When an embryo is vitrified it can be replaced in a subsequent cycle. This can be following an unsuccessful fresh transfer or after a successful pregnancy. The embryo(s) can be replaced in a natural cycle (no stimulation drugs required) or in a programmed cycle (certain drugs are taken to regulate your cycle). An FET is considerably cheaper than a full stimulation cycle and following the introduction of ‘Vitrification’ the success rates are as high as a fresh transfer.
You need to attend an appointment with a nurse or doctor to sign consent forms, and talk through your particular treatment programme. They will explain all the consent forms that you need to sign, and also show you how to take any drugs you’ll be using during the treatment process. Once all the tests and consent forms are completed, you are ready to start your treatment. If you are having treatment as a couple, both of you will need to attend this appointment to sign the consent forms. Payment for treatment is required at this appointment.
You will need to call the clinic on day 1 of your cycle. We will then instruct you to start the treatment plan as explained in your Consents and Planning appointment. As you’re not undergoing ovarian stimulation, you may or may not have drugs to take in this cycle; this will be agreed with your doctor at your consultation. The drugs are there to help us control your endometrial development, so that we can replace your embryos in the best possible environment at the right time in a ‘medicated cycle’. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, we still monitor you, so we can transfer the embryo(s) at the best point in your ‘natural cycle’.
We’ll monitor your cycle through visits to the clinic for scans and possibly blood tests. The timings are different for everyone, because treatment is tailored to suit each patient individually.
If you’re using your own or donated frozen embryos, they will be carefully thawed for implantation. We place your embryos in culture dishes in the incubator to allow development to take place.
The decision about when to complete the embryo transfer will depend on the number and quality of your embryos. The Embryologist will be in contact with you to advise when you need to attend for transfer.
The procedure can feel like a smear test, but it takes longer: around 15 minutes. A tiny drop of culture medium containing one or two embryos is carefully deposited in the uterus using a thin catheter.
If you decided before treatment to store any further good quality embryos for further cycles, you’ll be consulted again, and it will happen at this stage.
We appreciate how difficult this ‘two-week’ wait can be. Please call us at anytime if you are concerned – no worry is too small. It’s a good idea to make plans for after embryo transfer, to help you feel more in control: try to live life as normally as possible.
The UK average success rate for an IVF treatment cycle is around 30%. The treatment journey can be made up of a number of cycles and frozen embryo transfers. The good news is that these will add up; the more cycles you go through, the greater your chances of success.
Around 17 days after egg collection you will need to take a pregnancy test.
If you’re pregnant, we schedule a scan in the clinic at around 7-8 weeks. If everything looks OK, you’re discharged to your GP.
If your period arrives before the test is due, or the test is negative, rest assured you are not alone.
We can meet to talk, review your treatment, and consider what the next step will be on your treatment journey. IVF conception often takes place over a number of cycles. You could be ready for a new cycle within a short time, even a couple of months if you have frozen embryos.