Frozen Embryo Transfer Implantation Timeline
Whether you have embryos you froze from a past IVF cycle or you are doing what is referred to as a “freeze-all” cycle, patients often wonder what a frozen embryo transfer implantation timeline would be.
There are many different aspects to putting together this timeline. Why would you do a frozen cycle over fresh? What are the benefits? Does reproductive technology support this? Is a frozen embryo transfer Implantation timeline shorter or longer than a fresh cycle? Is it right for me? Below, we’ll review each aspect to help you understand why this may be something worth speaking to your doctor about.
What’s the Difference Between Fresh and Frozen?
When you go through the process of a “fresh” IVF cycle, you have several doctor appointments, taking hormone medications for approximately 10 to 14 days to produce eggs, have regular doctor appointments to see when the eggs are ready to be retrieved and then, once they are, they fertilized with your husband, partner or donor’s sperm.
When you do a freeze all cycle or you’re doing a Frozen Embryo Transfer “FET”, those 10 to 14 days are not part of equation, which the frozen embryo transfer implantation timeline is shorter. This can be a relief as you the only thing you need to focus on is transfer day.
Advancements in Freezing
More and more doctors are recommending a frozen embryo transfer over fresh cycles thanks to advancement in freezing technology known as vitrification. This is rapid freezing in liquid nitrogen prevents the formation of ice crystals which can be damaging to the embryo. Vitrification is an ultra-rapid process that prohibits the formation of ice crystals. These days, vitrification has very little impact on the embryo.
Why Frozen Embryo Transfers Are Often Recommended
In recent years, some doctors have had concerns about the receptivity of the uterine lining immediately following a retrieval. Their logic has been that after going through the process of taking hormone medications used to stimulate egg production for IVF, it may have indirectly impacted the development of the woman’s uterine lining, which would the implantation rate. While there are tests that can provide insight on your uterine lining such as the Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA) test, which can help avoid implantation failure by establishing the best day for embryo transfer, there are clinics who suggest a Frozen Embryo Transfer Implantation Timeline, which means putting a pause between the retrieval and the transfer, to increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Another important reason for suggesting either a freeze all cycle or frozen embryo transfer is many women and couples undergoing IVF to perform Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Pre-implantation
Genetic Screening (PGS) screening on their embryos prior to selecting one for transfer. Patients may choose to have embryo testing to confirm that the embryo has a normal number of chromosomes or see if their embryos contain a certain genetic mutation that can result in disease. Testing of the embryo is done by taking a small biopsy on day 5, at the blastocyst stage. The embryos are frozen using the vitrifcation process after the biopsy and are later transferred once the results are available, confirming the health of the embryo being transferred and decreasing the chance of miscarriage.
Would I Benefit from A Frozen Embryo Transfer?
Now that we have reviewed the basics, there are certain reasons to consider asking your doctor if a frozen embryo transfer implantation timeline protocol is right for you. As women age, the incidence of chromosome abnormality increases. If you’re over the age of 35 years old, you may want to ask about a frozen cycle. In addition, if you’ve had several miscarriages, it’s worth asking about as well (regardless if it the pregnancy was achieved naturally or through treatment).
Overall, a frozen embryo transfer implantation timeline can differ from a fresh cycle and even from person to person but there may be advantages based on your individual situation. It’s best to speak to your doctor to get the best advice on what he or she will work for you.