Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fresh vs. Frozen

It has become more of a debate recently on the advantages of a fresh transfer vs. a frozen transfer.  Both have pros and cons, and it can be very challenging for some IPs to choose the best option for their cycle.

Historically, fresh has always been significantly higher in success then frozen.  Freezing techniques have improved in recent years, and vitrified (vs. slow freeze) embryos do very well.  There is also an inherent flaw in the statistics.  Traditionally the best embryos are transferred first (fresh) with the remaining embryos being frozen.  So we are not really comparing apples to apples.  Would we see a significant difference in success rates if we are evaluating comparable quality embryos?  In recent cycles, the answer would be no.  In fact, a majority of our frozen transfers have been successful (when using vitrified embryos).

Why would you choose to transfer frozen over fresh?  The answer...convenience.  It can be challenging to coordinate a surrogate and egg donor or intended mother on the same cycle.  Let's face it, we all have lives and finding the time can be near impossible for some people.  I have had this issue come up much more frequently the past year and a majority of intended parents have opted to freeze all the embryos for a future transfer.

Another advantage is knowing you have embryos to work with.  It can be stressful cycling a carrier knowing that their might not be any embryos to transfer at the end of the cycle.  By cycling the donor or intended mother first, parents have a sense of relief in knowing they have embryos banked.  There is the obvious financial advantage to this approach as well.

I think that no matter what any statistics say, fresh will always hold an advantage over frozen.  That being said, with technology improving, the margin will continue to diminish over time.  My advice to all of my clients is to choose the method that is best for you and your carrier, and sometimes frozen is the better way to go.


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