Apr 27

Frozen Embryo Transfer Timeline

Posted on April 27, 2020 — by Joseph E. Martin, M.D., FACOG

Frozen embryoThe fertility services at Fertility Center of San Antonio provide patients with solutions for current fertility issues, as well as family planning tools for the future. Patients who undergo IVF can have healthy, fresh embryos implanted that cycle. Patients can then freeze any remaining viable embryos for later use. Or, patients can have all viable embryos frozen so they can get pregnant in the future.

Frozen embryo transfer gives patients the ability to pursue a pregnancy without going through the entire IVF process again. Here, our San Antonio, TX, patients can learn about the typical frozen embryo transfer timeline so that they have a better idea of how this procedure works.

Pre-treatment Examination

Prior to performing frozen embryo transfer, patients will need to undergo an exam to determine if they are ideal candidates for this procedure. Even if a woman has viable frozen embryos, the procedure will not be a success if the embryos are not being transferred to a healthy environment that is ready to support a pregnancy.

To determine patient candidacy, we will perform an ultrasound to examine the uterus and ovaries. We will be looking for the presence of cysts or other complications that could compromise the success of treatment. As long as everything looks good, we can proceed with the transfer procedure.

Preparing for Transfer

Frozen embryo transfer requires far less preparation than IVF treatment because eggs have already been released, collected, and fertilized. However, some patients will need to take fertility medications to build up the lining of the uterus so that it is ready for implantation.

Embryo Transfer

When the timing is right, the frozen embryos will be thawed and the transfer procedure will be scheduled. We only thaw the number of embryos that will be transferred during the procedure. In many cases, this leaves patients with extra frozen embryos so they can undergo frozen embryo transfer again in the future, if they choose to do so.

The transfer procedure only takes a matter of minutes, and it requires no anesthesia. Most women say that the procedure is similar to a routine pap smear. Using ultrasound imaging as a guide, a small catheter that is loaded with the embryo(s) is passed through the vaginal canal and cervix. Embryos will be released from the catheter and transferred directly into the uterus.

When placement is complete, the patient remains lying down on the exam table for about an hour before returning home. Although our San Antonio patients should have no significant side effects or discomfort, we advise that they limit activities for the remainder of the day.

How Long Does the Process Take?

From the time of the pre-treatment exam to the day of implantation, frozen embryo transfer generally takes just over two weeks. This is roughly half the time required for a full IVF cycle, which usually takes about four to six weeks.

Schedule an Appointment

At the Fertility Center of San Antonio, we offer a wide range of services to help those who are struggling to become pregnant. If you have more questions about frozen embryo transfer or any of our other procedures, call (210) 692-0577 and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

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