When a couple is labeled as infertile, they have to bear a great deal of trauma as months and years drag by, with the joy of parenthood eluding them. A slightest ray of hope brings immense excitement as they visualize the realization of their dreams. They would go to any extent to transform this dream into reality and this feeling sometimes takes the proportions of an obsession. Money, time, physical pain, complicated procedures…….everything seems just insignificant when weighed against the possibility of holding their little one in their arms.

Patients undergoing treatments such as IVF take every possible precaution to maximize the chances of success. IVF treatment involves a series of steps, namely ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, embryo culture and embryo transfer. All these processes are delicate and complicated and require expertise of the specialists along with care and caution on the behalf of the patient. Talking about bed rest during IVF, the need for the same is addressed to the time when embryo transfer is done.

Is bed rest advice actually practical for IVF patients?

IVF is not a new treatment. In fact, it has been around for three decades now and a lot has changed for the patients over this period of time, as advancement in medical technology has increased its success rate. Constant research too has increased the understanding of the doctors as well as awareness of the patients, and both have become more and more confident about the treatment.

Thirty years ago, specialists advised the IVF patients to be confined to bed after the crucial step of embryo transfer and they were probably justified in doing so. That was the time when the patients were not allowed to stand up for a few hours after the procedure and even asked to use a bedpan if they had to urinate. Gradually, it was realized that lying down on the bed, in no way, improved the chances of implantation of the embryo and the fact was backed by extensive research and dedicated studies.

Can bed rest influence the outcome of an IVF cycle?

Though common people would tend to think that the embryo would probably succumb to gravitational pull once the patient stood up after the procedure, the truth is that it is snugly packed and completely safe inside the womb. It would also be practical to compare an IVF embryo with the one conceived in the bedroom. Does the doctor advice bed rest to a woman who conceives naturally, when implantation takes place the same way for her as it happens for an IVF patient?

Bed rest can actually have a negative impact on the patient as it can create unnecessary stress about the outcome, as the woman lies down idle in bed. On the other hand, staying active and happy can help women cope with the two week wait period (the time period between embryo transfer and confirmation of pregnancy) with a more positive approach. The patients needs to be aware about the fact that what they eat and do has nothing to do with the fate of the cycle because implantation is a biological process rather than a mechanical one, and this is where a fertility clinic can help them out. Overall, it is the quality of the embryo and endometrial receptivity (ability of the endometrial lining to have the embryo attached to it), which can influence the IVF success rate.

Medical research and practical reasons provide ample support to the theory that bed rest is not required after IVF, though the patient can abstain from strenuous activities for a day or two. She can resume normal routine after that and try to keep positively occupied. It is important to realize that the fate of a cycle is decided by nature.  If every part of the procedure has been carried out properly, it is no use taking stress or finding reason to blame oneself or the clinic in case of an unfortunate event.

A reputed fertility clinic, Gaudium IVF not only focuses on providing the best treatment to its patients, but also generating awareness and helping them face the challenge in a better manner. A free second opinion by Dr Manika Khanna can make all the difference for those combating complex infertility issues.