In the world of infertility, there are many acronyms. TTC for Trying to Conceive, OPK for Ovulation Prediction kit and BFN for Big Fat Negative when you get a negative pregnancy test. A common one that you’ll see on infertility or trying to conceive chat boards related to in vitro fertilization is “PUPO”. It stands for “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise”. Those who are undergoing IVF use this term when they have just had one (or two depending on their doctor’s recommendation and/or their diagnosis) embryos transferred to their uterus. They are waiting to see if the embryo implants. This is the difference between being pregnant or not pregnant. This is why knowing when your implantation window is can be helpful in achieving a pregnancy. When you turn to fertility treatment to have a family, you want to make every effort to help that embryo implant, and depending on your medical history, implantation testing may prove beneficial to the success of your next cycle.
What is the Window of Implantation?
A window of implantation is the span of a few days in which your endometrium lining (which is essentially the lining of your uterus) is at its most optimal state to receive an embryo for implantation. An embryo needs to implant in order to grow and develop, which is necessary for you to sustain a successful pregnancy. According to Dr. Carlos Simon, coordinating this period of time between the window of implantation and the development of an embryo can be key in a successful IVF outcome. Since every patient’s window of implantation can vary, this test can pinpoint the best timing of not just any embryo transfer, but one that’s personalized to when your endometrial lining is most receptive.
How Do I Find Out My Implantation Window?
You can find out your implantation window by speaking to your doctor and asking about implantation testing. There is something called Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA) that can determine your personalized implantation window. An endometrial biopsy will be taken by your doctor in a mock embryo transfer cycle, which entails taking a small sample of your endometrial lining. This sample would then be carefully analysed to find when your specific window of implantation would be. That way, your doctor will know the ideal time to transfer the embryo to give it the best chance of implanting in the uterus, thus giving you the best chances of achieving a pregnancy.
Who Should Consider Implantation Testing?
If you’ve undergone several IVF cycles that were not successful, where the embryos were of good quality, you might want to speak to your doctor about whether or not he or she feels determining your implantation window would be helpful on your next cycle.
Another factor to consider is if you have had two miscarriages or more and you’ve never explored genetic testing previously, ask your reproductive endocrinologist about Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A, formerly known as PGS). PGT-A can increase the chances of having a healthy baby and decrease your chances of a miscarriage.
Not only are these indications important to take into account, any other IVF patient, even if they don’t have those characteristics, can get advantage from the ERA test from the first IVF attempt.
When you do get a BFN, it can be disheartening. When it comes to infertility though, when a door closes, it may be a matter of opening up (and determining) your window of implantation to find new answers and hope. With the support of your doctor and all that reproductive technology has to offer, we hope you see your BFP (Big Fat Positive!) in no time!