If you wait for this event to happen (or not happen) you might as well wait for your official pregnancy test at the clinic. This is a reliable pregnancy symptom, it just doesn’t help an IVF patient decipher any early pregnancy symptoms or signs of success.
  • Nausea – Feeling queasy is a very common pregnancy symptom due to high levels of the hCG pregnancy hormone. However, nausea won’t happen directly after an embryo transfer because the hCG hormone is simply not high enough in your system.
  • Tender Breasts – Have you ever heard of Progesterone? Google its symptoms and you’ll find that “tender breasts” are its #1 side effect. Since most IVF patients take high levels of progesterone leading up to and after their embryo transfers, this is not a reliable pregnancy symptom.
  • Fatigue – The stress and anxiety of an embryo transfer + weeks of early morning IVF monitoring leading up to the transfer + side effects of Progesterone drugs = total and utter exhaustion. This is not a reliable pregnancy symptom for an IVF patient.
  • Implantation Bleeding – This could be a legitimate early pregnancy symptom, but it doesn’t happen to everyone and you’ll have to wait until at least three to four days post transfer to gauge if it’s happening to you. Given that only 3% of the people in this study reported this as an early sign, it’s not a very reliable pregnancy symptom for an IVF patient.

The American Pregnancy Association also offers this video of the most commonly reported first signs of pregnancy, but it’s not anymore helpful to an IVF patient than the above.

Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms – Helpful Tools for IVF Patients

After undergoing a total of five embryo transfers, I can accurately report that none of the above symptoms helped me get through this difficult time. So what did help? Here’s the tools I used to help decipher any early pregnancy symptoms after an IVF embryo transfer.

  1. Comparing Symptoms in Online Forums – Online forums like The Two Week Wait are a fantastic resource to compare the symptoms you might be feeling post embryo transfer with others. Want even more help? Check out their “BFP Stories” to see if any of your symptoms match the lucky ones who fell pregnant!
  2. Comparing Symptoms from Past Transfers – I’ve kept a running master document with all of my IVF notes, questions, research, and drug instructions. I also have a special tab that documents my symptoms from each one of my embryo transfers. It felt a bit silly at first, particularly since the first few always ended in big fat negatives. However, these entries are so valuable to me now and I pore over them with each new transfer to see if I can spot any reoccurring trends.
  3. Consulting the Implantation Timeline Post Embryo Transfer* – This handy charts offers a day-by-day breakdown of what happens post embryo transfer.

What Happens After IVF Embryo Transfer

4. Reading IVF Success Stories Online – IVF success stories are the lifejackets that keep us afloat during the most difficult times. From the anecdotal (wearing warm socks post transfer) to the scientific (administering certain medications over others), each story of IVF success brings us new-found learnings that can help us spot if we’re on the right track to success during the tedious two-week wait post embryo transfer. The internet is chalk full of success stories, but check out fertility forums like FertileThoughts for more!

5. Luteal Blood Test Results – If you’re doing a medicated transfer, a luteal blood test is done halfway through the two-week wait to confirm that your progesterone levels are high enough. Although they aren’t testing for the pregnancy hormone of hCG, they can usually tell if things are looking “pregnant-ish” if your hormone levels have spiked more than usual. Whenever my luteal blood test results came back with spiked hormones, I found out I was pregnant a few days later.

6. Using Early Detection Pregnancy Tests – The most sensitive pregnancy test on the market is First Response Early Results (FRER) test which can detect hCG at concentrations as low as 6.5 mIU/ml (thousandths of an International Unit per milliliter) in your urine. As this study by Consumer Reports indicates: “That’s almost sensitive enough to detect any pregnancy soon after implantation.” However, please understand all the pros and cons of early pregnancy testing before you go this route!


Deciphering early pregnancy symptoms after an embryo transfer can be difficult and tedious, especially when reading evergreen pregnancy content that is not geared towards IVF patients. But by tapping into the IVF community, you can find support and resources to help you get through this difficult time.

*click here for what happens after a day 3 embryo transfer.

19 comments on “Early Pregnancy Symptoms After Embryo Transfer

  1. Pingback: The Outrageous Things I Thought...When I Thought I Could Be Pregnant - Making Babies in Brooklyn

  2. michelle caparino

    i want a try embryo tranfer.bcoz iwant pregnant soon. i have’a problem my block faluppian tube

    • Enzy

      Thank you so much for this information. I was looking for day to day growth of day 5 Blastocyst and after days of research, I finally got some information!
      Is it normal to have lower back pain day 2 of transfer??

    • Jenny B.

      I read your comment. I had the same issue as you. My left fallopian tube was blocked. Of course on the Ultrasound screen it just looked like I was completely missing that ovary.
      But once I started the IVF process and I was at the stage of taking all the shots, the shots unblocked that fallopian tube and the doctors were able to use both ovaries for the Egg retrieval. Just something to think about, You might have a chance to get your fallopian tube unblocked. Good Luck!

  3. Lainie

    Hi- your blog has been really informative and helpful! When you mention that your progesterone level spiked during the luteal phase, how much did it go up? And what range is good during the 2ww?

  4. Thanks for sharing this blog. This blog It’s really very useful for beginner. The information shared by you will help people

  5. Thank you for this honest post!

  6. Liz

    Thank you! I’ve just had my day 5 transfer with no information other than to leave it to nature. Your blog was the information I needed to understand what might be happening inside and how to detect pregnancy.

  7. Tasha

    I had 2 embryos transferred on 4/26 I’ve had a ton of different kinds of cramps Breast tenderness but I think that’s do to me being on PIO injections nightly in the butt lol I had some cheap pregnancy test at home already from an ovulation combo kit I purchased from Amazon so I started taking them 5 days after my transfer I got a positive but the second line wasn’t bright kinda faded I was told by my nurse since I did a trigger shot in my IVF process that it could be the HCG that was put in my body I’ve been testing myself daily still it’s a cheap test and I had 5 of them so I said what the hell today is day 7 after transfer and I woke up throwing up I also took a test this morning and the second line was much more bolder I had slight spotting this morning my Beta test is Monday morning and I’m praying for great results I’m 38 never been pregnant had to go through IVF because my tubes were removed when I was 29

  8. Anonymous

    Very useful info, thanks!

  9. Abena okanto

    I want to if it normal to get abdominal pain on your early stage of pregnancy

  10. Pakama Magoda

    I’m in day 3 transfer and really curious about what’s happening inside.

  11. Sarah

    Today is my day 14. I was too scared to go take a pregnancy test. The 2 week wait is not easy. Lord help me

  12. Pingback: After Ivf Pregnancy Symptom - My Blog

  13. Anonymous

    This post has been amazing- thank you <3 I am on day three post 5 day transfer and this is exactly what I was looking for :0

  14. Juana Cadena

    Great information!
    I would like to know, is it a most to bleed on day 5 or what that means?

  15. Anonymous

    I’ve been very positive. My Wife and I are on our second attempt. Back pain, missed period (4 days), nausea, headaches so bad…yet I felt anxious. Well I’m waking up to Test day at the Clinic. God help us

  16. Jenny B.

    This was such an interesting read, and very helpful too! The fear, doubt, and waiting to see if this expensive procedure worked is very overwhelming. It gives me hope to see that I’m not alone in this struggle. Here’s my bit of symptoms just to share, I am currently on day 25 after Embryo Transfer. I have over a week of missed period, no bleeding, no cramps. I have had a few symptoms, Major Bloating (but that’s common from the embryo transfer), Frequent urinating (but I drink a ton of water). Now here are some that I really feel are pregnancy symptoms, LOTS of gas! lol Nasty but true. Major headaches, that were so bad it made me nauseas to the point that I vomited. Dizziness everyday, especially when I’m laying down or about to get up. Last night was the first time I had a food aversion, just the smell of my just cooked home made meal made me sick. I have taken 2 Pregnancy Tests ( First Response 6 Day Early test) I took it on day 15 – Negative Result. I took another one on day 25 – Still Negative. I will be going to the doctor today to do blood test or vaginal ultrasound. I am taking Estrogen and Progesterone which I believe may be the cause of my still negative pregnancy test. Only way to know for sure is with a vaginal ultrasound or blood test. So for those still getting negative early pregnancy test results, do not lose hope! I’m almost a month in after my embryo transfer and I’m still getting Negative results. If anyone is still reading this I will come back to post my results from blood work or vaginal ultrasound.

    • Jenny B.

      First attempt of IVF did not work for us. 🙁 But we will be going later to try again. The important thing is not to lose hope.

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