Patients who have extra embryos available after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle can choose to freeze any extra embryos. Those frozen embryos can then be transferred into the uterus in a future cycle. Embryos are typically frozen 5 days after fertilization.
In a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle, the recipient does not need to take any injectable stimulatory medications. The FET cycle is much less taxing compared to a “fresh” IVF cycle — both physically and financially. The cost of an FET cycle is a fraction of the cost of a fresh IVF cycle and may be covered by insurance.
Patients meet with Dr. Andrew Levi before a FET cycle to discuss whether additional testing should be performed before the frozen embryo transfer. Dr. Levi will also discuss how many embryos should be transferred back. Of note, some embryos may not survive the thaw process.
About 70-80% of high-quality embryos are expected to survive the thawing process. An embryo is said to survive if at least half of its cells are alive. For example, if a six-cell embryo is thawed, and three cells are alive, that embryo has survived the thaw. If the desired number of embryos does not survive the thawing process, additional embryos can be thawed in time for the scheduled embryo transfer, since embryos thaw fairly rapidly.
After the embryo transfer, patients rest for about twenty minutes in a recovery room. The restrictions following the embryo transfer are similar to that of a fresh embryo transfer.
Park Avenue Fertility can accept your frozen embryos if you wish to transfer them from another clinic. Our embryology staff can help facilitate the transfer of embryos and in many cases, can pick up your embryos for you, thus making the process efficient and stress-free.