Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Freezing is now an essential part of fertility treatment. In fact, studies have proven that results are better when embryos are transferred in later non-stimulated cycles. Due to improved freezing techniques many centres are moving towards freezing all embryos and transferring them at a later date once the female partner’s body has returned to normal following stimulation.
This approach is offered at the iTrust clinics to patients if required and for surplus embryo’s which allows our patients the choice of having them transferred after thawing one at a time in later for additional treatment cycles. This maximises cumulative live birth rates per IVF attempt while minimising multiple pregnancies, which increases the health risks for both mother and baby.
Thawed embryos may be replaced during a natural cycle (without drugs) or in a cycle primed with hormone supplements. Depending on your medical history and age, your fertility specialist will be able to discuss with you which treatment will be most appropriate for you.
The frozen embryo transfer itself is the same procedure as an embryo transfer in a fresh cycle.
Once the embryo is thawed, a catheter holding the embryo is gently inserted into the cervical channel and into the uterine cavity guided by ultrasound. The catheter is then removed and checked to make sure the embryo has been transferred. After the transfer, you can return to normal with the embryo quite safe within the uterus. Following embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is usually arranged twelve to fourteen days later. During this time, it is best to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting.
For most people undergoing IVF or ICSI treatment, there will also be embryos remaining for the future either if treatment is unsuccessful or for a sibling. Spare embryos from your IVF treatment can be frozen for future use, depending on their quality. This would require having a frozen embryo transfer or “FET” cycle. Embryos can be stored for up to ten years for future treatment.