About nine to twelve days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is ordered. This is usually a serum pregnancy test (more blood work) and also will include progesterone levels testing. The test may be repeated every few days.
If the test is positive (yeah!), you may need to keep taking the progesterone supplementation for another several weeks. Your doctor will also follow up with occasional blood work and ultrasounds to monitor the pregnancy and watch for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. During IVF treatment, miscarriage occurs up to 15% of the time in women under age 35, 25% of women age 40 and up and 35% of the time after age 42.
Your doctor will also monitor whether or not the treatment led to a multiple pregnancy. If it's a high-order pregnancy (4 or more), your doctor may discuss the option of reducing the number of fetuses in a procedure called a "multifetal pregnancy reduction." This is sometimes done to increase the chances of having a healthy and successful pregnancy.
When IVF Treatment Fails
If the pregnancy test is still negative 12 to 14 days post-transfer, however, your doctor will ask you to stop taking the progesterone, and you'll wait for your period to start. The next step will be decided among you, your partner and your doctor.
Having a treatment cycle fail is never easy. It's heartbreaking. It's important, however, to keep in mind that having one cycle fail doesn't mean you won't be successful if you try again.
ART: Step-By-Step Guide. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Accessed August 28, 2008. http://www.sart.org/Guide_ARTStepByStepGuide.html
Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Guide For Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Accessed August 28, 2008. http://asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/ART.pdf