A lot of intended parents have been struggling with infertility worldwide for years. While there are various fertility treatments like IUI, IVF, surrogacy, and many more. Whether you choose to select a surrogate mother to conceive a child or undergo an IVF procedure by yourself, you must be having hundreds of questions and doubts running through your mind. Lately, one of the hot topics to debate among specialists and intended parents is fresh vs frozen embryo transfer and its benefits.

IVF specialists and doctors indicate that frozen embryo transfer is more successful and assures higher pregnancy success rates compared to fresh embryo transfer procedures while using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Although seeing success rates alone won’t work in determining your fertility and medical condition, an expert would recommend the best-suited process for you. Let us explore different criteria for frozen vs fresh embryo transfer using the IVF process.

Let’s go through different factors for fresh vs frozen embryo transfer procedure

  • Fresh vs frozen embryo transfer
  • Types of Frozen embryo transfer IVF cycle
  • Why do Intended parents choose to freeze embryos?
  • Success rates of fresh vs frozen embryos
  • Pros and cons of fresh embryo transfer
  • How does the frozen embryo transfer process work?
  • How long does it take to proceed with frozen embryo transfer?
  • Perks of frozen embryo transfer
  • Reach out to Global Star Surrogacy

Frozen VS Fresh embryo transfer procedure

Frozen vs fresh embryo transfer, both are performed using the IVF procedure to result in successful implantation. Fresh and frozen embryo transfer begins with ovulation induction and monitoring. When the ovaries are ready, the Intended mother or surrogate will go through a process called egg retrieval. The reproductive endocrinologist will fertilize a woman’s egg with the Intended father or donor’s sperm sample.

Fresh embryo transfer

A fresh embryo transfer happens after 5 days of the egg retrieval process with the intended mother or surrogate. Furthermore, eggs are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory and then the embryo is grown and monitored by specialists. The main perk of fresh embryo transfer is the duration of conception is shorter, as there the waiting period is only 5 days between egg retrieval and transferring embryos into the surrogate or intended mother’s uterus.

Although there are few barriers to fresh embryo transfer, if the intended mother or surrogate has a progesterone level increased, then fresh embryo transfer isn’t recommended by doctors to these kinds of patients, as it will negatively impact embryo implantation. And, if a patient has the risk of hyperstimulation from the medicines used for egg stimulation, a fresh embryo transfer procedure can come out as a dangerous process.

Frozen embryo transfer

A frozen embryo transfer usually happens after 6-9 weeks after embryos are frozen. When a surrogate or intended mother is ready, she is given medications to induce a natural menstrual cycle, furthermore, the frozen embryo transfer date is coordinated with the cycle to get successful implantation.

If a couple wants to test their embryos for genetic abnormalities, FET (Frozen embryo transfer) is a must. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is performed soon after egg retrieval. The embryo is biopsied ( a small sample is taken from the embryo), and a sample that contains DNA is evaluated for chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. Once, PGT is completed embryologist would select only chromosomally normal embryos to transfer. Transferring these normal embryos, the success rates of pregnancy are increased.

One of the major advantages of choosing frozen embryo transfer is, it can be used in subsequent pregnancies even after years as embryos can be stored indefinitely. Likely, if couples wish to preserve fertility due to cancer treatment, age, or any other reason

Types of frozen embryo transfer IVF Cycle

There are two kinds of Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycles – The hormonal support cycle and the natural cycle.

Hormonal support cycle

This kind of cycle is more common among intended parents as progesterone and estrogen are administered to match with the body’s natural cycle and thicken your endometrium. Most fertility clinics and IVF specialists choose this kind of FET cycle as the day of frozen embryo transfer is easy to compare comparatively and hormonal supports aid in solving the ovulatory problems of couples.

Natural cycle

The natural cycle in frozen embryo transfer is determined when you ovulate naturally. Though HCG is given to make sure ovulation occurs and progesterone would be used for luteal phase support after ovulation and transfer.

Why do intended parents choose to freeze embryos?

Freezing embryos is one of the recent assisted reproductive methods that allows intended parents to store embryos and get pregnant whenever they are ready in the future. By using IVF treatment, doctors fertilize eggs with a sperm sample in a laboratory, furthermore resulting embryos are frozen and transferred into the uterus at a suitable time. Though the reason for freezing embryos could vary for each couple, we have listed below a few possible reasons.

  • Low-level and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) aids ovaries to produce more eggs.
  • The intended parent(s) undergoing cancer treatment, few couples choose to freeze their embryos before going for chemotherapy or other related treatments.
  • Couples who do not wish to conceive at a younger age can choose to implant healthy embryos even in the menopause period.
  • Women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may choose frozen embryo transfer as it causes hormonal imbalance in women and reduces their ovary reserves.
  • Women with menstrual disorders.
  • Couples who wish to conceive more children shortly through IVF may choose frozen embryo transfer.
  • Few people freeze their fertile eggs and sell them to infertile couples in the future.
Success rates of fresh vs frozen embryo transfer

According to various fertility clinics and embryologists, an IVF procedure observes more success rates with frozen embryos than with fresh embryo transfer. Let’s explore a few more facts about the success rates of both methods.

  • As per a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine women with infertility issues connected with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) experience higher live birth rates by using frozen embryo transfer.
  • The recent British Medical Journal found that there is no higher ongoing pregnancy or live birth rates in women using frozen embryo transfer(FET), Based on women who have a regular menstrual cycle and through gonadotropin-releasing hormones.
  • Whereas, a study also states that when high-quality embryos are transferred into old women’s uterus there’s no unfavorable effect on implantation or live birth rates.

Sounds confusing? Let’s understand the success rates of embryo transfer in detail. Well, frozen vs fresh embryos both have multiple factors to determine when it comes down to the success rates of each.

While factors to select between fresh vs frozen embryo transfer includes the intended mother’s age or donor’s age, the quality of sperm used in fertilization, and the intended parent’s overall health determine in both kinds of transfer embryo transfer procedure.

As per research, we have listed down the success rates of fresh and frozen embryo transfer:

  • High-quality embryos have a success rate of 79%live birth rate and good quality at 64%.
  • Poor-quality embryos are associated with a 28% live birth rate.
  • If intended parents below the age of 35 decide to freeze their embryos or use fresh ones, then the success rates are more likely to be higher. Whereas, if you prefer using fresh or frozen embryos when you are above 25 years of age then the chances of low or poor-quality embryos are quite high.

Frozen vs fresh embryo transfer, whichever you choose at the end age determines success rates of creating qualitative embryos and your or surrogate’s implantation. There are a few factors regarding both kinds of embryo transfer, we have listed below the same.

Pros and cons of fresh embryo transfer

While using fresh embryos is quite common among intended parents and in the debate of frozen vs free embryo transfer, most couples might want fresh embryos only. Though, fresh embryos have their perks and disadvantages as well. We have breakdown these factors below:

  • It has a faster procedure, after the process of egg retrieval the embryo transfer occurs within 5 days.
  • It is less expensive compared to frozen embryo transfer as there are no thaw fees.
  • When you use your eggs, due to the number of fertility medicines and additional hormones, you may have more levels of hormones which can impact implantation, making it more difficult.
  • If intended parents choose egg donors and if in case embryos aren’t developed then the recipient cycle will be canceled and resulting in losing time and money.
  • Intended parents will have to wait for a longer time for the egg donor’s retrieval time and before that the process of selecting an egg donor is time-consuming.

How does the frozen embryo transfer process work?

The frozen embryo transfer process is simple and doesn’t require anesthesia, and the operation is performed in a fertility clinic and it takes around 15 minutes. Furthermore, on the day of transfer, your doctor will perform an ultrasound scan on your uterus to check the condition of the endometrium. If everything seems to be good with the recipient’s health then the frozen embryo transfer process would begin.

After the rinsing of discharges from the vagina, the IVF specialist transfers one or more embryos into the cavity uterine by a tube known as a catheter. After the transfer, the intended mother or surrogate needs to lie down for 20 minutes and then you can come back home.

The patient can take a urine or blood test after two weeks of the frozen embryo transfer process to confirm the pregnancy. Although, taking a pregnancy test immediately after the transfer can be tempting for the carrier. Meanwhile, specialists recommend waiting for at least 15 days before you take the beta test. Learn more.

How long does it take to proceed with frozen embryo transfer?

Each embryo transfer cycle differs and it at least takes around 6-8 weeks. Intended mothers or surrogates are recommended to take birth control pills to prevent ovary activity for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. When the ovary is suppressed entirely, it is time for checking hormone levels and endometrium. The doctor will perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan for a few days to determine the health condition.

As per your uterus condition, the doctor will prescribe an estrogen injection. Usually, the carrier needs to inject themselves with estrogen injection for a week to make the uterus lining thick and prevent ovarian follicles from growing. Furthermore, another transvaginal ultrasound and blood test are required to check the uterus lining.

If your endometrium has an expected lining – of 7mm, then specialists will prescribe daily injections or vaginal suppositories of progesterone for 4-5 days.

Ultimately, you are ready for embryo transfer after 2 weeks of consuming birth control pills. Although, your doctor will decide the ideal day to transfer the frozen embryos. On the day you visit the fertility clinic with a full bladder, you will receive fertilized eggs through a simple process. As per specialists and doctors, the embryos would be implanted within 24-48 hours from the transfer procedure and the carrier must wait for at least 15 days for the pregnancy test.

Perks of frozen embryo transfer during the IVF process

The success rate isn’t the only factor while selecting frozen vs fresh embryo transfer. Intended parents must look out for every possible factor impacting the process. We have listed below a few perks of frozen embryo transfer that can benefit you during the IVF procedure.

Aids in preserving fertility and planning pregnancy when couples are ready

You don’t need to worry about conceiving a healthy child if you aren’t ready right now. Frozen embryo transfer permits couples and individuals to preserve fertility and plan pregnancy whenever they are ready. Also, if you are 35 or wish to conceive after you turn 35, you plan to freeze your embryos and eggs.

In a few exceptional cases, intended parents who struggle with infertility issues due to a few other medical conditions( like cancer and they need to undergo chemotherapy), prefer to freeze embryos in advance. By fertilizing and freezing qualitative eggs and sperm before going under rigorous medical treatment, one can still achieve their goal of becoming a parent irrespective of medical issues.

Less stress on women’s body – mental and physical

With fresh embryo transfer, a carrier needs egg development, medication for stimulation, and waiting for embryos to grow. Whereas, with frozen embryo transfer you don’t need to undergo the egg retrieval procedure again as you already have qualitative embryos ready to transfer. The only medication required is to thicken the uterus lining to prepare for embryo transfer.

Frozen embryo transfer imitates a natural cycle

Since a fresh embryo transfer happens within 3-5 days after the egg retrieval, the intended mother or carrier might still have elevated estrogen levels. This can negatively impact implantation, increases the risk of multiple embryo transfer, and gives additional stress to the intended parents.

Gender selection and genetic testing are performed with FET

Frozen embryo transfer permits IVF specialists to perform PGD/PGS/ PGT-A to check embryo abnormalities and select the sex of embryos before transferring them.

These screening would allow your fertility doctor to select the embryos with the highest chances of implantation and lowers your chance of miscarriage. Frozen embryo transfer is recommended if you want to test single-gene disorders.

However, there are a few perks with frozen vs fresh embryo transfer and you would find hundreds of facts over the internet. It is best to seek guidance from fertility clinics or an expert.

Reach out to Global Star Surrogacy

Still, confused between frozen vs fresh embryo transfer? At Global Star Surrogacy you are under the hands of experts who have been assisting intended parents for over 15 years now. For more information about fresh vs frozen embryo transfer, book our free consultation call!