There has been much discussion on the success of frozen and fresh embryo transfers and the advantages of both choices.
According to several fertility professionals and health agencies, frozen embryo transfers result in a more excellent pregnancy-positive outcome than fresh embryo transfers during assisted reproductive technology.
Chances of success are just some of the things to consider.
Depending on your circumstances, choosing fresh vs frozen embryo transfer may be beneficial.
What is an embryo transfer?
Embryo transfer can considerably boost people’s chances of pregnancy.
IVF is frequently used by people facing fertility problems to produce a successful pregnancy and delivery.
An embryo transfer is an IVF process that involves simply fertilizing an egg and putting the newly created embryo into a woman’s uterus.
Because the position of the embryos within the uterus must be perfect, a fertility specialist will use an ultrasound to assist with this transfer.
Embryos grow in the embryology lab for 3-7 days after fertilization (typically 3-5 days).
At this point, the embryos are either transferred frozen or fresh.
Types of embryo transfers.
The following are the options when it comes to obtaining and fertilizing the potential mother’s eggs and sperm during IVF.
Fresh embryo transfers (ETs)
The embryo is placed back into the uterus without ever being frozen during a fresh embryo transfer.
Fresh embryo transfer is typically performed 3-5 days after the IVF egg collection.
Frozen embryo transfers (FETs)
Frozen embryo transfers are the most popular type of transfer because they allow for the genetic testing of embryos before they are implanted, resulting in more excellent success rates and a lower risk of birth defect or miscarriage.
During a frozen embryo transfer, your doctor inserts a tiny transfer device into your uterus to put the frozen embryos through the cervix.
A frozen embryo transfer is a rather straightforward process that hardly requires pain medication, although medicated and partly medicated treatments are available for your convenience.
Process of Frozen embryo transfers
A frozen embryo transfer cycle takes between 6 to 8 weeks.
The process usually starts with 3 to 4 weeks of daily birth control drugs to delay the regular ovarian cycle that causes ovulation.
After the birth control drugs, various blood tests and scans would be run to check if the body is ready for the transfer.
Depending on the findings of the tests, the doctor may recommend a series of estrogen injections to help grow the uterine lining.
If the lining check reveals that the hormone levels are normal and the uterine lining has thickened, the doctor will most likely advise the woman to add daily progesterone injections or vaginal pills to the prescription plan.
The nurse will then confirm a Frozen embryo transfer date, and the patient will return several days later for their transfer.
Estrogen and progesterone levels will rise after the transfer and for around two weeks following the blood pregnancy test.
Why Frozen embryo transfer is more popular and cost-effective
Many women opt for frozen embryo transfer because of its effectiveness compared to fresh embryo transfer.
According to CCRM data presented at the 2013 American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) annual meeting in October, women who used frozen embryos for transfer had a 74.5 percent live birth rate, compared to 53.7 percent for women who used fresh embryos.
Also, the miscarriage percentage rate was 2.8 with frozen embryo transfer compared to 18.5% with fresh embryo transfer.
Many fertility patients who undergo IVF benefit from the following advantages of frozen embryos.
Higher chance of success
When you use frozen embryos, you have more chances for transfer and hence more pregnancy attempts.
If you can freeze and keep embryos while trying a fresh cycle transfer, and if this new cycle transfer is not successful, you can try again without having to go through additional ovulation stimulation or egg retrieval.
As a result, one IVF boosts your overall pregnancy rate.
FETs are less expensive than fresh embryo transfers.
Frozen Embryo Transfer cycles are less expensive since the medication is low and no egg retrieval or anesthesia is required.
A frozen embryo transfer costs typically between $3,000 and $6,000 and is occasionally charged separately from your IVF program.
Even if a new transfer is performed, most patients will preserve their unused embryos for future use.
Possibility of reducing the danger of OHSS
A woman’s hormones are at their highest shortly after her eggs are removed. If she became pregnant during that period, her hormone levels would increase, worsening her symptoms and putting her at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a dangerous IVF problem.
Frozen embryo transfer allows a woman’s body to heal and return to normal since physicians wait several weeks following egg retrieval to deliver the embryo.
This helps the expecting woman feel better during her pregnancy and may lower the chance of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Receptivity of the Uterus
Another advantage of Frozen embryo transfer, and one that contributes to increased success rates, is uterine receptivity.
Uterine receptivity means that the uterus is prepared to receive the embryo, increasing the likelihood of implantation and continued pregnancy.
The fact is that the uterus is only open to an embryo for a limited period each cycle, around 24-36 hours. An embryo can only successfully implant into the uterus after it has reached the blastocyst stage of development.
If the embryo and uterus do not “meet” at the correct moment, the woman will not be able to become pregnant during that cycle.
Frozen embryo transfer allows physicians to freeze the embryo at the blastocyst stage and transfer it at the best moment, when the uterus is most receptive to it, boosting the likelihood of success.
Genetic testing is possible with frozen embryo transfer.
The few weeks on the frozen embryo before transfer allow doctors and scientists to use Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to examine the embryo for chromosomal content (PGD).
This test determines if an embryo has the correct amount of chromosomes (46) or if there are too few or too many.
Embryos with a complete set of chromosomes are normal and result in successful pregnancies and live births, whereas embryos with inadequate chromosomes are abnormal and fail to implant, result in miscarriage, or result in a baby with a genetic disorder.
A specialist will take a little sample of the embryo before freezing the embryo after it reaches the blastocyst stage. That sample will then be tested for chromosomal content. This process might take a week or more to complete, something that’s impossible to do with a fresh embryo transfer.
When the lab results are in, specialists can defrost the frozen embryo and transfer it, improving a woman’s chances of pregnancy success.
When deciding between a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, there are things you should consider.
Fresh embryo transfers limit certain women of particular benefits, whereas frozen embryo transfers bring various benefits to others.
With frozen embryo transfers, you get a run for your money with a higher success rate.
But the best plan for a patient can be determined by many circumstances that might occur before or during the IVF procedure.
Nevertheless, women should discuss the benefits of both with their fertility doctors to determine if a fresh or frozen embryo transfer is suitable for them.