French fries. Green and yellow socks. Turtles. Clowns?? The process of surrogacy (and embryo transfer in particular) enjoys a rich tapestry of superstitions and old wives’ tales. Take a look at this sampling:
1. Eat pineapple before an embryo transfer
With a quick Google search about “what to do to prepare for a embryo transfer” you will see lots of references to eating pineapple. Turns out that pineapple (especially the core of the pineapple) is rich in bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme. The idea is that reducing swelling could help with blood flow to the uterus.
In the same vein, some people swear by eating Brazil nuts before an embryo transfer. Brazil nuts pack a punch of selenium, an anticoagulant, which may also increase blood flow.
2. Wear green or yellow socks to an embryo transfer
Both green and yellow represent fertility, so you will often hear people wanting to wear one of those colors to their transfer. The socks aren’t really for luck – they are to keep your feet warm because of the old wives’ tale that warm feet equal a warm uterus. Warm fertility socks! They can’t hurt.
3. Keep turtles around during your surrogacy pregnancy
Many women talk about wearing a turtle charm bracelet or a turtle necklace during their surro-pregnancy. Turtles are a symbol of womb health and receptiveness, as they are water animals (water represents the womb), and they are associated with protective energy. You don’t need to hop out and grab a real box turtle from the pet store right away – apparently the charm itself will do the trick.
4. Have acupuncture performed right after a transfer
This is a newer tradition popping up. The science is out on whether acupuncture actually improves embryo implantation, but what it does do that is proven scientifically is increase blood flow and reduce stress. And those are two things that can improve overall wellness during the process.
5. Eat French fries after an embryo transfer
You will see many women swear by McDonald’s French fries. Others believe In ‘N Out French fries are the key. But the consensus is clear: whatever your brand, just find some French fries. The interesting thing about this one is that it seems to have originated for egg retrieval, as doctors recommend having some salty food after retrieval to help absorb extra fluid. It has somehow traveled to be a tradition for embryo transfer, and there are very few surrogates who are disappointed when you say they really should go eat some French fries. Now. With your socks and your turtle.
6. Exposure to clowns right after embryo transfer helps with implantation
Haven’t heard of this one yet? There was an Israeli study a few years ago where the chances of implantation were 50% higher (!) for the women who had been exposed to clowning right after embryo transfer. It’s scientifically dubious, but some laughter and stress relief can only be good in this situation.
7. Sending “sticky thoughts”
You will often hear people wish surrogates and their IPs “sticky thoughts” or put sticky notes up around the house with inspiring quotes. The idea is for the embryo to “stick.” There are some really creative ways out there to wish sticky thoughts – like a Pooh Bear figurine with his head in a jar honey. Adorable!
Have you tried any of these strategies in your surrogacy journey? Do you have others you swear by? Let us know in the comments! And we send sticky thoughts and baby dust and lots of clowns (?) to all those out there working hard to have a baby.