Frozen embryo transfer versus fresh embryo transfer: What's riskier?

May 1, 2018, Teratology Society
In Vitro Fertilization: Update on Challenges and Innovative Solutions/Cover Art for May 1, 2018 special issue of Birth Defects Research, published by the Teratology Society with John Wiley & Sons. Credit: Michiko Watanabe, PhD

Large for gestational age babies and congenital heart defects (CHD) are just two of several risks needing further examination in the emerging field of assisted reproductive technology, according to the editors of a special issue on in-vitro fertilization in Birth Defects Research. The special issue just published by the Teratology Society with John Wiley & Sons, focuses on continued research regarding several aspects of the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure that clearly call for more answers surrounding safety outcomes for the resulting children.

The scientific journal issue released today (see the Overview, DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1227) includes "Neonatal outcomes following fresh as compared to frozen/thawedembryo transfer in in vitro fertilization (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1216)," research co-authored by Kristin Van Heertum, MD, and Rachel Weinerman, MD, both practicing physicians who routinely deal with IVF issues at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Dr. Weinerman is also a guest editor of the issue and concludes that "as technologies advance and improve, there are more and more indications for frozen embryo transfer in clinical use" and that embryo freezing may even play a role in preventing negative outcomes by allowing time for the uterine environment to normalize.

Another review (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1219) included in the special issue examines and the risk for large for gestational age babies. The research provides potential mechanisms for this association. "It has been noted that implantation of frozen embryos results in larger babies," explained Michiko Watanabe, PhD, co-editor of the special Birth Defects Research issue and professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "But whether having a larger baby has negative long-term consequences has not yet been determined."

Congenital heart defects (CHD) have also been associated with IVF. However, a review (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1228) by Avinash Patil, MD, at the Center for Personalized Obstetric Medicine in Phoenix, AZ, shows that only milder CHD may be associated with assisted reproductive technologies. "This information is good news when counseling a potential IVF patient since severe risk does not seem to be higher with assisted ," said Dr. Watanabe

Other topics covered in the issue include the expertise of Marcos Meseguer, MD, one of the pioneers in the field of time-lapse microscopy of early to assess quality (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1226), and "The impact of contemporary preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis in the prevention of aneuploidy (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1220)," co-authored by Shelby A. Neal, MD, and Marie D. Werner, MD with Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey. Time lapse microscopy and other testing might allow selection of the one best embryo for implantation, thus avoiding twinning and other multiple births that increase risks for mothers and fetuses.

Explore further: Frozen embryos more effective than fresh in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

More information: Rachel Weinerman. In vitro fertilization (IVF): Where are we now?, Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1227

Kristin Van Heertum et al, Neonatal outcomes following fresh as compared to frozen/thawed embryo transfer in in vitro fertilization, Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1216

Sine Berntsen et al. Large for gestational age and macrosomia in singletons born after frozen/thawed embryo transfer (FET) in assisted reproductive technology (ART), Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1219

Avinash S. Patil et al. Severity of congenital heart defects associated with assisted reproductive technologies: Case series and review of the literature, Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1228

Belén Aparicio-Ruiz et al. Selection of preimplantation embryos using time-lapse microscopy in in vitro fertilization: State of the technology and future directions, Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1226

Shelby A. Neal et al. The impact of contemporary preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis on the detection of aneuploidy and inherited genetic diseases, Birth Defects Research (2018). DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1220

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not rated yet May 17, 2018
Many doctors note fresh eggs as well as embryos are better for the in vitro fertilization. I don't know in fact… I am not a doctor and not a scientist. But I have made IVF in Ukrainian clinic. I had two IVF with frozen eggs before it. Unfortunately they were both unsuccessful. In biotexcom fertility specialists use fresh materials. And they say it increases chances for positive result. I had also two attempts there. And after the second attempt I got pregnant at last! I cannot say whether it was due to fresh eggs or something else. But the only thing I want to say I am just happy! But of course there is not always chance to use fresh materials. In such cases frozen also can be. And there are many positive pregnancies with frozen as well.

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