Potential Benefits of IVF Cycle with FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) vs Fresh Embryo Transfer


One of the most common questions infertility patients going through Advanced Reproductive Treatments (ART) ask is: “will freezing embryos reduce my chance at a pregnancy?” During the first decade and a half of IVF treatment, there was a much lower success rate through Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). In a recent post, I summarized how the newer technique of “vitrification[r1] ” helped overcome the potential impact of cryotherapy upon embryo quality. And in a separate post[r2] , I described the importance of properly preparing a woman’s uterus prior to placing an embryo. Newer data is showing that due to these combined factors some patients can actually see an improvement in their pregnancy rate by deferring transfer of their embryos from a “fresh cycle” to an FET.
It has long been noted that the highest pregnancy rates are achieved when using an egg donor. Although it has often been assumed that this is due to improved embryo quality, newer data is showing that endometrial receptivity may also be a factor. The largest review to date [r3] recently combined the results of 64 clinical research studies—including 3 randomized trials. They found that freezing embryos and transferring them in a later cycle was associated with about a 30% increase in pregnancy rate. There was no difference in the rate of miscarriage; further reassuring that the process of freezing/thawing embryos maintained their health and viability.
Another important benefit of a freeze-all (or “staggered”) cycle is that it substantially reduces a woman’s risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). So when considering your treatment options with your provider it might be worth considering the potential benefit of creating embryos now that you plan to actually transfer later.
Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.
[r1]Link to http://thegreeneguide.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/to-freeze-or-not-to-freeze-that-is-question-faced-by-many-couples-going-through-fertility-treatment
[r2]Link to http://thegreeneguide.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/is-your-uterus-ready-and-able-to-support-a-pregnancy
[r3]Link to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704124319.htm

6 replies
  1. tara
    tara says:

    Hello I had my first cycle on may 6 th 2 fresh blasts transfered got a BFP unfortunately miscarried at almost 12 weeks and had a D&C so we are hoping to have more luck with our frozen embryos coming back from columbus ohio hopefully September.

    • Editor
      Editor says:

      Hi Tara,
      We are very sorry for your loss. We look forward to working with you again, when you are ready. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you in the meantime.
      We would also like to invite you to a free Fertility Support Teleworkshop in August. Lisa will discuss honoring a miscarriage, and the many challenging emotions surrounding loss. For more information on the call, please visit our event page: http://cnyfertility.com/discussion/calendar.php?do=getinfo&e=976&day=2013-8-19&c=1

  2. shee
    shee says:

    Im 25 yrs and had 2 failled ivf cycle. I just found out about the 2nd one today. Im trying to keep strong and read some success stories to encourage me. Looking forward to trying my first FET soon.
    Regarding your pricing questions, I bet it depends on where you are.
    County? ?

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I would greatly appreciate your opinion on this dilemma I am now faced with. I am over 45 yo and currently in the process of a modified natural cycle IVF cycle, 150 mg Menopur and Ganirelix for 4 days and will be triggering tonight, follicle on left. There is a cyst on the right ovary that has a cyst so my Dr. wants to freeze the embryo for transfer after hopefully the cyst resolves. My concern is since getting any embryo at all at my age is so difficult would I be better off doing a fresh transfer. I understand in general there may be no difference or even more success with FET but since I am not at risk for OHSS, have not had traditional stimulation and do not have other hardier embryo’s that would survive the freezing process would you suggest going ahead with a fresh transfer? Of course I want to maximize my chances in all ways possible and since the cyst developed after I prematurely ovulated last cycle the chance of the cyst being too worrisome is less of a risk. Who knows if I will have any more or any good eggs left and I rather not take any unnecessary chances. As I said would greatly appreciate

    • Editor
      Editor says:

      Hi Anonymous,
      We appreciate your interest and questions. We are unable to discuss your specific cycle while working with another center. However, if you would like to schedule a consult, we would be happy to discuss your medical history and options. To schedule your appointment, please complete the following form: https://cnyfertility.com/new-appointment-form/ or you may call us directly at 1-800-539-9870
      We look forward to hearing from you!

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