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Houston Fertility Center

Sex after IVF: Is it Safe?

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on December 29, 2016

Sex after IVFIn vitro fertilization (IVF) is a common fertility treatment method that can help couples successfully conceive and have a full-term pregnancy. One of the many questions couples ask during fertility treatments is if and when they can safely have sex. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen can advise couples as to when they can resume sex after IVF during the consultation process at our Houston, TX fertility center.

Safe Sex and the Phases of IVF

If you have questions about when you can safely have sex throughout your IVF treatment, do not hesitate to ask. You should not feel self-conscious about asking any questions you have about intercourse or how it might affect your fertility treatment. Dr. Kristiansen can address your concerns during the consultation process, or as they arise during your IVF treatment.

Sex during Stimulation Phase

During the stimulation phase, couples can have sex provided they use a condom. Although the risk is small, there is the possibility of a multiple pregnancy if protection is not used. Additionally, some women may experience hyperstimulation of the ovaries, which can make intercourse painful.

We do recommend that men abstain from ejaculation for at least 48 hours prior to egg retrieval. This ensures an adequate sample of semen is available and contains the healthiest sperm. Abstaining longer than five to six days can cause problems, however.

After egg retrieval is complete, couples can typically resume sexual intercourse up to the night before embryo transfer.

Sex after Embryo Transfer

After the transfer of the embryo, we advise patients to wait two to three weeks before resuming sexual activities. Doctors have theorized that pelvic contraction from an orgasm could hinder an embryo’s ability to properly implant. Once we can take a reliable pregnancy test to confirm successful implantation and pregnancy, couples can begin having sex again.

Potential Consequences of Sex after IVF

The general rule is to wait up to two weeks after the embryo transfer before having sex. Some couples forego these recommendations and have sex, or simply an orgasm, sooner. The uterine contractions that accompany the female orgasm could prevent the embryo from implanting. The risk is small, but it is still a risk couples must consider. Most couples err on the side of caution and wait until they have a positive pregnancy test before having sexual intercourse again.

Schedule a Fertility Consultation Today

The decision to undergo fertility treatment of any kind can affect a couple’s relationship, especially after having trouble conceiving naturally. Dr. Kristiansen encourages intimacy between couples, as this can reduce stress, which often leads to better chances of a successful pregnancy. She typically recommends safe intercourse to avoid multiple pregnancy, and encourages women to pay attention to any discomfort they may be experiencing.

If you and your partner are ready to undergo IVF fertility treatment, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Kristiansen can evaluate your fertility levels and determine if IVF is right for you.

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