25 Apr Frozen Embryos and IVF Success
Frozen embryos are just as viable as fresh embryos when it comes to IVF success. This is great news for couples pursuing repeat round(s) of IVF, women who put their IVF cycle on hold as the result of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or those who’ve created frozen embryos as part of a fertility preservation plan.
Should I Elect to Freeze Embryos & Delay IVF for Better Success?
Sometimes, women reading statistics about frozen embryos and IVF success rates wonder if they should electively freeze embryos and delay their IVF cycle to improve their own chances of success. While most fertility specialists try to work with patients’ preferences it’s important to note that there are two sides to those statistics.
Studies do show higher-rates of success using frozen embryos, as well as decreased risks of pre-term delivery, low-birth weight and/or small birth size. However, using frozen embryos increases the risk for hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, as well as high gestational size and weight. When comparing all the risks and benefits, researchers only recommend electively freezing embryos if necessary.
Embryos will be frozen if you choose preimplantation genetic testing on your embryos.
The process of transferring frozen embryos is almost identical to that of transferring fresh embryos, with a few minor tweaks in the plan.
FET: Hormonal Support Cycle or Natural Cycle?
Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET) happen one of two ways.
Hormonal support cycle
This is the most common because the actual transfer day is easier to predict. With the hormonal support cycle, you’ll be given a hormone suppressing drug to control and shut down the reproductive cycle on the last day of your menstrual cycle. Depending on your diagnosis and medical history, the doctor may prescribe a different pituitary-suppressing med instead. An ultrasound and blood work is used to confirm all is well.
Once your period commences, you’ll take an estrogen supplement to support the growth of a healthy endometrial lining. This supplementation continues for about 14-days, during which you’ll be monitored, and blood work is evaluated. When the doctor is satisfied with your progress, you’ll begin progesterone supplement.
FET is designed to mimic the body’s normal five-day progression from egg fertilization to implantation. So, if your embryos were frozen on Day 5, your transfer day will be scheduled on Day 6 of your estrogen supplementation.
Natural FET Cycle
Sometimes, embryo transfer is coordinated with your natural cycle, usually with women who experience very regular periods so we can better predict the best day for transfer. Natural FET cycles are trickier unless a woman is extremely regular since we have to guestimate ovulation and sync the transfer day accordingly.
The timing of ovulation is monitored closely. Here at FCD, we prefer to monitor ovulation in-house, using ultrasound and blood testing for improved accuracy. Once we’ve determined you ovulated, progesterone supplementation begins, and we time your transfer accordingly.
Contact Fertility Center of Dallas. We work closely with all of our patients to select the mode of embryo transfer that offers the highest changes of IVF success.