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Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

Key points of frozen embryos transfer

  • Frozen embryo transfer (FET) is a fertility treatment that involves transferring frozen embryos into a woman’s uterus during in vitro fertilization (IVF).
  • During an FET cycle, a woman takes hormones to prepare her uterus for pregnancy. The previously cryopreserved embryos are then thawed and transferred into the uterus.
  • The success rate of FET is similar to that of a fresh IVF cycle.

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What is a frozen embryo transfer?

A frozen embryo transfer is a fertility treatment that involves the transfer of cryopreserved embryos (fertilized eggs that are frozen and stored) into a woman’s uterus. These embryos created during the fertilization part of the IVF process were carefully stored at very low temperatures using specialized techniques until the parents are ready to have the embryo(s) thawed and transferred to achieve pregnancy.

During a FET cycle, a woman takes hormones to prepare her uterus for pregnancy.

Is FET painful? Do I need anesthesia?

The embryo transfer is not painful, and anesthesia is not required. Transfer may lead to minimal to no discomfort and on occasion, scant vaginal bleeding.

Who should consider FET?

FET is a good option for women who:

  • Have had an unsuccessful IVF cycle.
  • Want to delay pregnancy.
  • Have a medical condition that makes it difficult to undergo a fresh IVF cycle.
  • Have a limited number of embryos available, whether due to a low number of eggs retrieved, previous unsuccessful IVF cycles or limited budget for future retrievals.

Fresh vs. frozen embryo transfer

A fresh embryo transfer is when the embryos are transferred into the uterus shortly after they are created in the laboratory following egg retrieval and fertilization. A frozen embryo transfer is when the embryos are frozen and stored for a later date.

Some key considerations follow.

  • Timing: Fresh embryo transfers are typically done within 5 days of egg retrieval. Frozen embryo transfers can be done at any time after the embryos are frozen.
  • Success rates: The success rates of fresh and frozen embryo transfers are similar and similar to those associated with IVF in general. However, some studies have shown that frozen embryo transfers may have a slightly higher success rate.
  • Risks: The risks of fresh and frozen embryo transfers are similar and similar to those associated with IVF in general. The main risks associated with embryo freezing are potential damage to embryos during the freezing and thawing process. However, frozen embryo transfers may be associated with a slightly lower risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
  • Cost: The patient’s cost of fresh and frozen embryo transfers can vary depending on the fertility clinic and the insurance coverage. Frozen embryo transfers may be slightly less expensive than fresh embryo transfers.

Ultimately, the decision between fresh or frozen embryo transfer depends on several factors, including the patient’s specific circumstances, medical history and the recommendations of the fertility specialist. At Ember, our experienced team will guide patients in choosing the most suitable approach for their individual needs and help them achieve the dream of parenthood.

No detail too small

  • Ember offers a high-tech approach to fertility care that sets us apart from other clinics.
  • We use next-generation sequencing for comprehensive preimplantation genetic testing.
  • Our state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and techniques ensure the highest quality embryos for transfer.
  • We use cutting-edge diagnostic tools to identify any underlying conditions that may impact fertility and inform personalized treatment plans.
  • By combining advanced technology with our personalized approach to patient care, we create the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Frozen embryo cycle process

The process of transferring a frozen embryo involves several steps.

  • When the woman is ready to start a FET cycle, she takes hormones, usually estradiol and progesterone, to prepare her uterus for pregnancy. The hormones are usually taken as an injection or as a vaginal insert. The woman will need to take the hormones for about two to three weeks.
  • The laboratory will thaw embryo(s) so that the stage of embryo development corresponds to the right stage of the patient’s menstrual cycle. Our specialist transfers the embryo into the uterus using a thin tube. The procedure is done in the doctor’s office and takes about 15 minutes.
  • After the embryo transfer, the patient will rest for a short period before being discharged. A fertility specialist will provide instructions regarding post-transfer care, including resting after the procedure, any restrictions on physical activities, medications to be taken and follow-up appointments.

Single embryo transfer vs. transferring two embryos

Generally, Ember recommends transferring a single embryo to a woman’s uterus. This is because transferring two embryos, which results in twins, is associated with greater risks such as higher premature birthrates, discordant growth of twins, birth defects, developmental issues for the children, as well as maternal risks. 

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