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Fresh vs. Frozen: Which Embryo Is Better for IVF?

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a blog by Claire, September 4, 2012

Women who use frozen embryos may have more success with In vitro fertilization (IVF) than those using fresh. British researchers from the University of Aberdeen announced the findings of a retrospective study comparing IVF frozen embryo transfer to fresh embryo transfer say that the frozen embryos are safer for mother and child.

Typically in IVF, a woman has her eggs retrieved and then one or two embryos transferred several days later. Any excess embryos created in the lab that are of good quality are frozen to be used later. The researchers reviewed 11 international published studies involving more than 37,000 pregnancies following implantation of either a fresh or frozen embryo. In their review they found that in pregnancy resulting in transfer of frozen embryos, there was:

  • Reduced chance — 30 percent lower — of the mother having bleeding during pregnancy.
  • Reduced chance — 20 percent lower — of babies being born pre-term
  • Reduced chance — 30 to 40 percent lower — of low birth weight
  • Lower risk — 20 percent less — of perinatal mortality (baby dying after birth)

The study was published in Fertility and Sterility, and researchers ay it is reassuring for couples who freeze their embryos to know that freezing embryos does not affect the quality of the embryos. In addition, they call for more research and debate on whether fresh or frozen is better for IVF, particularly with movement from physicians throughout Europe and the United States toward single embryo transfer.

For more information on the success of frozen embryo transfer, read Embryos on Ice May Provide More Successful IVF.


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