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Why do I need a full bladder for an embryo transfer?

Embryo transfer is a frequently performed procedure within assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF treatment). Its primary aim is to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy by carefully introducing one or more fertilised embryos into the woman’s uterus. During this process, you might be surprised to learn that having a full bladder is actually recommended. But why is this seemingly unrelated step so important?

The key lies in the technology used for precise embryo placement – ultrasound. Unlike internal vaginal ultrasounds used for monitoring follicles, embryo transfer relies on an abdominal ultrasound. A full bladder acts as a window, transmitting sound waves more effectively. This allows the doctor to visualize your internal organs, particularly your uterus, with greater clarity.

But the benefits go beyond a clear view. A full bladder also gently pushes your uterus downwards and tilts it into a more horizontal position. This optimal positioning makes it easier for the doctor to guide the catheter containing the embryos through the cervix and into the ideal location within the uterine lining.

Fertility First recommends that you drink one or two glasses beforehand, not so much that you’re uncomfortably full, but so that you have enough in your bladder for the procedure. When the transfer is over, you can go straight to the bathroom without fear of losing the freshly transferred embryo.


Addressing Your Concerns

The embryo transfer process can involve many questions. Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns you have about the full bladder requirement with your fertility specialist. They can address your specific needs and provide clear instructions to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience.

By understanding the reasons behind having a full bladder and openly communicating with your doctor, you can approach the embryo transfer process with confidence.
Looking for more information about the embryo transfer process? We answer more commonly asked questions in our Do I Have to Lie Down After the Embryo Transfer? guide.