in vitro fertilisation (ivf)

Fresh Embryo vs Frozen Embryo Transfer in IVF

  • 4.8 (6 Votes)
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Multiple studies have been conductedto understand whether frozen embryo transfer (FET) has a better success rate over fresh IVF cycle embryo transfer or not. Explore in-depth understanding of both types of embryo transfers for your in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and choose the best based on your own fertility condition.

Let’s Discuss in More Detail About Fresh Embryo vs Frozen Embryo Transfer in IVF:

Both the embryo transfer methods are useful in successfully conceiving a baby. It is better to understand the difference between the two along with their pros and cons to decide which of the two is best suited for you. IVF is a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in which female eggs are fertilized with male sperms in a laboratory. The fertilized eggs are grown in incubators to the stage where they have sufficient cells to be transferred to the uterus of the female undergoing treatment. In the initial IVF cycle, fresh embryos are transferred in the uterus of the female partner, after the woman’s ovaries have been stimulated to produce extra eggs. In case of more number of embryos than needed for this cycle, the extra eggs are frozen for use in future IVF cycles.

If you are planning to undergo an IVF treatment, it is possible for you to hear some conflicting statements regarding which procedure to utilize and the one that will give you successful results. However, it is essential that you do not get discouraged with the negative thoughts and opinions of others.

For many years, there was a prevailing belief about ART treatments that fresh embryo transfers were more successful than frozen embryo transfers (FET’s). It was believed that the best quality embryos are selected for a fresh cycle to increase the chances of success. The remaining embryos while still in good condition might not be as optimal as the ones used in a fresh cycle.

Current data shows that such a mindset stands untrue as the frozen embryos are of favorable quality when it comes to embryo transfer. The latest information has been reported to SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) in 2013 and it shows that for women over the age of 35 and above, the success of IVF treatment into live births is actually higher for frozen embryo transfers (FET’s) than fresh embryo transfers.

This result is based on the age of mother at the time when the embryos were taken and frozen, and not the age at which they were transferred.

However, there are no proven findings yet to determine why frozen embryo transfer (FET) is becoming more of a success, or if the IVF procedure should transform to using FET exclusively. Therefore, if you are planning to go for IVF, your first cycle will always be a fresh one. In case you need a second cycle, and you have frozen embryos in storage, and you receive frozen embryo transfers (FET).

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both fresh cycle IVF and FET, so that you can decide for yourself.

Fresh Cycle IVF

In a fresh cycle IVF, a woman has to undergo hormonal treatment to regulate her menstrual period. Ovarian stimulation is done to develop eggs (super ovulation), and help the eggs to mature. The gynecologist monitors the woman carefully and regularly during this time. When the eggs mature, they are retrieved, harvested and fertilized with sperms in the lab. Then, 2-5 days after harvesting, the best embryos are transferred into the uterus.

Advantages:

  • In a fresh cycle, a woman is given hormonal injections to stimulate the production of eggs. The embryos that have grown in the best possible manner are the ones chosen to be immediately implanted in the uterus.
  • If the first cycle proves successful, then the woman does not have to go through additional hormone treatment.

Disadvantages:

  • Medications are required for a successful pregnancy in the later stages in the patients who are treated with fresh cycle in In Vitro Fertilization procedure. 
  • High levels of fertility medications are required for ovarian stimulation. Fertility medications for fresh IVF cycles are heavy on pocket as well.
  • Fresh IVF cycles are more stressful than the frozen embryo transfer is, as it involves response of ovary towards stimulation, egg development, and growth in the ovaries.

ivf complete cycle

Frozen Embryo IVF Cycle:

Embryos generated in a fresh IVF cycle but cryopreserved for later use are called frozen embryos. These embryos are thawed, prior to being transferred to the uterus and the process is called as “frozen embryo transfer or FET.

Advantages:

  • In case of frozen embryo transfer, a body has had enough time to return back to its normal state as the effects of fertility drugs weans off. This helps in providing a more natural environment to an embryo to grow. The uterine lining gets prepared with natural production of estrogen and progesterone. Even in case estrogen and progesterone are required to be given externally, they are less expensive and have fewer side effects than ovulation stimulation medications.
  • The woman is less stressed as the egg production and embryo generation are already considered on the part of the gynecologist.
  • Frozen embryo transfer can be scheduled as per your own convenience.
  • Chances of success with a FET are about the same as they were when they were first frozen, as freezing does not lead to ageing.

Disadvantages

  • One of the commonly faced disadvantages of Frozen Embryo Transfers is the requirement to book for an appointment with the gynecologist after the egg retrieval step.
  • FET’s require an extra month for achieving pregnancy. This makes the couple feel impatient with this type of IVF treatment.

embryo freezing

What To Consider When You Plan To Undergo IVF Treatment:

It is discussed that frozen cycle requires less of the efforts and less money as well, yet it is undeniable that one cannot have frozen embryos without initially getting ovarian stimulation and embryo development unless you are using an egg donor. If you are having a first IVF cycle, you will need to go through the entire process as it is done to get fresh embryos.
Some studies suggest that frozen embryo transfer has yielded better results for women between 35- 42 years of age. Another study highlights that in a fresh cycle process, the uterine lining is exposed to unnaturally high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which could interfere with the process of fertilization and implantation.

Making the Choice of IVF Treatment:

We have presented in-depth information regarding both fresh cycle embryo transfer as well as frozen embryo transfer. Even with studies showing that freezing your embryos and waiting before transferring them may improve the outcome in form of a successful pregnancy over the fresh cycle option, yet nothing has been officially proven. The choice of IVF treatment differs from one individual to another and his or her own specific requirements. In order to make the most appropriate decision, it is important that you talk to your doctor and fertility expert. You need to consider all the existing options and steps involved in the process to make a careful selection among the type of fertility treatment required.

Thus, you know that both fresh embryo transfer and frozen embryo transfer are useful in conceiving a baby. You just need to be informed to discuss with your concerned gynecologist about the best solution for your respective case.

For more information and updates, follow Elawoman blog. If you are looking for an expert gynaecologist providing cost-effective IVF programs and fertility information, you can reach us at +917899912611.

Dr. Rashmi Vyas

About The Author

Surgeon, Obstetrician Dr. Rashmi Vyas
Noida

Dr. Rashmi Vyas is one of the most experienced gynecologists in Noida. She completed MBBS and DGO from Gandhi Medical College in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Dr. Rashmi has also completed extensive training in laparoscopy and hysteroscopy from Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi in 2006. Then, she went on to pursue FOGSI training course in infertility and ultrasound from Sir Gangaram Hospital and Dr. Ashok Khurana Center, New Delhi in the year 2007 and 2008 respectively. She specializes in the fertility and gynecological treatments like Ultrasound Scans, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Fetal Genetic Counselling, Laparoscopic Surgery as well as Pre and Post Delivery Care. Dr. Rashmi is presently serving patients with her expertise at Arogya Women and Child Clinic.

6 Comments

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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