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Women having trouble getting pregnant naturally may opt for in vitro fertilization, or IVF, in order to conceive. Occasionally, spotting after IVF occurs, which may cause worry since this symptom is usually associated with negative occurrences during the menstrual cycle. One thing to keep in mind is that there are a few reasons for spotting after IVF, and not all of them are cause for concern. The most common causes are irritation of the cervix or uterine lining, hormone changes, and the implantation of an embryo.
During the IVF process, eggs need to be retrieved from the ovaries, fertilized, and then placed back inside. This means that doctors need to frequently access various reproductive organs, such as the cervix and ovaries, and foreign objects, like a catheter, are often inserted. Additionally, in IVF, the doctor has to closely monitor the reproductive organs after the embryo transfer. This often includes using tools, such as a speculum, to take note of what is occurring during the cycle. Just like after a Pap smear, it is considered normal for the cervix to be irritated for a few days following the procedure, often resulting in light spotting.
Most women doing IVF are often on various hormone treatments during the cycle, and any sudden change in hormonal balance can cause spotting. This often occurs naturally when estrogen takes over in the body just before menstruation begins, which is why many women spot brown or pink for a few days before their period. It stands to reason, then, that the addition of hormones like progesterone during an IVF cycle can cause an imbalance, resulting in some spotting. Additionally, some women need to take medication in order to stimulate ovulation before eggs are retrieved, and this usually leads to side effects like spotting.
One of the best reasons for spotting after IVF is called implantation bleeding, in which the fertilized embryo begins to implant into the uterine lining. Many women who experience spotting after IVF hope that this is the cause of the light bleeding, since this means that the cycle was a success. In fact, even women who become pregnant naturally view some spotting as a possible sign of implantation, and thus get excited that they may be pregnant. It should be noted that spotting after IVF due to implantation usually occurs six to twelve days after embryo transfer, though some people do start spotting slightly earlier or later than that. Of course, if the spotting continues for a prolonged period of time, it is a good idea to let the doctor know so that any potential problems may be ruled out.