Exploring the Differences between Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfers

Do you know the pros and cons of IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) Cycles and Fresh Transfers?

When intended parents realize that they need to pursue a surrogacy journey as a way to build their family, besides choosing a surrogate, they should decide whether they need an egg donor or not.

An egg donation process, simply put, is a medical procedure by which a woman (named egg donor) donates her eggs for the purposes of assisted reproduction. Egg donation usually involves in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, where the donor’s eggs, after the retrieval, are fertilized with the Intended Father’s sperm or a donor’s sperm. The fertilized embryo (or embryos) is (are) then, transferred to the Intended Mother or Gestational Surrogate.

What Needs to Be Considered When Using an Egg Donor and a Gestational Surrogate?

The steps involved in donating eggs and surrogacy are time-consuming and challenging, particularly if prospective intended parents choose to use fresh embryos. Why?

  • Egg donor and surrogate have to find time in their daily lives at the same moment.
  • Menstrual cycles of the surrogate and donor have to be synchronized via medication.
  • There is no certainty about how the egg donor will respond to the medication, the number of eggs retrieved or how many embryos will be created.

On the other hand, intended parents have the option to do a frozen embryo transfer (FET). What does this mean for the surrogacy process?

  • With frozen embryos, the screening and retrieval processes have already been completed beforehand, so less coordination is needed.
  • Prospective intended parents only need to focus on the needs and the transfer timeline of the surrogate.
  • There are no surprises about the number of eggs retrieved and embryos created.

Fresh vs. Frozen Embryo Transfers: Which Is Better?

When educating yourself about IVF transfers, you will become familiar with the common discussion of fresh versus frozen embryos. Which is the most recommended? Is there really a significant difference between the two options? Before going deeper into this debate, you need to know that every situation is different, and only you and your doctor can decide which approach is best, but these are some things to keep in mind as you think about the two options:

  1. Pregnancy Rates

In the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) field, the predominant thought is that fresh embryo transfers are much more successful than frozen embryo transfers. Several studies have been published in the last few years relating to this subject. The results, in general, show no significant difference (or even better results) in the rates of pregnancy between fresh and frozen embryo transfers due to the widespread use of new advanced IVF technologies. There have also been similar studies undertaken to determine if normal pregnancies are developed by freezing the embryos.

  1. Stress During the IVF Process

Many IVF clinics consider the frozen embryo transfers to be a less stressful procedure. Intended parents do not have to worry about how many viable embryos they will get, at the same time that they coordinate the transfer process with the surrogate because that part of the process has already been completed.

Thanks to that, intended parents can focus entirely on planning the transfer and organizing a convenient timing for the treatments with their surrogate.

  1. Process Duration

If intended parents decide to do a FET, normally, they will have to expect additional time for pregnancy because the embryo transfer doesn’t happen right after the egg retrieval and embryo creation. Even an IVF cycle with a fresh embryo transfer can feel endless to the hopeful intended parents, so adding more time to the process can seem unbearable.

  1. Embryo Survival Rate

Embryos may not survive the freezing and/or thawing process. This can be one of the biggest concerns for most intended parents. Although there is a chance of losing some embryos, with the latest techniques, nowadays the survival rate is over 95%. The embryo creation techniques used by their IVF clinic should be a key factor to consider when choosing the clinic to work with

  1. Genetic Test Results

If prospective parents would like to do a preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or screening (PGS) tests to ensure that the healthiest embryo is transferred, a frozen embryo transfer provides the laboratory time to do the tests and also give intended parents time to process the results.

  1. Cost efficiency

Additionally, it can be more cost-effective using frozen embryos than using fresh embryos, because intended parents only need to do one IVF egg donation cycle and they will have several frozen embryos created, in case the first transfer attempt fails.

  1. Finding a Match

Sometimes, especially in Canada and some US states, where there can be a shortage of surrogates, intended parents’ chances of finding one may increase if they have already created the embryos. Why? For surrogates, the egg donation process is also a process with some uncertainty and this variable can impact their decision to match with some intended parents.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to do a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, remember that IVF is not a perfect science and sometimes egg donation cycles fail.

Find an egg donor in MySurrogateMom egg donor database.

egg donors and surrogacy

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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.
1 Comment
  1. Egg Donation and Surrogacy has become a reason of joy and a source of hope for a lot of people whose dream is become parents. Everybody can now experience parenthood without biological limitations.

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