Both fresh and frozen embryos offer similar chances of baby after IVF

Both fresh and frozen embryos offer similar chances of baby after IVF

After an earlier study by the Chinese team showed that frozen embryos were better for women with PCOS, "a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that we should always do frozen".

Research has previously indicated that women who are infertile as a result of PCOS are significantly more likely to have a live birth if they have frozen embryos implanted, but this study suggests this is not the case for women with infertility unrelated to PCOS.

While women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a better chance of pregnancy and live birth in using frozen then thawed embryos for implantation, women without PCOS have nearly equally effective results when using either frozen or fresh embryos, Reuters reports. Participants were given one treatment of IVF where either a fresh or thawed embryo was transferred.

Previous research conducted on women undergoing IVF with infertility problems linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), found frozen-embryo transfer led to more live births.

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Dr. Coutifaris, who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said a higher progesterone level may indicate that the development of the embryo and the womb are out of synch, and using a thawed embryo allows for better timing of the implantation.

Ongoing pregnancy occurred in 36 percent of women in the frozen embryo group, compared to 35 percent of women in the fresh group.

Neither study found a higher risk of neonatal or obstetrical complications in either group, although frozen embryo transfer produced a statistically lower risk of over-stimulated ovaries, which leads to swollen and painful ovaries and is potentially risky. A lower rate of pregnancy loss in the 2 trimester was observed in the frozen-embryo (1.5%) group compared to the fresh-embryo (4.7%) group (RR, 0.33, 95% CI; 0.16 to 0.68; p = 0.002).

Frozen embryo techniques are growing in popularity in fertility clinics worldwide.

Freezing embryos also allows couples to take advantage of genetic testing, which can pick up potentially lethal genetic diseases and guide doctors in deciding which embryos to implant. This could challenge the long-held belief of fertility specialists that freezing and thawing embryos before implanting them offers a better chance of successful pregnancy and birth. But some experts point out that the findings could also justify use of fresh embryos as well. Using block randomization, they assigned the women to either fresh-embryo transfer or embryo cryopreservation followed by frozen-embryo transfer. But for women not suffering PCOS, freezing embryos doesn't make much of a difference.

"Unless there are specific factors that require it, you can safely go with a fresh transfer of your first embryo", said the senior author of the second study, Dr. But for other women, fresh embryos, according to the two studies, are just as likely to result in ongoing pregnancies and live births. "We have done a cost-effectiveness analysis of the two treatments and found that freezing embryos and subsequent transfer is not cost-effective over fresh transfer".

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