The impact of embryo transfer on implantation - A review

Paolo E. Levi Setti, E. Albani, M. Cavagna, C. Bulletti, G. V. Colombo, L. Negri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Embryo transfer has received little clinical attention and has been, until recently, the most inefficient step in in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In this article, the authors review the literature and their personal experience regarding the process of intrauterine transfer of embryos, which remains the object of much discussion. Factors which appear to influence implantation rates are: contamination of the catheter tip with cervical bacteria, stimulation of uterine contractions during the procedure, the type of catheter, ultrasound guidance during the transfer, and the position of the embryos in the uterine cavity. Easy and atraumatic transfer is essential for successful implantation and the embryos need to be placed in the middle of the cavity, away from the fundus. Knowing, beforehand, the position and length of the uterus can provide better results and may reduce the rate of ectopic pregnancies. Evidence from randomized studies has supported this claim. Despite the number of available studies controlling certain variables, most authors, even using the same catheter, ultrasound guidance and/or a trial transfer use different protocols or similar instruments in different ways. Standardization of the transcervical intrauterine transfer of embryos in a large randomized study is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. The goal of improved implantation and pregnancy rates deserve these efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSUPPL. B
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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