Frequently asked questions


How do I determine which day is day 1 of my period?

Day 1 is when you have red bleeding and need to use sanitary protection. If this bleeding occurs after midday, then the following day is classed as day 1. If you are only spotting this is not counted as day 1.


Do I need to bring anything with me to my scan appointments?

It is very important that you bring this treatment guide with you to every scan appointment and for your egg collection and embryo transfer as the nurses will write important information for you to follow. 


Do I have to have counselling?

Yes, if you are having treatment that involves donated eggs, sperm, embryos or surrogacy to help you explore the implications.


I am already seeing a counsellor can I continue seeing them?

Yes, having support during treatment is strongly encouraged.


Should I take Folic Acid?

Yes, it is very important that you take folic acid, if you become pregnant it is important to continue taking this until 12 weeks of pregnancy.


What sort of diet should I have?

Diet i.e. the mixture of food and drink you consume has a powerful influence on your health and wellbeing in the short, medium and long term. The Public Heath England in association with the Welsh Government Eat Well Guide (2018) recommends that you:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible.
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks); choosing lower fat and lower sugar options.
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily).
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts.
  • Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day.
  • If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts.


Can I take painkillers during the treatment?

Paracetamol is safe to take at all stages of treatment as long as you are not allergic to it. Ibuprofen should not be used at any time during the treatment.


Is it normal to have increased vaginal mucus during my treatment?

Yes, it is normal for you to see an increase in clear vaginal discharge during your treatment.


I notice that some of the pessary leaks out - is this normal?

Yes, enough of the drug in the pessary is absorbed. To aid absorption try to lay down for 20 minutes after inserting pessaries vaginally. If used rectally then you should not open your bowels for an hour after inserting the pessary, if you do then another dose is required.


Do I take my pessary on the day of embryo transfer?

Yes, however please take the pessary on the morning of your transfer rectally. Following the transfer please continue vaginally or rectally at your preference.


What can I take to alleviate constipation?

Please drink plenty of fluid and consume foods which have a high fibre content daily i.e. Bran Flakes. Prune juice can help but if you are still constipated despite this then Lactulose is safe to use at any time during the treatment. This can be bought over the counter at any chemist. Please try to avoid stimulant laxative such as Senna.


Will the embryos fall out if I stand or go to the toilet?

No. Neither standing, walking, running, coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet will cause your embryo to fall out.


How long should I be resting after the embryo transfer?

Medical research shows that implantation and pregnancy rates are not affected by rest. After the embryo transfer you are safe to go home.


Can I exercise following embryo transfer?

Yes, however we do advise low impact exercise. Low impact exercises are exercises that do not put a lot of stress on your body for example walking or cycling.


Can I go to work?

You will need the day of egg collection and the following day off work. There is no good evidence that rest improves success rates, but you should do what you feel comfortable doing. If you have concerns that the work you are involved in may have an effect on the outcome of your treatment, you will need to discuss this with your work place or your General Practitioner. We recommend that you do not undertake any heavy lifting following your embryo transfer.


Can I climb the stairs?

Yes, it is fine to climb the stairs.


Can I do housework?

Yes, it is fine to do housework.


Can I have a bath or shower?

Yes, it is fine to have a shower however, we would not recommend having a bath or using a hot tub following embryo transfer.


Can I drink alcohol after embryo transfer?

Experts are still unsure exactly how much – if any – alcohol is safe for you to have if pregnant, so the safest approach is not to drink at all.


Can I fly after embryo transfer?

Yes, but you will need to try and keep active – move around where possible and stretch your calf muscles. Make sure you keep well hydrated and avoid alcohol. We generally suggest that after a positive pregnancy test and before your 6-week scan that you avoid long-haul flights until we know for sure that the pregnancy is developing correctly as there is always a small risk of ectopic pregnancy which may not always cause symptoms.


Can I have intercourse after embryo transfer?

Yes, there is no evidence to suggest that intercourse can cause problems but this should be avoided if there is a history of bleeding.


Are there any foods which I should avoid after embryo transfer?

Yes, the NHS guide on foods to avoid in pregnancy advises to avoid consuming:

  • Mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating on the outside, such as brie and camembert. Soft blue cheeses such as Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort. Any foods made from unpasteurised milk, such as soft goats' cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat, liver and liver products, all types of pâté, including vegetarian pâté and game meats such as goose, partridge or pheasant.
  • Raw or partially cooked eggs that are not British Lion, duck, goose or quail eggs, unless cooked thoroughly until the whites and yolks are solid.
  • Too much caffeine. You can have caffeine, but no more than 200mg per day. For example, there is 100mg in a mug of instant coffee, 75mg in a mug of tea (green tea can have the same amount of caffeine as regular tea), 40mg in a can of cola, less than 10mg in a 50g bar of plain milk chocolate.

Can I take a pregnancy test before the date that I have been advised?

The urine pregnancy test will only give a reliable reading if done on the date given to you by the nurse on the day of embryo transfer. If performed earlier, it may give you a false reading.


What should I do if I have some bleeding after embryo transfer?

A little bleeding whilst you are waiting to do your pregnancy test or in early pregnancy can be common, please continue with your medication, you must do a urine test on the date given to you. If you are concerned or are experiencing any pain, please call the nursing team for advice.


What happens if I have a negative test?

Please call us, we understand that this will be a difficult call for you to make which may take you a few days however please get in touch as we are here to support you. We can also arrange counselling if you feel this would be of benefit at this time. You will be advised to stop your medication. If we do not hear from you will give you a courtesy call to check how you are and if you need anything.


Will I be referred to the GP with a positive pregnancy result?

Please call us with the results of your pregnancy test, we will arrange a scan appointment at WFI for approximately 3 weeks after you have a positive test. If everything is fine, you will then be discharged from our care and you will need to go to your GP to organise ante natal care.


Do I need to inform you of the outcome of the pregnancy?

We have an obligation to the HFEA to inform them of all outcomes following IVF/ICSI treatment in the UK. Therefore, it is important to inform us of the outcome.