Fresh vs Frozen Embryo Transfer
When it comes to in vitro fertilization (IVF), one of the most important decisions that couples have to make is whether to opt for fresh or frozen embryo transfer. This decision can have a significant impact on the success rates of IVF treatment. We’ll explore the pros and cons of fresh and frozen embryo transfer, and help you make an informed decision.
What is Fresh Embryo Transfer?
Fresh embryo transfer refers to the transfer of an embryo to a woman’s uterus within a few days of it being fertilized in a laboratory. The embryo is usually transferred on the third or fifth day after fertilization, depending on its development. Fresh embryo transfer is the traditional method of IVF and has been used for decades.
What is Frozen Embryo Transfer?
Frozen embryo transfer, on the other hand, involves freezing the embryos that have been fertilized in a laboratory and transferring them to a woman’s uterus at a later date. Frozen embryo transfer has become increasingly popular in recent years, as the technology for freezing and thawing embryos has improved.
Success Rates of Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfer
According to research, the success rates of fresh and frozen embryo transfer are similar. However, frozen embryo transfer may have a slight advantage in some cases. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that frozen embryo transfer was associated with a higher live birth rate among women who had previously undergone unsuccessful IVF cycles.
Benefits of Fresh Embryo Transfer
Fresh embryo transfer has some benefits. For example, it allows for the transfer of embryos that are in their most viable state. It also allows for the immediate transfer of embryos, which can be beneficial for women who have a limited number of viable embryos.
Drawbacks of Fresh Embryo Transfer
Fresh embryo transfer also has some drawbacks. For example, it can lead to a higher risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a potentially serious condition that can occur as a result of the use of fertility drugs. In addition, fresh embryo transfer requires more coordination between the patient and the fertility clinic.
Benefits of Frozen Embryo Transfer
Frozen embryo transfer also has some benefits. For example, it allows for the storage of excess embryos, which can be used in future IVF cycles if the current cycle is unsuccessful. It also allows for greater flexibility in scheduling, as the embryos can be thawed and transferred at a time that is convenient for the patient. In the cases, when the uterine cavity is not completely ready, postponing the embryo transfer to the next cycle can be more beneficial.
Drawbacks of Frozen Embryo Transfer
Frozen embryo transfer also has some drawbacks. For example, the freezing and thawing process can damage the embryos, which can lower their viability. In addition, frozen embryo transfer requires an additional step in the IVF process, which may increase the cost of treatment.
Which is Better: Fresh or Frozen Embryo Transfer?
The decision of whether to opt for fresh or frozen embryo transfer ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including the woman’s age, the quality of her eggs, and her medical history. In general, younger women with a good ovarian reserve may benefit more from fresh embryo transfer, while older women with a history of failed IVF cycles may benefit more from frozen embryo transfer. This also depends on the condition of the uterine cavity and the ovaries after the egg retrieval procedure.
Cost Comparison of Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfer
The cost of IVF treatment can vary depending on the fertility clinic and the specific treatment plan. In general, frozen embryo transfer is less expensive than fresh embryo transfer because it eliminates the need for additional rounds of ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. However, frozen embryo transfer may require additional procedures such as embryo thawing and culture, which can add to the cost.
Freezing Embryos for Future Use
One of the advantages of frozen embryo transfer is that it allows couples to freeze and store excess embryos for future use. This can be particularly useful for couples who wish to have more than one child. Frozen embryos can be stored for several years and remain viable for use in future IVF cycles.
What Happens to Excess Embryos?
Couples who have excess embryos after completing their family may choose to donate them to other couples for fertility treatment, donate them for research purposes, or have them discarded. The decision of what to do with excess embryos can be a difficult one and should be made carefully after consulting with a fertility specialist.
Risks Associated with Embryo Transfer
Both fresh and frozen embryo transfer carry some risks. The most common risks include bleeding, infection, and damage to the cervix or uterus. There is also a small risk of multiple pregnancies, which can lead to complications such as premature birth and low birth weight.