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Facts About Fresh vs. Frozen Embryo Transfer

Forty years after the first baby was ever born via in-vitro fertilization (IVF), there are now more options for women trying to conceive. However, there are still debates within the medical community regarding many aspects of IVF and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Embryo Transfer

There are two ways to transfer an embryo after a woman’s eggs have been retrieved. Either the embryo can be transferred immediately through a fresh transfer, or the embryo can be frozen immediately to be thawed for a transfer at a later date. Understanding the positives and negatives about fresh vs. frozen embryo transfer can help you decide which process might be right for you.

Fresh Transfer

Fresh transfers of embryos can be less costly — totaling less than $3,000 in some cases. Because the transfer is immediate, the timeframe for becoming pregnant is reduced. Additionally, there is much more long-term data in the scientific community regarding fresh transfers of embryos. Unfortunately, there are some populations that have lower rates of success with fresh transfers, and some risk factors such as smaller babies or pre-term deliveries may result from a fresh embryo transfer.

Frozen Transfer

Frozen transfer of embryos can have greater chances of success with women who have endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high progesterone at the trigger, or are of Asian or African ancestry. Additionally, a frozen transfer is safer in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) vulnerable patients. Frozen transfers are also easier to genetically test, leading to more information for the parents. Research shows that frozen transfers have increased implantation rates, increased live birth rates, decreased miscarriage rates, increased ongoing pregnancy rates and healthier babies.

However, there is still little long-term data regarding frozen transfers of embryos, and the data that does exist does not extend beyond 15 years. Also, there have been shown to be birth-related risk factors such as larger babies and pre-eclampsia.

Current Medical Debate

In the past five years, many medical experts have argued that the frozen transfer of embryos is preferable, as the process results in healthier babies with fewer complications. However, within this research are pieces of information that indicate that this type of transfer may only be advantageous for those women who produce over 15 eggs following hormone stimulation. Those women who produced fewer than 15 eggs fared better with the fresh transfer of embryos. This research directly contradicts studies stating that frozen transfers are always preferable for all patients. Ultimately, further research is needed, and every woman considering IVF should consult with a medical professional to determine which type of transfer is best for her unique situation and medical condition.

Contact Orange County Fertility Clinic

If you are considering any type of fertility treatment, and are wondering if fresh or frozen embryo transfer would be right for you, contact the Orange County Fertility Clinic. We would be happy to speak to you about the fertility treatment process and your options. Call us at 949-528-8545 (BABY) or visit us online today.

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