Frozen Embryo Transfer, or FET, is a fertility cycle where frozen embryos are taken from an earlier IVF, (in-vitro fertilization) and thawed so they can be transferred back into a woman’s uterus. FETs make up more than 90% of the embryo transfers performed at Utah Fertility Center (versus using fresh, stimulated cycle embryos). Often times that is due to pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT-A) (a genetic test that takes a couple of weeks for the results to come in), or because viable embryos were created and frozen during a previous IVF cycle. Deciding if a fresh transfer is best for you or if freezing and using FET’s to transfer your embryos is an important question to discuss with your fertility specialist. Here are some of the benefits of FET for discussion with your doctor.
Frozen Embryo Transfers Benefits
- There is reduced cost vs. fresh IVF cycle (if already have frozen embryos)
- Fewer medications to take
- No egg retrieval with anesthesia
- Reduced stress (the fresh cycle stimulation response, egg development, and retrieval are considered)
- Higher reported success rates, and live birth rates
Preparing for a FET Cycle
Our Fertility Center team (physician or coordinator) will meet with you to go over your records and make sure that your medical testing and screening are up to date, and will create a calendar and go over consents. When you come in for your FET plan of care, you’ll want to ensure that you have enough medication and understand how each needs to be taken. This also means that you’ll want to have enough refills to take as needed. It’s important to schedule your blood work as early as possible so you can get your results back on time. Then, we’ll start with a baseline ultrasound and give you estrogen pills to take for 2-3 weeks so that your uterine lining can be built up.
When you come in again, we will perform another ultrasound, this time to check the uterine lining and a blood draw to determine your estrogen levels. As your endometrium lining thickens, you’ll start taking progesterone as well for 6 days, after which the transfer can be done. It’s important that your lining and lab work are where they need to be, and if they aren’t, we will schedule another ultrasound and blood draw.
Before you come in for the FET transfer, our embryologists will thaw out the embryo(s) so they will be ready for the transfer. Next, we will schedule an HCG blood draw 10 days after your FET. During that time you will still need to take progesterone and estrogen until the 10th week of gestation to thicken up your uterine lining before the placenta can handle it. If a negative pregnancy test arises then you’ll stop taking them.
The reason a FET cycle is so valuable is that the success rate is just as good as using fresh IVF cycles and actually can have a 2-3 percent higher success rate as the uterine lining is optimized for implantation. For a woman, when considering age frozen embryos tend to have an advantage. Since egg quality tends to decline with age, embryos created at a younger age tend to have higher probability for pregnancy – you can wait a few years after freezing your embryos before opting for a FET cycle. There’s no deterioration of the frozen embryo before thawing so you can experience success, just as you would if your embryo was taken from a fresh IVF cycle.
Preparing for Transfer Day
As with most fertility treatments, it’s important that you take good care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep and rest to lessen your stress levels before the transfer day. Sticking to a balanced diet will also support your health. When you come in for the embryo transfer, be sure to be on time and have a full bladder.
If you are considering having a frozen embryo transfer done in Pleasant Grove, Ogden, St. George, and Murray, Utah, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologists, we welcome you to reach out to our Utah Fertility Center by calling 801-785-5100 today. We look forward to being part of your fertility journey!