Spare embryos from your IVF treatment can be frozen for future use, depending on their quality. Frozen cycles are necessary for those wishing to use their previously stored embryos.
With a stimulated frozen cycle, patients take medication to go through the process of down-regulation. This temporarily shuts down your ovaries and prevents any eggs from being released. You will have a scan on day two or three of your period and start taking medication to prepare your womb for the embryo transfer. A second ultrasound scan at day eight or nine will be performed to check the thickness of your endometrium. Once it is of the appropriate thickness we can start the embryo thawing process and book your transfer.
Embryos are thawed in the laboratory and assessed as to whether they have fully survived the thawing process. Our embryology team will inform you of how well your embryos have survived and if they are of good enough quality for your transfer to take place. Sometimes embryos do not survive the thawing process. If this is the case, you will be offered a follow-up appointment with one of our consultants to discuss the results and further options.
Hopefully the embryos will then be ready to transfer the same as in a fresh cycle. Our frozen cycle success rates have been improving year on year and are now almost as high as our fresh cycle rates.
We find approximately 90% of frozen embryos survive the freezing/thawing process. This can vary depending on what stage of development the embryos were at when they were frozen, and the affect freezing may have on different embryos.
Frozen embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C. This means they are held in a suspended state and do not deteriorate with time in storage.
Our aim is to give you the best chance possible of pregnancy with each frozen embryo replacement cycle. This will be based on the number of embryos you have in storage, the stage the embryos were stored and finally the quality of the embryos. This will be discussed with you by an embryologist before your frozen embryo replacement cycle.