Frozen embryo replacement is undoubtedly something you will hear about throughout your IVF or ICSI treatment. A frozen embryo replacement cycle involves the thawing of embryos frozen during your previous ICSI or IVF treatment and replacing them in your uterine cavity at the right time of your menstrual cycle. Below is your guide to frozen embryo replacement cycles.
- Natural Cycle
Your fertility specialist must ensure that your uterus is ready to receive your embryo since you are not starting a new and complete IVF cycle. They will likely accomplish this through a natural cycle, monitoring when naturally ovulating to determine the appropriate day to replace thawed embryos. An ovulation predictor kit is often used to determine the best date for your transfer in natural cycles. The monitoring of ovulation in your natural cycle is crucial because ovulation ensures that the lining of your uterus is ready to receive the embryos.
- Hormone Replacement Cycle
The goal of a hormone replacement cycle is to mimic the hormonal changes that occur during the natural cycle. This target can be achieved using progesterone pessaries and oestrogen tablets to create an artificial environment conducive enough for an embryo. There are no blood tests required during a hormone replacement cycle. However, you will take oestrogen tablets from day five of your cycle and have an ultrasound fourteen days into your cycle to determine whether your uterus lining is thick enough to receive the embryo. Then, the date of your embryo replacement will be carefully timed based on the stage at which your embryo was cryopreserved. The embryo transfer’s timing is essential and determines when your embryos will be thawed. Your fertility specialist will inform you about how well your embryos survived thawing and whether they are of good enough quality for the transfer to occur.
- The Embryo Transfer Process
Your fertility specialist will typically give you a single Gonapeptyl injection or daily Suprecur injections for two to three weeks to shut down your pituitary gland and control the cycle. This procedure is similar to a smear test and may induce some minimal discomfort. On the day of the transfer, you will be asked to arrive at your IVF clinic with a full bladder which you will empty two hours before the procedure and refill with about one and a half litres of water. Then, your fertility specialist will load the culture medium containing one to two embryos into a thin catheter with a syringe. Your specialist will then guide the catheter through your vagina and cervix, depositing the embryo(s) into your uterus for implantation.
- After The Transfer Process
You can rest for a while after the procedure and return to your routine in no time. After the embryo replacement procedure, you must continue taking the oestrogen tablets and using the progesterone pessaries to support your womb lining. Also, you can take a pregnancy test eleven to thirteen days after your embryo transfer to determine if the treatment was successful. If the test is positive, you will likely undergo a pregnancy scan in about three weeks to confirm the heartbeat. On the other hand, you can take a short time to recover if the treatment fails, starting treatment again in the next period.