What is a frozen embryo replacement procedure and when would it be used?
If you have multiple good quality embryos when you undergo your IVF cycle, you can freeze them for future use, and we will store them in our state-of-the-art laboratory. If and when you then decide to use them to conceive, you will undergo a frozen embryo replacement procedure.
This is when your embryos are thawed and checked by our team, and are then transferred into your uterus to grow as in a natural pregnancy. Frozen embryo replacement means you don’t have to go through an entire IVF cycle again, as you already have embryos so there’s no need for ovarian stimulation or egg recovery and fertilisation.
Frozen embryo replacement procedures are also carried out if you are receiving an embryo which has been donated by another patient, who no longer wishes to use it to conceive and is happy to donate them to our donor programme, to help someone else have a family.
How does it work?
To carry out a frozen embryo replacement, we must carefully time the thawing and transferring of your embryos for when your uterus is ready to receive them. You can either undergo natural-cycle frozen embryo replacement, or you can undergo a cycle which is supported by hormones.
What is a hormone-regulated frozen embryo replacement?
Hormone-regulated frozen embryo replacement is useful as it ensures your embryos are transferred when your endometrium is fully developed and ready to receive them. We will normally recommend a hormone-regulated procedure if you have irregular periods or problems with ovulation.
For hormone-regulated frozen embryo replacement, we first synchronise your monthly cycle and then prepare your endometrium – the lining of the womb – using hormone patches. We then scan your uterus to check the thickness of the lining, to ensure that it is ready to receive your embryos. Your embryos will only be thawed when your endometrium is of the right thickness. We will give you thorough instructions and guidance to ensure you take the hormones at the right time.
What is natural-cycle frozen embryo replacement?
Most of the frozen embryo cycles we carry out at Manchester Fertility are done as a natural cycle. It means the transfer is timed for when you are ovulating naturally. We will monitor you so we can identify when this is happening in your cycle.
When will the embryo replacement procedure take place?
Your embryo replacement date is timed according to the development stage of your embryos when they were frozen. We will confirm to you the day before your proposed transfer date if you have suitable embryos to transfer, and the procedure itself it relatively simple, carried out as a ‘walk-in, walk-out’ procedure.
When can I take a pregnancy test and what are the success rates from frozen embryo replacement treatments?
We will give you a date to take a pregnancy test after your procedure. At Manchester Fertility we have good success rates for frozen embryo replacement (read more about our success rates here), but success depends upon a number of factors, including whether your embryos survive the freeze/thaw process.