Fresh vs. Frozen Embryo Transfer: Which Is Better? By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on August 17, 2017

Embryos undergoing cryopreservationIn vitro fertilization (IVF) provides patients who have had difficulty getting pregnant with the opportunity to start their journey to parenthood. Patients who choose this treatment will undergo sperm and egg retrieval, and then the embryologist will combine specimens together in a laboratory under careful supervision. After three to five days, a certain number of embryos will be transferred directly to the patients’ uterus.

Any remaining embryos can be frozen via a process known as cryopreservation and used for a future IVF. This is especially beneficial for patients who experience a failed IVF cycle or want to expand their family even further.

When considering this fertility treatment, patients often want to know if there are any differences between fresh vs. frozen embryo transfer. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen performs both at our Houston, TX clinic and will explain the procedure in detail with you during your consultation.

Fresh Embryo Transfer Benefits

During a fresh embryo transfer, the female patient only has to wait three to five days after fertilization before the embryos are transferred. If implantation is successful, this results in shorter wait times.

Before the transfer, the embryologist will select the highest quality embryo, resulting in improved implantation rates. The technology used during this treatment method has been used for over 30 years and has helped thousands of patients successfully start their families. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the live birth success rates are as follows:

  • Women 35 years and under: 41-43%
  • Women 35 to 37 years old: 33-36%
  • Women 38 to 40 years old: 23-27%
  • Women 40 years and older: 13-18%

Frozen Embryo Transfer Benefits

While previous studies have given fresh embryo transfers higher success rates than frozen embryo transfers, recent studies have shown that when performed by a qualified fertility specialist using good quality embryos, the success rates are virtually the same. Some studies have even given IVF pregnancies achieved through frozen embryo transfers the same implantation results as pregnancies achieved through natural conception.

During fresh embryo transfer, you are given extensive doses of hormone medications prior to egg retrieval to induce higher levels of egg production. This can result in large amounts of hormones in your body, causing less of a natural atmosphere during the transfer. In rare cases, it can even cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a painful condition that could postpone your chances of pregnancy.

Women who undergo frozen embryo transfer experience less stress on their body and the embryos are placed in a more natural environment. This has resulted in:

  • Higher implantation success rates
  • Healthier pregnancies with less potential side effects
  • Reduced risk for miscarriage
  • Healthier babies

As an added benefit, you have greater control on the transfer date. With the embryos frozen, it prevents them from aging. Although there is a risk of the embryos getting damaged during the freezing and unfreezing process, advanced technology has significantly reduced these risks.

Schedule Your IVF

If you are considering IVF as a possible fertility treatment, the first step is scheduling a fertility evaluation with Dr. Kristiansen at Houston Fertility Center. As a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, with over 20 years of experience, she will work closely with you to help make your dreams of having a baby a reality. Contact our office online today to schedule your consultation. We offer two locations in the greater Houston area.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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