Embryo freezing permits a couple to have a child in the future despite being beyond the most fertile years of their lives. The good news is that there seems to be little to no reduction in the success rates for pregnancies after multiple years of the embryo being frozen. The bad news is that the procedure for implanting an embryo is serious and can be complicated by other fertility or health issues.
After an egg is frozen and the couple decides they would like to implant the embryo, the woman must undergo a long, quite serious procedure. Once the decision to implement a frozen embryo has been made, the recipient must undergo ultrasounds until her uterine lining and fallopian tubes are considered to be the most receptive to the embryo. The woman must then take daily urine tests to check her hormone levels to determine when she is nearing ovulation. When this is determined to be occurring, the embryo is then implanted.
Depending on the recipient’s health, implantation may be made into the fallopian tube or uterus. Subsequent to implantation, the recipient must ingest multiple medications including hormones to increase the embryo’s chance of becoming attached to the uterine wall and a successful pregnancy resulting. The implantation procedure is typically performed two to four days after ovulation. Ten to twelve days after the procedure, the recipient will take a pregnancy test at the clinic to determine whether or not the procedure has been successful.
Post-Implantation Patient Care
After the implantation procedure, the specialist may request for the recipient to lie still for a few moments to enhance the embryos chances of implanting themselves in the uterine lining. In the days following the procedure, the patient should not engage in strenuous exercise, and should get plenty of rest and continue her medications. Cramping and fatigue are commonly reported after the procedure. However, if the recipient develops a fever or becomes suddenly seriously ill, she should contact her physician immediately.
Embryo Freezing Failures
Unfortunately, embryo freezing tends to have lower pregnancy and live birth rates than with a traditional, non-frozen embryo transfer. This is because not all frozen embryos will survive the freezing procedure. There are two methods of freezing an embryo: the fast method and normal, slower method. Neither freezing procedure has been determined to be more effective than the other. Failure rates in implanting frozen embryos have been mostly ascribed to unviable embryos. Most likely, the recipient and partner of the frozen egg have donated and frozen more than one embryo, however, meaning that there is still a chance for a pregnancy to occur by using other embryos.
Because it is an embryo and not an egg or sperm that has been implanted into the recipient, it is possible for multiple embryos to attach to the uterine lining at different times. This situation is rare but serious. Talk to your doctor about the potential for this occurring, any problems it might cause and how these problems will be handled.