In case you have gone through IVF treatment you may wonder what happens to the embryos that have been created but that haven’t been used. In this case you have the possibility of frozen embryo transfer at a later date. The procedure is also known as FET and it is available at the majority of the hospitals.
What does the transfer of frozen embryo mean?
This is considered a relatively new technology since it was introduced in the 1980s. The main point is to freeze the embryos and then transfer them to the uterus after that have been thawed. The advantage is that it isn’t as invasive as it may sound at first and a lot of couples opt for it.
Why to choose the transfer of frozen embryo?
Usually the couples opting for this procedure often have gone through IUI without any success or they had IVF treatments before. Also there are some couples who don’t want to discard the embryos just because they weren’t used during the process. In other cases couples know that they will need IVF in the future.
You may opt for frozen embryo transfer if you know that you would like to have more children and natural fertilization isn’t an option for you.
When using IVF, there are several viable embryos created to ensure the success of the treatment. In case you know for sure that you want to have other children in the future and you will need other IVF cycles, the transfer of frozen embryo may be the way to go. The couples could also get donated embryos, but these should be frozen for at least 6 months.
Freezing of the embryo
As you may have guessed, the frozen embryo transfer involves the embryo being frozen which is also known as cryopreservation. This could happen at various times, like one day after fertilization, up to six days after this takes place. The advantage is that this way the embryos remain viable for up to 10 years.
This part of the transfer of frozen embryo means that the embryos are placed into glass vials that look like straws and then they are mixed in a special solution which is known as cryoprotectant. This will stop ice formation among the cells of the embryo. Then the vials are placed into freezers.
The freezers in case of the frozen embryo transfer work with liquid nitrogen and these are controlled by specialists. The freezing process is a slow one, until the embryos reach -196° C.
Before the transfer of frozen embryo can actually take place, the embryos need to be thawed. When the specialist thinks it’s time, the embryos are removed from the freezer. Usually thawing takes place naturally until the embryos reach room temperature.
Then, as part of frozen embryo transfer, the embryos are cleaned with different solutions to make sure that there is no trace of the cryoprotectant. Then the embryos are heated to body temperature and they are mixed with culture medium.
The truth about the process of the transfer of frozen embryo is pretty simple and it is very similar to the IVF process. Your ovulation cycles will be monitored and so will be the lining of the uterus. At the right moment the embryo will be transferred into the uterus and hopefully this will be the beginning of your pregnancy.
In case you are trying to get pregnant, frozen embryo transfer is a good option for you, but this is something that you have to discuss with your fertility specialist to know whether it is truly suitable for you.