Frozen Embryo Transfer
Posted on: April 3, 2017
Frozen embryo transfer (FET) has shown better pregnancy success rates than fresh embryo transfer during in vitro fertilization procedures.
What is Frozen Embryo Transfer?
An IVF cycle may result in several healthy five or six-day embryos at the the blastocyst stage that your reproductive endocrinologist does not use for fresh embryo transfer. These embryos can be cryopreserved and stored for future IVF cycles- maximizing egg retrieval.
IVF and Frozen Embryo Transfer
Your reproductive endocrinologist will use blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the endometrium, or uterine lining. Once you’re approaching peak receptivity, the embryo is thawed and placed in the uterus.
Most women will use an artificial cycle of progesterone and estrogen to encourage the endometrium to thicken and prepare to receive the embryos. The artificial cycle is controllable, which leads to the ability to schedule the embryo thaw and transfer for a mutually convenient time.
Little to no medication is used. This requires a perfectly regular menstrual cycle with very good hormone levels, and is not controllable, so we cannot predict when the thaw and transfer will need to be performed.
Your reproductive endocrinologist will discuss with you the risks and benefits of both alternatives.
Benefits of FET
Frozen embryo transfer can be a good option for couples looking to minimize time and money spent on egg retrieval and IVF. The frozen embryo can be kept for an infinite amount of time, so whether you’re trying again after a failed IVF cycle or ready for another baby following a successful one, FET can be a good option for you.
While fresh embryo transfer requires careful coordination, FET can be a less stressful procedure. There is no need for you to undergo the egg retrieval procedure or sperm collection. And since the embryos can be thawed the day of transfer, your fertility specialist can more precisely time FET with the optimal period in your cycle.
Success Rates of Frozen Embryo Transfer
Typically, success rates of FET are somewhat better than those of fresh embryo transfer. In some cases, frozen embryo transfer has a higher success rate- due to your reproductive endocrinologist’s ability to better time the procedure. Women aged 35 or younger at the time of freezing have about a 60% chance of pregnancy. This rate drops as the maternal age increases.
Speak with your fertility specialist to determine if FET is an option for you.