Frozen Embryo Transfer: Timeline, Process & Tips


The freezing embryo is a relatively new method of assisted reproduction that gives people an opportunity to get pregnant at their preferable time in the future. In this method, an egg is fertilized with a sperm in the laboratory (IVF) and then, the resulting embryo gets frozen to be implanted in the mother's uterus at an appropriate time.

Why Do People Freeze Embryo?

For a variety of reasons, couples may freeze and store their embryos to use them in the future. Some of these reasons include:

  • Low level of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) which makes the ovaries produce fewer eggs;
  • Having cancer. Some couples prefer to freeze their embryo before undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy; 
  • Intending to have children in the distant future, even during the menopause period; 
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which causes hormonal imbalance in women and reduces their ovaries reserve;
  • Having menstrual disorders; and
  • Intending to have more kids in the future by using the IVF method. 
  • Also, in some rare cases, people freeze their fertilized eggs to sell them to infertile couples in the future. 


For a variety of reasons, couples may freeze and store their embryos to use them in the future.

Frozen Embryo Transfer: How to Prepare

Frozen embryo transfer is not a complicated procedure, but before the operation, consider the following tips:

  • Take your medications, especially the hormonal ones, as they were prescribed;
  • Take an ultrasound scan to check the condition of the ovaries and uterus;
  • If you have a history of miscarriage or premature birth, inform your doctor;
  • Avoid having sexual intercourse for three days before the transfer;
  • Relax your body and mind by doing yoga and meditation;
  • Reduce your screentime for a couple of days before FET;
  • Avoid doing strenuous activities and get plenty of rest;
  • Have a nutrient diet and avoid dishes that irritate your digestive system;
  • Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and radiations;
  • Stay hydrated;
  • Take a shower a night before the transfer; and
  • Eat a healthy breakfast on the day of embryo transfer. 


Frozen Embryo Transfer Procedure Step by Step

Frozen embryo transfer is a rather simple procedure that does not require anesthesia. This operation is done in a fertility clinic or hospital and takes almost 15 minutes. On the day of the transfer, the doctor will perform an ultrasound scan on your uterus to check the condition of your endometrium. If everything is good, the process of embryo transfer begins.

After the initial preparation and rinsing of the discharges from the vagina, the IVF specialist transfers one or more embryos to the uterine cavity by a fine tube called a catheter. After the transfer, you have to lie down for 20 minutes and then, you can go back home.

Almost two weeks after frozen embryo transfer, you can take a blood or urine test to confirm the pregnancy. Although it might be tempting to take a pregnancy test sooner, specialists highly recommend waiting at least 15 days before taking the beta test.

Frozen Embryo Transfer

What to Do after IVF with Frozen Embryo to Increase Success?

After IVF with a frozen embryo, take the following care:

  • Take all the prescribed medications as before. Do not increase or taper off any medication at your discretion;
  • Take a pregnancy test 15-18 days after FET. If the test is negative, repeat 48 hours later and if it is positive, continue taking the medication as usual and visit your doctor as soon as possible;
  • Avoid strenuous activities and sexual intercourse until your pregnancy is confirmed;
  • Rest at home for up to three days and ask someone to be your caregiver;
  • If you have a history of chronic cough or constipation, inform your doctor;
  • Avoid straining during bowel movements;
  • Do pregnancy exercises;
  • After transferring the embryo, you can take quick showers but you shouldn’t stay in a hot bathroom for too long;
  • After the transfer, you can have all kinds of foods except canned and processed ones as well as herbal teas and alcoholic beverages. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet to prevent constipation.
  • You can sleep in any position you feel comfortable and it is not necessary to put your legs up while sleeping; 
  • Maintain vaginal hygiene;
  • In case of spotting, bleeding, shortness of breath, or severe abdominal pain, contact your doctor immediately;
  • Avoid contact with people with colds, rubella, chicken pox, or the flu;
  • Avoid stress and anxiety; and
  • Do not take non-prescribed medicine without consulting your doctor.


Frozen Embryo Transfer Timeline

Each cycle of frozen embryo transfer will take almost six to eight weeks. For about three to four weeks, you have to take birth control pills to restrain ovaries activity. When the ovarian is suppressed completely, it is time for checking the hormone levels and endometrium. To that end, you need to perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan and necessary blood work for a couple of days. 

Based on the condition of your uterus, the doctor prescribes the injection of estrogen. Usually, the patients have to inject estrogen for a week to thicken the uterus lining and prevent ovarian follicles from growing. After estrogen injections, another bloodwork and transvaginal ultrasound are needed to check the uterus lining. 

If your endometrium has the expected lining, i.e., 7mm, your doctor will ask you to take daily injections or vaginal suppositories of progesterone for four to five days.

Finally, you are ready for embryo transfer almost two weeks after taking birth control pills. The exact day of transfer will be determined by your doctor. On that day, you go to a fertility clinic with a full bladder and receive the fertilized egg through a simple procedure. As doctors suggest, the embryo will be implanted in the first 24-48 hours after the transfer, but you have to wait 15 days before taking the pregnancy test. 

Success Rate of IVF with Frozen Embryo 

The success rate of IVF with frozen embryos depends on several factors such as the cause and duration of infertility, health condition and BMI of the mother, uterine receptivity, quality of the embryo, and most importantly, the age of the mother. The higher the age of the mother, the lower the success rate of IVF with the frozen embryo. In general, the success rate of this method is 60% for women under the age of 35 and %20 for women above the age of 40. 

Cost of IVF with Frozen Embryo 

The cost of IVF with frozen embryos depends on the price of IVF procedure, duration of embryo cryopreservation, facilities of the hospital, doctor's fee, required medications, the number of lab tests required, etc. To know the exact cost of IVF with frozen embryos, you should ask your specialist or a fertility clinic.

Signs of Successful IVF with Frozen Embryo 

  • No period after embryo transfer: when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, menstrual bleeding does not occur anymore.
  • Clear mucus discharge after embryo transfer: an increase in vaginal discharge can be a sign of successful IVF with frozen embryos. Usually, women have clear mucus in the early weeks of pregnancy.
  • Sore breasts after frozen embryo transfer: most women experience swelling, tenderness, and pain in their breasts at the beginning of their pregnancy. This happens due to hormonal changes in the body.
  • Feeling sleepy and tired after IVF: during the first stages of pregnancy, the amount of progesterone in the body increases which results in extreme fatigue and muscle cramps. 
  • Headache and dizziness after FET: if the frozen embryo transfer is successful, you may experience severe hypotension and hypoglycemia. As a result, you might feel down all day and experience headaches, dizziness, and even fainting.


Conclusion

To sum up, frozen embryo transfer is the final step of the IVF process through which the fertilized egg(s) is directly transferred into the mother’s uterus using a catheter. IVF with frozen embryos is a complex procedure and should be done in a standard hospital and under the supervision of an experienced doctor. Luckily, in Iran, there are thousands of knowledgeable physicians and well-equipped fertility clinics which offer the best healthcare services at a reasonable price.

IVF in Iran

If you intend to do IVF with frozen embryos in Iran, contact Raadina Co. to get more information about the top fertility clinics in the country as well as the price of this operation in Iran. Raadina Team offers you special embryo transfer packages which include booking doctor’s appointments, applying for a medical visa, arranging transportation in the country, and booking suitable and affordable accommodations.

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