Frozen Embryos Aren't Always Necessary for IVF, New Studies Show

12 January, 2018, 19:48 | Author: Wade Massey

Women were given one cycle of IVF, where either a transfer of fresh embryos occurred, or all embryos were frozen and one cycle of thawed embryos occurred subsequently without the use of IVF drugs.

Before freezing methods were refined, fresh embryos were the only option, but as cryopreservation techniques improved, freezing embryos so that not all of the healthiest ones had to be transferred to the woman immediately became more popular.

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.

Frozen embryos also had a slight advantage in the live birth rate with 34 percent of that group giving birth compared to 32 percent of the other group. Among them is the decision to use fresh or frozen embryos. The researchers observed no significant difference between the groups in the live-birth rate (48.7 versus 50.2 percent for the frozen-embryo and fresh-embryo groups, respectively; relative risk, 0.97 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.06; P = 0.5]).

"This is an emerging issue of immediate and important concern for couples who are seeking in-vitro fertilization treatment", said Zhang, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics at YSPH.

Lan N. Vuong, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and colleagues randomized 782 infertile women without polycystic ovary syndrome who were undergoing a first or second IVF cycle to receive a frozen or fresh embryo.

The study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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The rates of the syndrome in the Chinese study were 0.6 percent with frozen embryos and 2.0 percent with fresh.

The shift to frozen embryos was triggered by a landmark study in the field published in 2012, which found that frozen embryos actually were more likely to successfully implant in the uterus when transferred than fresh embryos - and theoretically more likely to result in a full-term pregnancy and live birth.

Researchers studied 800 women who had infertility not related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

It was her frozen embryos that gifted her two daughters, Melissa, now 20 years old, and Ashley, 17.

Together, these factors prompted many clinics to advocate freezing of all embryos. But some experts point out that the findings could also justify use of fresh embryos as well.

To curb these concerns, researchers on Wednesday said that the success rate of frozen embryo transfers for IVF is nearly the same as, or even better than, those using fresh ones. But for women not suffering PCOS, freezing embryos doesn't make much of a difference.

"Based on these papers, there is no harm in freezing embryos", says Grifo. "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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