You have diligently taken your injections, come to multiple ultrasound appointments, put up with numerous side effects from medications, undergone surgery to retrieve your eggs… and then you get the call. The one in which your nurse case manager tells you to have a full bladder for the transfer of your embryos. This may well be the thing that sends a patient’s anxiety level into overdrive. You might be thinking “How on earth do I hold my urine long enough to get through this procedure?” Well the best answer to this question is, you may not have to.
All patients are different and depending on how full your bladder is when you arrive for your transfer, you will more than likely be letting some of that urine out. There is a happy place in the middle where the patient is feeling like this might just be doable and we can still see the uterus well to help guide the catheter that will be placing your embryos. There are three things that the full bladder helps us with. The urine in the bladder provides an acoustic window to conduct the sound so that we may see the endometrial cavity well, helps to straighten the uterus so that the cather passes easily, and lastly helps to push the intestines out of the way which also helps with the view.
This brings to mind another question. You might be wondering “How do I let out a little urine without going all the way?” When you arrive for your transfer the technician will do a quick ultrasound on your abdomen to see how full you are. Once it has been determined that you can let some out, she will give you a number to count to. Usually you will be told to “go” for 5-10 seconds. This is much easier to do if you don’t sit down. Most people just pretend that they are in a public restroom and that there are no seat protectors. You will then have another ultrasound to check the view and many times you will be sent to the restroom again to let a little more urine out. It is much easier to empty a little from your bladder than it is to try to fill one that is empty. You can even practice this technique of “letting a little out” before the day of transfer. Remember that we want the best experience for you and will do our very best to help you achieve “the happy medium.”