What is frozen embryo transfer?
The goal of IVF is to achieve pregnancy through artificial fertilization. Multiple embryos are often created, with only one being used for implantation. The remaining embryos can be cryogenically frozen for future implantation. A frozen embryo transfer uses one of these stored embryos. The embryo is uniquely thawed and then proceeds to the implantation stage.
Why use frozen embryo transfer?
FET is one of the most valuable techniques in IVF. Frozen embryos help delay pregnancy if the patient has a medical issue that could impact a pregnancy. For instance, the patient may need more time to treat a thin endometrial lining that could otherwise make maintaining pregnancy difficult. Some patients see higher success after a second or third IVF cycle. Frozen embryos allow for additional cycles without the need for extracting eggs. FET is also becoming popular for women who want to delay pregnancy for personal reasons.
Signs of a successful FET
The medical team will order a pregnancy test about 14 days after FET. The test will check for hormone level spikes specific to pregnancy. This test is the best indicator of pregnancy. However, the patient may start to see spotting and light bleeding in the interim. Spotting can happen about a week after implantation. During this time, it is also common to experience cramping, breast tenderness, and nausea.
More at week 2
Some women may experience additional, more bothersome symptoms. Mood changes, excess saliva production, and headaches indicate surges in hormone levels. Some women may also experience frequent thirst and urination. It is not uncommon to miss a menstrual cycle a few weeks after FET. This indicates that the transfer was successful for women with regular periods. Symptoms can vary, but a doctor should be aware of all concerns.
Look for the signs
A frozen embryo transfer has similar success rates as a fresh embryo transfer. Patients should experience the same symptoms of pregnancy during the following 2-week period. These symptoms could be mild spotting, nausea, or a missed period. Some women experience no symptoms at all. The best action is to stay healthy and hopeful until pregnancy is confirmed.