FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSFER (FET)
An IVF cycle may result in successful pregnancy in 46 % of women under the age of thirty, but others will need to repeat the procedure.
In these cases Frozen Embryo Transfer saves time, expenses and the additional physical stress of having to undergo the elaborate process of ovulation induction and egg collection all over again. The embryos from one cycle if unused, can be frozen, and used for the next cycle of IVF.
What is Frozen Embryo Transfer ?
Not all embryos that are produced during an IVF cycle are used up in the cycle. Doctors prefer using a single embryo to prevent multiple pregnancies and the rest are frozen and stored in case of future need. They can also be used as donor embryos, if personal need does not arise.
IVF Frozen embryo transfer is a technique by which a frozen embryo from the last IVF cycle can be softened and placed in the woman’s uterus in the next cycle. This process of freezing and thawing embryos to produce babies is the one of the greatest boon in assisted reproductive technology.
The process of freezing embryos has improved over time with vitrification – a fast freezing technology that has eliminated the formation of unwanted ice crystals. People opting for this procedure get equal results and sometimes even better results compared to fresh embryo transfer cycle.
What is the procedure ?
- The embryos are frozen with the help of special equipment’s and then stored in liquid nitrogen.
- The freezing process takes several hours but the thawing of embryos need only forty five minutes before they can be transferred into the uterus using a small tube.
What are the advantages?
There are several benefits of frozen embryo transfer –
- Freezing the embryos offers the patients the option to undergo additional cycles of IVF, without having to take medicines for stimulating ovulation. Patients avoid undergoing anesthesia again and again for egg retrieval process. Only estrogen injections are injected once in every three days to prepare the uterine endometrium at the beginning of the treatment. This saves time, expenses and physical stress.
- Frozen embryo transfers are cheaper than fresh cycles as in case of the former, monitoring visits are reduced; there is no need for egg retrieval or embryo culture.
- The progesterone level increases in a woman during ovarian stimulation and this may reduce pregnancy rates. This scenario is reduced with FET.
- Frozen embryo can be tested for genetic defects prior to implantation.
- Freezing embryos gives couples opportunity to plan their family as these embryos can be used later on.