Recent Research: Freeze-All Embryo Transfer Policy May Lead to Better IVF Outcomes

Posted by Cecil Horwitz



A recent study has evaluated the effect of elective cryopreservation (preservation by freezing) with subsequent frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET) in cycles with elevated progesterone.

In this study, patients were put in either the fresh embryo transfer group or a frozen-thawed embryo transfer group, with fresh embryo transfer performed only in cases without progesterone elevation. All fresh embryo transfer cycles followed the antagonist stimulation protocol with embryo transfer taking place on day 3 after the retrieval. In the cycles with elevated progesterone, embryos were cryopreserved and were transferred later on in an estradiol-progesterone-supplemented cycle.Findings concluded that in-vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes were significantly better in the group using the freeze-all policy compared to fresh embryo transfer. Although somewhat fewer embryos were transferred in the freeze-all group, the implantation (26.5% vs 19.9%), clinical pregnancy (46.4% vs 35.9%), and ongoing pregnancy (39.7% vs 31.1%) rates were all higher in the freeze-all group compared to the fresh embryo transfer group. Those in the fresh transfer group had somewhat higher baseline follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels and lower antral follicle counts. In the elevated progesterone FET group, the number of oocytes retrieved was higher.

Compared with using fresh embryo transfer, IVF outcomes are significantly improved when using freeze-all policy in cycles with elevated progesterone. Even in select groups of patients who undergo fresh embryo transfer, endometrial receptivity may be impaired by controlled ovarian stimulation. It may be suggested that  freezing all embryos that develop in a stimulated cycle instead of placing them in the uterine cavity may improve the pregnancy rate achieved as a result of that egg retrieval. In cycles with progesterone elevation, treatment outcome may be improved through elective cryopreservation and subsequent FET of the embryos.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine used alone or in conjunction with IVF and other ART (assisted reproductive techniques), including IUI (intrauterine insemination), ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), and other fertility treatments offers a safe and natural way for couples to enhance their ability to successfully conceive.  In patients undergoing IVF and FET, for example, acupuncture helps to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, which improves a woman’s ovarian response and enhances uterine receptivity.

If you are interested in learning how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help improve your fertility, please contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Resources 

Roque, M, Valle M, Guimarães F, Sampaio M and Geber S. “Freeze-All Embryo Transfer Policy May Lead to Better IVF Outcomes.” Fertil Steril. 2015;103: 1190-193.