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    in vitro fertilisation (ivf)

    Frozen Embryo Transfer in IVF - Advantages, Disadvantages and Success Rate

    • 4.8   (6 Votes)

    Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) in IVF is beneficial in many ways. It can prevent onset of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome and make uterine lining more receptive to embryo implantation. Studies have found that FET is more successful than fresh cycles FET for women aged 35 years and over.

    Embryo transfer is the final step of the IVF process. The embryos, which are fertilized in the laboratory, are placed into uterus. First implantation procedure is usually performed using fresh embryos and the rest of the remaining embryos are frozen for next embryo transfer in case implantation fails in the first try. It is a very quick and simple procedure and doesn’t require anesthetic. Either fresh or frozen embryos may be transferred according to the availability of embryos but there are some significant differences between the two. Recent studies have found that using previously frozen embryos may offer a higher chance of success for some women. To understand why frozen embryo transfer has a higher percentage in IVF success, let us go through the advantages, disadvantages and the success rate of Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).

    In this article, we will look at:

    In recent years, cryopreservation techniques have improved tremendously. Almost every IVF centre in India has the facility of freezing embryos, which have raised hopes for thousands of infertile couples. The success with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) has increased substantially making it a positive option in IVF cycle.

    1. What are the advantages of frozen embryo transfer?

    • Preventing late-onset ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS)

    Sometimes women have an elevated risk of developing Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) after egg retrieval and transfer. During the stimulation of ovaries, the addition of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) from the pregnancy can trigger OHSS. Though it is usually not serious, OHSS can cause cysts in the ovaries and activate the release of large amounts of hormones, including estrogens, progesterone, and local cytokines, which can complicate pregnancy. The endometrium is also not optimally prepared for implantation following ovarian hyper stimulation. FET procedure allows separating the transfer from the stress of ovarian stimulation, reducing the chance of OHSS. (1) Since you are not getting pregnant in the cycle where the eggs are retrieved; if needed, you can be put on medications that can further reduce the risks of OHSS. (2)

    • Uterine Lining is More Receptive to Embryo Implantation

    In a frozen IVF cycle, you don’t have to go through ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval, since you did that in an earlier fresh cycle. This gives the body the time to recover from IVF stimulation cycle and the egg retrieval procedure could mean that the endometrial lining in womb will be a more ideal environment for implantation to occur. Estrogen and progesterone hormones are given to thicken the uterine lining and prepare it to receive the embryo transfer, but these medications are much less expensive than the ovarian stimulation medications. (3) They also have fewer side effects, as the body will have already undergone the stimulation process in the previous cycle. 

    • FET is a Much Easier and Less Stressful for Patients

    Using frozen embryos can reduce the strain on a woman’s body in the event of repeated cycles. In frozen IVF cycles, women don’t have to worry about egg production, as there will be leftover embryos preserved for future attempts without having a second round of IVF. Another advantage of an FET cycle is that patients can schedule the date of transfer months in advance. For frozen-thawed embryo transfer, no previous ovarian hyper stimulation is required for the recipient before transfer, which can be performed in spontaneous ovulatory cycles. Moreover, in FET cycles, there is no need for surgery or use of anesthesia. (1)

    • Allows Time for Sophisticated Genetic Test Results

    FET gives the lab time to process the tests after Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) or Screening (PGS) tests to help ensure that the healthiest embryo is selected for transfer. FET is also a useful method for preserving extra good quality embryos in women with good response to ovarian stimulation, increasing elective single embryo transfer and avoiding multi-gestations. (4) 

    • Babies Born From Frozen Embryos Have Better Health Outcomes

    Studies have shown that FET babies are less likely to be linked to low birth weight and may have a lower chance of being small for their gestational age. Pregnancies arising from the transfer of frozen IVF embryos seem to have better obstetric and perinatal outcomes. Babies delivered from frozen transferred embryos actually spend more time in the womb and emerge at healthier birth weights than those delivered from freshly transferred embryo. (5)

    2. Is frozen embryo transfer less costly than fresh embryo transfer?

    Following a fresh IVF treatment cycle, subsequent FET cycles are less costly for patients as all the primary procedures are already performed. (6) Expenses of both medication and treatment are less than in a fresh cycle. Costs of treatment are reduced since there are fewer monitoring visits, and there is no need for egg retrieval, insemination, or embryo culture. 

    3. What are the disadvantages of frozen embryo transfer?

    There are certain limitations of Frozen IVF Cycle that are listed below: 

    • Frequent Visits to the Doctor 

    Usually, patients need to return to the clinic after 30 days following egg retrieval. These extra appointments can be inconvenient for the patient as you have to take time off from work, travel to the clinic and spend time at the clinic. You may also be asked to return to the clinic a few days after which can be troublesome.

    • Additional Time to Pregnancy 

    Even an IVF cycle with a fresh embryo transfer can feel endless to a hopeful couple who has been waiting for a baby for a long time, so adding another month in frozen embryo transfer to the waiting time can seem excruciating. Freezing the embryos also can lead to another one or two months of waiting and not knowing whether the procedure will be successful, which can be emotionally draining for patients. (7)

    • Not All Embryos Survive Freezing or Thawing Process 

    Though there is a chance of embryo loss, with the latest methods and best practices, there is now a survival rate of over 95 percent. If the freezing lab or container fails to maintain an ideal freezing condition for the embryos, there is a possibility that all embryos might perish. Cryopreserving techniques are a very important consideration, so make sure you know which one your clinic uses. Slow freezing is an older method, which has a higher risk of injury or loss to embryos. Vitrification, also known as flash freezing process, allows embryos to be frozen almost instantly, which prevents most damage.

    4. What is the success rate of FET?

    Today, frozen embryo transfers have a 15 percent higher pregnancy rate due to huge improvements in freezing and storage techniques. Studies have found that FETs may be more successful than fresh cycles for women of 35 years and over as the quality of embryos will remain the same while they are frozen. The success rate of In vitro Fertilization is influenced by a number of factors, just like during natural conception. Everyone responds differently to the procedure and FET is just a way to improve the odds of success.

    If you are going for Frozen Embryo Transfer with own or donor eggs, OVO Fertility can help you connect with the best IVF centres and doctors in your city. We have a vast list of verified doctors from which you can choose according to your convenience and the standard of treatment you want to receive. You can also call OVO Fertility at +918268260808 to book a free appointment with one of our doctors. 





    Suchit Rode

    I think frozen embryo transfer is better than a fresh embryo. I myself have experienced the same when I and my wife were planning for our future baby.

    Nov. 24, 2018, 8:50 p.m. 4.5


    Ajay Yadav

    In the case of the frozen embryo, the body returns to its normal condition, as it had so much time in between the process. So it is a good option for the couples opting for it.

    Nov. 20, 2018, 7:12 a.m. 5.0


    Nivedita Saha

    This article cleared all my doubts about fresh embryo transfer and frozen embryo transfer procedures. Initially, these terms were very unknown to me. Now I know both the processes in detail. This has helped me to find out the best procedure in my case.

    Nov. 18, 2018, 3:23 p.m. 5.0


    Shubhi Patel

    I think it also depends on the childless couples that which type of IVF treatment they want. Couples will always go for the one which has higher success rate and proves to be affordable to the pockets.

    Nov. 10, 2018, 10:01 p.m. 4.5


    Sandeep Gupte

    IVF is a good choice with a high success rate whether it is with a fresh embryo or with a frozen embryo.

    Nov. 3, 2018, 12:48 a.m. 5.0


    Tanak Namrata

    Everyone's experience is different. Our IVF cycle got failed with fresh embryo transfer but it was successful with frozen embryo transfer. Results vary from couple to couple, I think.

    Oct. 31, 2018, 4:37 p.m. 4.5

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