A frozen embryo transfer or FET, uses an embryo cryopreserved from a previous IVF cycle or a donor embryo. It is thawed and transferred into a woman’s uterus. Scientific advancements are resulting in increased success rates when using frozen embryos.
Women under 35 years of age with a good ovarian reserve many times have embryos that can be frozen. After 35, her chance of having embryos left for cryopreservation greatly decreases.
After an embryo has been cryopreserved, it can be stored indefinitely.
When A Frozen Embryo Transfer Can Occur
- Following a successful fresh transfer when a woman is trying to conceive years later
- Following an unsuccessful fresh transfer, months to years later when the woman is ready to try again
- Following genetic testing of a couple’s embryos, which results in the need for cryopreservation of the tested embryos
- When a fresh transfer is medically not in the best interest of the patient
The success rates for fresh and frozen transfers are comparable. In some cases, FET can have better success rates. Here are some of the advantages:
- Less medication is needed.
- Less stress. Because FET cycles are more predictable, patients can choose their transfer dates months in advance.
- Less costly. Because FET is a less invasive procedure, the cost is substantially less than a fresh transfer.
What to Expect During FET
- You will take estrogen injections to thicken your uterine lining for 15 to 22 days prior to the transfer date
- You will take progesterone on day 5 to 6 to prepare your uterus for the thawed embryo
- The laboratory thaws the embryo(s) on the day of the transfer
- Using a thin catheter and guided by ultrasound, an embryo is transferred into your uterus. You will not need anesthesia for the approximately 2-minute procedure. Discomfort is similar to that of a pap smear.
- After two weeks, you will take a pregnancy test to see if implantation has occurred.