What is embryo freezing?
Any excess healthy embryos from the IVF process can be frozen, in case more than one treatment cycle is needed. Freezing embryos, also known as cryopreservation, takes place for some 60% of all patients having IVF treatment – and frozen embryo transfers accounts for around 50% of all IVF births in our program.
Why and when is Embryo Freezing done?
Embryo freezing gives you more opportunities for a pregnancy for each hormone stimulation cycle and egg collection.
During a typical IVF cycle, we’ll be able to create more than one embryo, however there are serious risks associated with multiple pregnancies, so generally we won’t transfer more than one embryo at a time.
For example, if we manage to obtain two or three normal embryos (this does not always happen) we’ll usually recommend transferring one, and freezing the others. If you do not become pregnant in that first cycle, we can transfer another frozen embryo in the next cycle.
This is called a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), and means you won’t have to undergo another cycle of (IVF) hormone stimulation and egg collection.
Who can benefit from frozen embryos?
You may consider freezing your embryos for the following reasons:
- It gives you the option of using the embryos in future IVF or ICSI cycles.
- If your treatment needs to be cancelled after egg collection (for example, if you have a bad reaction to fertility drugs), you may still be able to store your embryos for future use.
- If you have a condition (cancer treatment), or are facing medical treatment for a condition, that might affect your fertility (embryo freezing is currently the most effective way for women to preserve their fertility).
- You are at risk of injury or death (eg, you’re a member of the Armed Forces who is being deployed to a war zone).