Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Unless our patients request otherwise, New Hope Fertility Center encourages single embryo transfers to reduce the risks associated with multiple births. When several embryos are transferred during conventional IVF treatments, the patient has a higher chance of becoming pregnant with multiples, therefore increasing the chance of giving birth before she has reached full term. Preterm babies are subject to health issues associated with premature birth (ie. low birth weights, developmental difficulties), and the woman carrying multiples is also at a heightened risk of developing problems during pregnancy (ie. gestational diabetes, preeclampsia). By using our vitrification freezing method women can save surplus embryos from their initial IVF cycle for future cycles when they decide to have more children. Couples and single women also choose to freeze embryos in an effort to preserve their fertility so they will have embryos available when they decide to start a family.
The Frozen Embryo Transfer procedure is simple. It involves thawing and then transferring the embryo into a woman’s uterus for hopeful pregnancy. Embryos are transferred to the uterus through a catheter. This procedure is much like a pap smear, does not require any anesthesia, and is usually painless. The embryos are placed in a small amount of fluid inside the catheter, which is passed through the cervix at the time of a speculum examination.
You can read more about the frozen embryo transfer procedure on the New Hope Fertility Center Blog. We also frequently report on the health and cost effectiveness of single embryo transfers in the practice of IVF. You can read more on SET here.
For the purposes of freezing, oocytes are usually taken during the fully mature MII phase of meiosis (the multi-step process through which an oocyte prepares for recombination with male sperm). Retrieving oocytes and subsequently freezing them at their mature, pre-ovulatory stage means that when they are unfrozen, they will be ready to be fertilized.