During a normal ovulation cycle, a woman typically produces one or two mature eggs that are suitable for fertilization. To offer a greater chance of success during your in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, you will be prescribed medication to induce ovulation and help you produce multiple mature eggs. Depending on the exact method used to transfer fertilized eggs (embryos) back into your uterus, there may be additional healthy embryos left after the transfer is performed. Freezing excess embryos can allow for a frozen embryo transfer in the future at our San Antonio fertility center, in case you decide to try to conceive again. If you are curious about the process and benefits of frozen embryo transfer, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with our fertility experts.
Understanding Embryo Transfer
Freezing Extra Embryos
IVF allows us to fertilize mature eggs with healthy sperm outside of your body. The entire process involves several different procedures. After retrieving the eggs and sperm, fertilization can be accomplished through insemination (mixing and incubating the eggs and sperm) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), depending on which technique our doctors decide will work best for you.
After fertilization is complete, one or two of the healthiest embryos will be transferred into your uterus, where they should implant into the lining. Following the embryo transfer, you may choose to freeze extra embryos that have reached the blastocyst phase five or six days after fertilization. The freezing process, called vitrification, is achieved rapidly with liquid nitrogen after each embryo is placed in a special solution. If you choose to try to become pregnant again, these mature embryos can be thawed out and transferred without the need for extensive preparation.
The Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle
Before a frozen embryo transfer takes place, we will perform a thorough examination, including an ultrasound, to ensure that your uterus is healthy and your ovaries are free of cysts. Since the embryos are already fertilized and matured, you will not have to undergo new rounds of sperm retrieval, egg retrieval, and fertilization. After about two weeks of hormone injections, your uterus should be amply prepared, and the frozen embryos can be thawed and prepared for transfer into your uterus. We only thaw embryos that will be transferred, and if the procedure fails, you can repeat the process with the frozen embryos that remain.
Benefits of the Procedure
By avoiding the retrieval of eggs and sperm and then combining them for fertilization, frozen embryo transfer allows you to conceive in less time and with less preparation than a completely new IVF procedure entails. Additionally, the embryos you use will be younger than the eggs that you currently produce, and may increase your chances of a successful pregnancy and birth.
Learn More about Customizing Your Fertility Treatment
Your infertility issues are unique to you and your partner, and your assisted infertility treatment should be tailored to your needs, condition, and preferences. To learn more about whether egg freezing and frozen embryo transfer can help you build your family, schedule a consultation by calling or visiting the Fertility Center of San Antonio today.