IVF: Frozen Embryo Transfer
What is a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle, and when can I do an FET cycle?
You may do a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle, whenever you have frozen embryos and wish to use them. This may be after a delivery of a child, and you wish to come back and use your frozen embryos. It could also be after an unsuccessful stimulated IVF cycle, in which you have obtained frozen embryos.
What are the benefits of a frozen embryo transfer (FET) over a fresh (stimulated) cycle?
A FET is often a good choice over a fresh stimulated cycle when a patient has frozen embryos to use. In that case, benefits include lower cost (as can be discussed with your financial counselor although FET's are included in Shared Risk), less complex treatment (e.g. no surgical retrieval of eggs), less medication, and generally similar success rates.
What are the success rates for IVF with FET?
FETs use blastocysts that have been frozen following a fresh cycle.
How long does the FET process take?
A patient will contact our office with her wishes to begin a frozen cycle. Her records will be reviewed to insure her prescreening is up-to-date. This may include, but is not limited to, infectious disease bloodwork, Pap Smear, updated mock ET, and consents and injection review. If there has been appreciable time since the last time she was in the office, a follow-up visit with the physician will also be scheduled.
At cycle baseline, patients are instructed to begin sequential injections of estrogen, to build the uterine lining. At ‘lining check,’ upon demonstrated of a thickened endometrium, patients are instructed to add in progesterone. A frozen embryo transfer date is confirmed, and the patient presents for her actual frozen transfer.
Estrogen and progesterone continue during the frozen transfer, and through the blood pregnancy test, about two weeks later.
What fertility tests are required for FET?
The FET cycle requires very little pre-testing. If you have had a recent delivery or other medical indication, an updated Mock Embryo Transfer (Mock ET, or uterine sounding) will be completed to accurately measure and map your uterine contours.
Most patients will be on a cycle/month of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) before their actual frozen cycle.
Consents for this frozen treatment cycle are updated every 90 days, and need to be signed by both patient and partner. Updated infectious disease bloodwork for patient and partner is needed within the last year.
How many monitoring appointments are needed for FET, on average?
An average patient may have 4 appointments during her cycle. One for a baseline evaluation (blood and US), before her medications are started. One at mid-cycle (‘lining check’), to insure the uterine lining is thickened, one the actual transfer appointment itself and then one for the beta HCG pregnancy test two weeks later.
What kind of fertility drugs will I take when doing a FET?
Supplemental estrogen and progesterone medications may be similar, yet may not be the same, but the daily injections of medications to stimulate the ovaries are not needed. Estrogen is often given in the form of every-third day injections. Progesterone is administered in the form of injections every day as instructed after the mid-lining sonogram check.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please speak with one of our friendly New Patient Liaisons by calling 888-761-1967.
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