Dominion Fertility adopted a “freeze all” embryos approach for IVF. This approach optimizes successful outcomes while reducing complications.
Why No Fresh Embryo Transfers?
There are two major reasons that we have adopted the universal freeze-all policy for our Stimulated IVF program:
Reason#1: It’s safer for you and better for your pregnancy.
One of the most vexing problems with stimulated cycle IVF is the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Freezing all the embryos from an IVF cycle and performing a frozen embryo transfer (FET) at a later date can reduce the risk and severity of OHSS.
In addition, several studies have shown that performing an embryo transfer in a stimulated cycle can lead to an increase in pregnancy-related complications such as first and third-trimester bleeding. During a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle, your hormone levels are ideal leading to a better outcome for you and your baby.
Reason #2: Most patients choose Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
Preimplantation genetic testing, formerly preimplantation genetic screening, allows us to determine which embryos are genetically normal to maximize pregnancy rates with elective single embryo transfer and decrease the risk of miscarriage. However, PGS results are not available for about a week following the biopsy of the blastocyst stage embryo necessitating the freezing of all embryos following biopsy.
Frozen Embryo Transfer is a Good Option for Many Patients
As you can see, a frozen embryo transfer can be a good option for many patients. In most respects, it is a lot simpler than a fresh IVF cycle because you don’t have to undergo egg retrieval and there is a minimal number of hormone injections.
The Two Types of FET: Natural Cycle FET and Medicated FET
There are two types of frozen embryo transfer cycles: Natural Cycle FET and Medicated FET.
Natural Cycle FET
If you have regular periods, you may not need estrogen medications to prepare for an FET. If you choose the option of a Natural Cycle FET, you will be monitored periodically (using blood work and sonograms) during the first half of your cycle. When you have a follicle that is ready to ovulate and if your endometrial lining looks good, then a trigger injection (HCG) will be given to induce ovulation allowing us to time the embryo transfer. The transfer will occur one week after the HCG injection. Since an egg is released following the HCG shot, it is important that you avoid conceiving with that egg if your situation does not preclude natural conception!
While Dominion Fertility has had several success stories involving Natural Cycle FET, this process can come with risks that your doctors will discuss with you at the time of your visit. Primarily, without the advanced scheduling of medicated FET, there is no guarantee that the laboratory will be able to support your optimal time of implantation. Additionally, if your natural cycle produces suboptimal estrogen levels and endometrial development, the FET will need to be postponed until your next cycle. This can lead to the need for repeated treatments, greater costs, and more exhausting time requirements for patients. In fact, it can take 3-4 natural FET cycles to achieve the results of a medicated FET cycle. To support the greatest possible chances of success with our treatments, Dominion Fertility only offers medicated FET services at this time.
Medicated FET Cycles
Some women benefit from taking medications to prime the endometrium for an embryo transfer. Additionally, a medicated FET cycle offers more control for patients who require advanced planning for the timing of the transfer. If you choose this option, you would begin estrogen medications just after the beginning of your menses. As we do for a Natural Cycle FET, you will be monitored periodically (using blood work and sonograms). When hormone levels are optimal and the endometrium is ready, then we start progesterone and the transfer is performed about a week later as planned.
Freezing the Embryos Doesn’t Affect the chance of Pregnancy
At Dominion Fertility, we are proud that our success rates with frozen embryos are outstanding. We take excellent care of your frozen embryos and the chance of an embryo failing to survive the thawing process is very small.