When to transfer? The pros and cons

Last update I had on the development of our embryos was Wednesday morning (Day 1)…we had 4 fertilised eggs.  Today (Day 2) we do not know what has happened to them.  Tomorrow (Day 3) at 7AM we are going in to potentially have a day 3 embryo transfer.  So we have been debating about our decision to do a day 3 or a day 5 transfer.  Without any knowledge of the status of our embryos everything is rather circumspect.  So we discussed the pros and cons of each scenario*.

Day 3 Pros

  • Good chance of actually having a transfer!
  • Maybe the embryos will be better off developing inside me.
  • Freezing on day 3 means we have more embryos to freeze.

Day 5 Pros

  • You get to transfer the best embryos
  • Physiological conditions – embryos (blastocysts) would normally be in the uterus at the stage – so they are in the right place!
  • Reduces the chance of multiples
  • If the embryos don’t make it to day 5, then there isn’t a 2 week wait to find out and therefore less medication.
  • good quality embryos (blastocysts) frozen.
  • Better chances body has recovered from egg retrieval.

Day 3 cons

  • A greater chance of multiples
  • Embryos normally would be in the fallopian tube on this day
  • Poorer quality embryos may be frozen
  • Lower quality or ‘wrong’ embryos may be transferred
  • Body not fully recovered from egg retrieval procedure  – I am actually still massively bloated, my abdomen is sore and hard, walking is still not my greatest past time at the moment, I still have constipation and I am still bleeding a little bit (Initially thought I was peeing blood today!).

Day 5 cons

  • Embryos may not grow to blastocyst (usually due to abnormal genetics – although isn’t this a good thing?)
  • There is a risk of no transfer at all (crazy emotions could be a point here)
  • Potentially less embryos to freeze
  • May loose some embryos that would have grown inside the body

After our discussions we both believed that we would probably want to wait to transfer to day 5, but we will wait to see what the doctor suggests.  I feel like we will have to make a decision on the spot which is a bit scary.  And it is both of our decisions, not just mine and not just Chris’s either :-s Eeeek, I’m nervous!!!

*This list was mostly adapted from the book: IVF: A Patient’s Guide by Rebecca Matthews

IVF a patient's guide

8 thoughts on “When to transfer? The pros and cons

  1. EmilyMaine says:

    It is such a hard choice when you have to be the one to choose. If you are still quite bloated they may not do it. I have another blogger friend sent home from her day 3 transfer because of this. I’ve only ever had one transfer and I found it to be the toughest and most emotional part of the process. My thoughts are with you. Good luck! X


  2. g2the4thpower says:

    It’s very tough and holy moly stressful to be at this stage – I was in tears when put on the spot (alone, without DW) having to make the decision to wait the OH out and let my embryos grow a couple more days… I felt like vomiting I was so stressed! (maybe the OH didn’t help that too). What my doc told me was that in my clinic they will always recommend a 5dt if at day 3 there are still 4 decent looking ones in the running. If there on the other hand there is only one, they’d suggest doing a 3dt to increase the odds. I wish you a boat load of clarity in making this decision, and I hope for you to have all four still going strong tomorrow! Xx


  3. ashleykyleanderson says:

    Does your clinic not give a Day 2 update? I’m sorry you’re facing such a difficult and stressful decision when you are already at a lower point. I’m hoping that what they tell you tomorrow will make your choice obvious and that you have a very good chance of making it to a 5dt! Thinking of you guys and those embryos! And wishing you lots & lots of luck.


  4. Nara says:

    Wow, I never realised you got to choose. We had our decision made by the doctors based on how the embryos were developing on day 2. My understanding is that in the NHS they always go for Day 5 unless it looks like they won’t get there, in which case they do Day 3. You’ve laid out the pros and cons very clearly so I hope you feel at peace with whatever decision you make. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      That’s really interesting to know! We ended up not having much of a choice because of our low number of embryos. We signed something in the terms and conditions about that they don’t recommend waiting til 5 days if you have less than 6 embryos on day 3. We forgot to look at this piece of paper until the night before!!! Probably would have helped us with our decision 🙂 !!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nara says:

        Yeah – you never know as sometimes I think it’s better to go with putting the embryos in, as that’s where they develop best I think! Anyway your pics looked waaay clearer than ours did – they look absolutely beautiful little raspberries! 🙂


  5. workingwomensivf says:

    We have always done day 2 but we are aiming to grow to day 5 this cycle. Our re said if we have less than 4 the we may do day 2 or 3. I am already so nervous about the decisions next week and we aren’t even at pick up yet! Crossing my fingers for you!!!


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