What to do while waiting for the IVF or two week wait result?

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BSc, MSc (psychologist).
Last Update: 01/04/2022

Once the IVF treatment (either conventional IVF or ICSI) is completed, it is necessary to perform a pregnancy test to check if the result has been successful. This test is performed 12 to 15 days after the embryo transfer, so there is a waiting period to find out if the woman is finally pregnant or not.

Since the pregnancy test is also known as a beta-hCG test, this time interval is also referred to as a two week wait.

This waiting period is distressing for most couples, although it is recommended to try not to think about whether IVF will be successful or not. Therefore, most specialists advise to continue with the daily routine, but avoiding excessive efforts during two-week waiting.

What is the waiting time after IVF?

IVF is a widely used assisted reproduction technique. Briefly, IVF consists of ovarian stimulation of the woman, extraction of the oocytes by follicular puncture, fertilization of these in vitro with the couple's sperm (or, if applicable, with donor sperm) and subsequent transfer of the embryos to the woman's uterus after a few days of embryo development in the laboratory.

Assisted procreation, as any other medical treatment, requires that you rely on the professionalism of the doctors and staff of the clinic you choose. Obviously, each clinic is different. Get now your Fertility Report, which will select several clinics for you out of the pool of clinics that meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, it will offer you a comparison between the fees and conditions each clinic offers in order for you to make a well informed choice.

After this process, the embryo (or embryos) transferred must be implanted in the woman's uterine endometrium in order to achieve gestation. In addition, pregnancy testing cannot be performed until 12-15 days after the embryo transfer. It is essential to wait this time and not to perform the pregnancy test before so that the result is more reliable and does not produce a false negative. This wait, or two-week wait, becomes very distressing for the couple since they have put a lot of illusions, hopes, time, and money into getting pregnant.

It should be noted that, after the embryo transfer and during the beta wait, the woman can lead a normal life and does not need to rest (unless expressly indicated by the specialist). However, it is suggested that you do not make very strong physical efforts and that you do not practice intense sports.

Tips to alleviate two-week waiting

It is difficult to keep emotions under control in these days of waiting for the outcome of IVF treatment. The same question comes to mind all the time: Am I pregnant or not?

It is common at this time for women to be aware of every sensation or change in the body and take it as a good or bad sign of IVF success.

This strong emotional stress is not convenient, so some guidelines to relax such as the following are useful:

  • Do not change your daily routine by resting, unless indicated by your doctor. It is important to give normality to these days of beta wait and continue with normal life, avoiding great efforts and intense sports.
  • Perform various activities and occupy the whole day with other things. This helps to not constantly think about the outcome of IVF.
  • Make plans for 2 or 3 weeks. Having a variety of actions to take is beneficial, whether pregnancy is achieved or not.
  • Do not attempt to recognize symptoms of pregnancy.
  • Express feelings and emotions to the people closest to you, as talking helps to reduce stress. However, pregnancy should not always be the topic of conversation.

Undoubtedly, the beta wait is a difficult two weeks in which you can feel a lot of anguish. It is best for the couple to be aware that there may be a negative outcome, but that does not mean that they will not be able to achieve their desire to become parents. In addition, the couple can always resort to psychological support if they consider it necessary.

FAQs from users

Is the two-week wait also necessary in ovodonation?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Yes, any assisted reproduction treatment will have two-week wait time until the pregnancy test is performed.

This is because the pregnancy test cannot be performed too early because it could give a false-negative result, that is, a negative result even though you are pregnant. This erroneous result would occur because the beta-hCG hormone levels in early pregnancy are still so low that the test would not be able to detect them.

Do I have to be on sick leave during the two-week wait?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez BSc, MSc (embryologist).

No, during the two-week wait period you should lead a normal life. However, it is not advisable to make great efforts during beta standby, so if your work requires some kind of intense activity, you should consult with the specialist about the convenience of taking time off work.

Can I take a urine pregnancy test during the two-week wait?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez BSc, MSc (embryologist).

You can take a urine pregnancy test, but you should still wait for the appropriate date. If you perform the urine pregnancy test in advance, the result may be a false negative. Although the pregnancy hormone is present and positive, it may not yet have a sufficient concentration to be detected, giving the pregnancy test an erroneous result.

This is why assisted reproduction clinics recommend waiting 12-15 days after the embryo transfer and usually order a blood pregnancy test, which can detect lower levels of hCG hormone than urine pregnancy tests.

If you are interested in finding out more about beta expectancy and its symptoms, you can visit the following link: What is two-week wait - Symptoms and tips after treatment.

If however, you would like to know more about the IVF process, we recommend you read this article: In vitro fertilization (IVF): What is it and how much does it cost?

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References

Cozzolino M, Troiano G, Esencan E. Bed rest after an embryo transfer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2019 Nov;300(5):1121-1130.

Goacher L. In vitro fertilisation: a study of clients waiting for pregnancy test results. Nurs Stand. 1995 Oct 4-10;10(2):31-4.

Purewal S, Chapman SCE, van den Akker OBA. A systematic review and meta-analysis of psychological predictors of successful assisted reproductive technologies. BMC Res Notes. 2017 Dec 7;10(1):711.

Purewal S, Chapman SCE, van den Akker OBA. Depression and state anxiety scores during assisted reproductive treatment are associated with outcome: a meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2018 Jun;36(6):646-657.

FAQs from users: 'Is the two-week wait also necessary in ovodonation?', 'Do I have to be on sick leave during the two-week wait?' and 'Can I take a urine pregnancy test during the two-week wait?'.

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Author

 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
BSc, MSc
Psychologist
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Member number: CV16874

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