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If a couple wishes to use a frozen fertilized egg for pregnancy, it can be further cultured and transferred to the uterus. This is called a cryotransfer. Unfertilized egg cells that had been frozen are previously fertilized, always by an intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
The cryotransfer can be performed at optimal cycle conditions without hormonal support. Another possibility is to support the development of the uterine lining by estrogens and optimally prepare for the implantation of the egg. The thickness of the uterine lining can be measured by ultrasound. If it is thick enough, progesterone is simulated by hormone progesterone. As a result, the structure of the mucosa changes and it is ready to receive embryos. The third option is hormonal stimulation with clomifene or FSH to support follicle maturation before embryo transfer. Now the doctor can insert the embryo / embryos into the uterus with a soft catheter.
German fertility specialists have been conducting extensive research for the last five years with the aim to improve vitrification protocol in order to allow safe and efficient storage of human embryos for further frozen embryo transfer. Modern vitrification solutions allow shock-frosting of late-stage embryos (blastocysts) without any risk for the exposed material. Freezing is absolutely safe. Excellent embryo survival rates and high proportion of successful implantations after transfer ensure that the patients from all over the world trust the life of their future babies to European specialists. The German fertility specialists treat each frozen embryo individually as a small patient, which helps to minimize risks and steadily increase success rates.
In vitro fertilization cycle usually requires four major steps. The IVF procedure begins with hormone stimulation of ovaries, which can be associated with certain risks. The main advantage of frozen cells transfer is that no hormone stimulation and follicle puncture/ ovum retrieval is needed for this treatment. As a result, FET procedure has no side-effects, typical for IVF (i.e. no risk of ovarian hyperstimulation). The procedure is easier to plan and more cost-effective. The price for FET protocol makes up a fraction of a standard IVF price. Don’t miss the chance to try again, freeze your reproductive cells for better chances.
Ideal candidates for FET
Freezing the cells for further transfer is a reasonable step for family-planning. Ideal candidates for frozen embryo transfer are those who
- have previously already conceived with IVF and now are ready for a next child
- patients who had an unsuccessful IVF protocol, but had their blastocyst frozen (cryopreserved)
The procedure of embryo freezing and transfer (FET) is very simple. A couple may go through one IVF protocol and get as many embryos frozen as possible. The preservation of the frozen embryos at German laboratories cost about 800 euro a year. If you have decided to undergo the FET procedure, your embryos can get thawed and genetically tested any time you want. Implantation rates after cryopreservation vary depending on the conditions of cryopreservation and embryo quality. The strongest of them (one or two) are placed into the uterus with a help of small catheter. The procedure of introducing embryo into the womb is painless and is performed under ultrasound control.
Freezing (cryopreservation) of embryos allows a great deal of flexibility for a patient, since you may come to Germany for treatment whenever you want. No special preparation procedure and diagnostics are needed. Due to advanced embryo vitrification (fast-freezing) technology at German fertility clinics 88% of the embryos survive during the cryopreservation. Genetic test is done before the embryo freezing
The biggest challenge during the transfer of frozen (and thawed) embryos is to decide, which embryo is the strongest. The special genetic analysis allows German specialists to scan the embryos in order to select the most “perspective” one. These genetic tests of embryos give infertile women better chances for healthy pregnancy. Moreover this type of tests helps to avoid the risk of “multiple” pregnancy, which is feared of by many patients.
Hormone stimulation for better embryo implantation: to do or not to do?
Transfer of cryopreserved embryos can be performed in a natural menstrual cycle. Usually the transfer is carried out in the natural menstrual cycle, if a regular cycle is 26-32 days. Embryo transfer date is assigned based on the condition of the frozen embryo and ovulation test characteristics (frozen embryo transfer due date calculator). The light hormone medication (don’t confuse with stimulation) helps to achieve the desired thickness of the endometrium and thus to prepare the uterine wall for further transfer. The cost is calculated with the view to an individual case and the type of fertility medication. It should be stressed, that frozen embryo transfer in a natural cycle is much cheaper than IVF and makes up about 1,500 – 2,000 euro.
Acupuncture and embryo implantation: Holistic ways to increase FET success rates
The German fertility centers attach great attention to holistic approaches in infertility treatment. Methods of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, paralleled with the traditional IVF and FET techniques, substantially increase the pregnancy chances. Alternative approaches help to support and regulate the body’s natural energy balance, eliminate psychological blocks, alleviate stress and ease tension. The latest investigation of the German Society of Reproductive Medicine (DDRM) show that patients receiving acupuncture, herbal therapy and massage therapy are 32,2% more likely to be successful with FET protocol. According to Austrian specialists, acupuncture therapy done before FET and the first week after the frozen embryo transfer helps to significantly improve embryo implantation conditions.
The choice of a good infertility specialist may not be easy. If you are ready to try new approaches in infertility treatment, don’t look further than Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Our GMG database with top European clinics and medical facilities is expected to help you to choose the best specialist. If you have questions, concerning IVF, ICSI or FET protocols, please feel free to call us and get a free consultation of a medical specialist.