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Frequently Asked Questions about Frozen Embryo Transfers

In recent years, the success with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) has increased substantially making it an increasingly popular option to consider before moving to another fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. With frozen embryo transfers, you can extend the chance of pregnancy per egg retrieval—ultimately saving you time and money if you happen to need multiple cycles to achieve pregnancy.

Dr. Anish Shah, who sees patients out of SGF’s Richmond – Stony Point and Richmond – Henrico Doctors’ – Forest locations, answers frequently asked questions about frozen embryo transfers.

Medical Contribution By: Dr. Anish Shah
Medical Contribution By: Dr. Anish Shah

What is a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)?

frozen embryo transfer (FET) is a cycle in which the frozen embryos from a previous fresh IVF or donor egg cycle are thawed and then transferred back into the woman’s uterus.

In 2015, nearly half of all fresh IVF cycles going to transfer at Shady Grove Fertility resulted in high quality day five or six blastocyst-stage embryos available for freezing. The chance of having embryos available to freeze greatly depends on age. For example, over 60 percent of cycles in which the woman was 35 years old or younger had embryos available to freeze, while less than 20 percent of women over the age of 40 had blastocyst-stage embryos available to freeze.

When can I do an FET cycle?

Frozen embryos remain viable well over 10 years or more after the initial freeze. You may choose to do an FET cycle following an unsuccessful fresh IVF cycle, as your initial transfer after freezing all of your embryos or you are returning after a successful fresh IVF cycle ready to expand your family.

What are the success rates for frozen embryo transfers?

The success rates of an FET cycle are at least comparable to fresh IVF cycles—and can often  result in a higher success rate because of the opportunity to optimize the lining of the uterus before implantation, among other reasons. Both fresh and frozen cycles have the same primary indicator for success: the maternal age at the time of embryo freezing. Many patients wait several years between the initial freeze of their embryos and attempting a subsequent FET cycle. Any patient, no matter the amount of time between embryo freezing and thawing, can expect nearly the same potential for success as they experienced with the fresh IVF cycle that the frozen embryos came from.

Women 35 years and younger have over a 60 percent chance of pregnancy per transfer. This rate declines as the maternal age at the time of the freeze increases.

What is the cost of embryo cryopreservation and storage?

For patients enrolled in our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program and Multi-Cycle Discount Program for IVF, the embryo cryopreservation and storage fees are included with your contract. The Shared Risk 100% Refund Program covers embryo storage fees throughout the term of the contract. In the Multi-Cycle Discount Program, the first year of embryo storage is included in the program fee.

For patients paying the IVF global fees for treatment, the initial embryo cryopreservation and storage fees for the first year are due at the time of service, totaling $1,800.


What is the cost of a Frozen Embryo Transfer?

Patients returning to use a frozen embryo may have one or more options:

  • Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for Frozen Embryo Transfer
    • With the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), patients pay a flat fee for unlimited FET cycles, for as many frozen embryos as that patient may have available at the time she enters the program. Similar to our traditional Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, you either take home a baby or receive a full refund. Fees for medication may be applicable and usually range from $400-$800. (some exclusions apply)
  • Fee-for-service (global fee)
    • Shady Grove Fertility offers FET cycles at a global fee of $4,600 which includes the cost of monitoring, embryology fees, embryo thaw, transfer, and your first pregnancy test. Additional pregnancy care (blood work, ultrasounds and office visits) while at Shady Grove Fertility are typically covered by insurance. Fees for medication may be applicable and usually range from $400-$800.The combination of reduced cost and equal success rates make frozen embryo transfers an exciting option.

What are the benefits of frozen embryo transfers over a fresh (stimulated) cycle?

In addition to the lower cost, benefits to a FET cycle include:

  • Less Medication
    • Instead of stimulation medication, patients use estrogen and progesterone to thicken the lining of their uterus in preparation for the embryo transfer to allow implantation. Since the stimulation phase was done in a prior cycle, there is also no egg retrieval requiring anesthesia.
  • Less Stress
    • FET cycles are often less stressful than fresh cycles because factors like stimulation response, egg development, and embryo growth were considered during the fresh cycle. Shady Grove Fertility only freezes high quality blastocyst-stage embryos giving patients a significant chance of success with an FET cycle.Cycles are also more predictable with fewer cycle cancellations. Patients may select the day of their transfer months in advance, which will then be used to determine their cycle initiation date.

What would I expect when starting a frozen cycle? 

If you’re ready to proceed with a frozen embryo transfer, contact your local Shady Grove Fertility office and set up an appointment with your physician and nurse to discuss a potential FET cycle. During this time, we will review with you your records to ensure the necessary medical testing and screening is current.

At cycle baseline, you’ll be instructed to begin a sequence of about 14 to 22 days of estrogen pills to build the uterine lining. At ‘lining check,’ upon demonstration of a thickened endometrium lining, you’ll be given instructions to begin progesterone, in addition to continuing estrogen, for usually 6 days prior to transfer. The morning of the transfer our team of embryologists will thaw the embryo(s) for transfer, a short time later the patient will arrive and the transfer, very similar to what you experience with the fresh cycle, will occur.

Estrogen and progesterone are continued through the blood pregnancy test and is concluded on the 10th week of gestation. The medication helps to continue to thicken the uterine lining until the placenta can take over.

More questions about frozen embryo transfers?

As success rates continue to climb for frozen embryo transfers, more and more patients will find themselves choosing this treatment option. Read two of our patient success stories with FETs.


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of September 2020.



To schedule a virtual consultation with an SGF physician, please call our New Patient Center at 1-888-761-1967 or submit this brief form.


  1. Khushi Rahman

    March 26, 2020 - 3:53 pm

    Thank you for the very informative article.

  2. Liyana Anam

    March 26, 2020 - 3:52 pm

    Thank you for posting this article, it was really helpfull. Great Article.

  3. Anoop

    January 26, 2020 - 8:23 am

    Great article well-done thanks for sharing with us and keep posting this type of article.
    Thanks a lot

  4. MA

    December 9, 2019 - 9:18 pm

    Great article. I read that you do about 15-22 days of estrogen before starting progesterone. My doctor only did 5 days of estrogen, lining was 7 mm and then started progesterone for 5 days and then did the transfer. The transfer failed. I was wondering if that had to do with the failing of the transfer – I believe they normally do 10-14 days and that was a miscalculation on their side, but of course they will never admit it.

  5. Misty

    November 7, 2019 - 6:44 pm

    I have a question about a scheuled FET. I am 45 years old. I stopped my birth control a week ago, and my period has not started yet.(last time it started the next day after stopping birth control pills). My treatment is happening outside of the country. Since I have not started my period when expected, does that mean the cycle will have to be canceled. Is there any way of saving this cycle? My Dr says not to start estrogen until I get my period. Is the period absolutely necessary? We already have non-refundable tickets… but i do not want to waste the time off work, if there is no way to salvage this cycle.

  6. Julia

    October 14, 2019 - 6:57 am

    This website share awesome information. I really appreciate its team efforts.

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    August 30, 2019 - 2:31 pm

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  8. Henry Jones

    August 21, 2019 - 10:18 am

    good information about treatment and success.

  9. Daytime

    June 5, 2019 - 4:20 am

    What is the your thaw rate for frozen embryos?

    • Shady Grove Fertility

      July 19, 2019 - 6:32 pm

      Hi Daytime!

      Great question. If you check out the website, Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), you’ll find a number of publications on thaw rates for frozen embryos, both for SGF labs and others. If you’re looking specifically for success rates of FET’s at SGF, you can also look at our website and dive deeper into the specific statistics you may be looking for.

      Happy researching, and hope this helps!

  10. thesoutherninstitute.com

    May 15, 2019 - 1:50 pm

    I showed this site to my sister who is trying to conceive. Thanks for all of this tips! :)

  11. temple run

    February 28, 2019 - 8:43 am

    Questions about frozen embryos transfer you share very well. I appreciate these questions.

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    December 20, 2018 - 8:22 am

    Thank you for posting this article, it was really helpfull. Great Article.

  13. Andrea Auman

    September 2, 2018 - 11:37 pm

    Is it recommended and often successful to do fet 1.5 months after ivf?

  14. Stat

    May 25, 2016 - 5:05 am

    Is it safe to do PGD on frozen day-5/6 blastocyst embryos? Does your clinic do this? If so, do you refreeze and rethaw or do you transfer as soon as you get PGD results within 24 hrs? Thank you.

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