Frozen embryo transfer is one of the procedures in a series of in vitro fertilization programs or IVF that is carried out to get children. The frozen embryo transfer process can be chosen when the mother-to-be is not in good condition, so the embryo transfer process has to be delayed.
Medically, the frozen embryo transfer procedure is relatively safe. Even so, in the process, this action will involve fertility drugs and various health problems related to pregnancy.
Let’s know more about frozen embryo transfer, starting from the definition, process, and various risks.
What is Frozen Embryo Transfer?
Embryo transfer in animals is defined as the attachment of an embryo from a superior male to a female with an egg cell. This procedure also usually involves the addition of specific hormones so that superovulation can occur.
As for humans, frozen embryo transfer is a method of freezing the embryo and then thawing it again when it is ready to be implanted into the uterus.
Frozen embryo transfer is related to a series of IVF procedures. This method can be an excellent alternative because it allows delaying the transfer of the embryo until a particular condition when the uterus is in optimal condition.
To maintain the quality of the embryos, during the delaying process, the embryos will be frozen using a special tool, then stored and thawed again when the time for transfer comes. In general, transferring and thawing frozen embryos is carried out following the fertile period of the mother-to-be, thereby increasing the success of the IVF procedure.
Why Should You Do a Frozen Embryo Transfer?
The emergence of the frozen embryo transfer method is not without reason. This procedure will give advantages in the success of the IVF program in several conditions, such as the following.
1. There is More Than One Embryo
The fertilization process outside the body or in vitro fertilization usually does not only take one sample of sperm and egg cells. Therefore, do not be surprised if the resulting embryo can also be more than one.
However, to avoid having triplets or quadruplets, doctors will only insert one embryo into the prospective mother’s womb. Well, the remaining unused embryos can be stored and frozen as a backup plan if you want to have more children in the future.
2. Need to Perform Genetic Tests on Embryo
Embryo genetic testing is a standard procedure to find out if some anomalies or abnormalities can affect the fetus’s health. This process is usually done before the embryo is transferred to the mother’s womb so that later the baby is not affected by genetic disorders.
However, unfortunately, the embryos’ genetic screening process takes a long time. So that the embryo is not damaged, a freezing procedure is necessary. Then, after the genetic screening is complete, the embryo can be thawed again and implanted into the uterus to develop into a fetus.
3. Can’t Undergo Direct Embryo Transfer Procedure
There are several conditions where prospective pregnant women cannot carry out direct embryo transfer procedures. This is because of the high risk of suffering ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome due to consuming fertility drugs.
Hyperstimulation syndrome can cause infertility or even death in patients with severe cases. Therefore, doctors will usually recommend undergoing frozen embryo transfer, so it doesn’t harm the mother or the fetus.
4. Consumption of Fertility Drugs Effects
The frozen embryo transfer procedure is also often a consideration when the mother is still under the effects of taking fertility drugs. Consuming fertility drugs is very reasonable, especially for couples undergoing IVF.
However, the effects of these fertility drugs can usually make the condition of the uterine wall not ideal so that the egg will be challenging to attach. Well, the solution is that embryos produced from the in vitro fertilization process can be frozen first and transferred to the womb of the prospective mother when the effects of the drug have worn off.
IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer Process
To understand better the process of embryo transfer in humans, you should first learn about the in vitro fertilization procedure or test-tube baby. The embryo transfer procedure in the test-tube baby program (in vitro fertilization) begins with collecting eggs and sperm. The number of samples taken is not only one. The doctor will take several sperm and eggs to increase the chances of success.
Both are then manually combined in a petri dish until they are fertilized outside the body. An egg that sperm have successfully fertilized is called an embryo.
Embryos produced through the in vitro fertilization procedure can generally be more than one. As a result, the doctor will choose the embryo candidate who is the best and has the most excellent chance to grow into a fetus. While the rest can be frozen using liquid nitrogen and then stored as a reserve.
There are two ways in the embryo transfer process, directly with only a few days difference before being inserted into the uterus or through the freezing period to get the right time.
The embryo will then grow and develop into a fetus from this process. Prospective mothers who undergo the IVF program embryo transfer procedure will also undergo a pregnancy period of 9 months as in normal pregnancy conditions.
Risks of Frozen Embryo Transfer in Humans
In general, you will not feel any aches or pains during the frozen embryo transfer process. However, after implanting the embryo into the uterus, there are usually several effects and risks.
The following are some examples of the risks that can occur after a mother-to-be undergoes a frozen embryo transfer procedure:
- Hard breasts
- Suffer from flatulence
- Feeling cramps in the stomach
- Experiencing constipation symptoms
- Vagina discharge after the frozen embryo implantation process
The various risks of frozen embryo transfer above will certainly not be experienced by all patients. However, if the pain and other disorders are getting unbearable, you should immediately consult a doctor to make a proper diagnosis.
That’s the explanation regarding frozen embryo transfer that you need to know. This procedure itself is one of the most common processes in IVF, so you don’t have to worry about its safety and success rate.