After PGT-A biopsy, all embryos are vitrified (frozen) while we wait 10- 14 days for the chromosome test results. Once euploid embryos are identified, they can be warmed and transferred to the uterus, one embryo at a time.
Storage of euploid embryos can provide patients the opportunity for fertility preservation with the intention of using the embryos years after they have been vitrified.
Steps for your Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
- Phone consultation with your physician
- Coordinator Consultation
- Financial Consultation
- Medications (if needed)
- Embryo Transfer
Preparing for embryo transfer
On the day of the embryo transfer our patients may want to bring some music to listen to, as well as a small pillow from home and some warm socks. Patients are advised not to drink coffee or soft drinks before the transfer. The patient should let us know if they have a cold, cough or allergy, as they may need a cough suppressant. They will be asked to arrive at our clinic with their bladder at least half full as this will enable us to better visualize the uterus with the abdominal ultrasound
Directly before the embryo transfer, the embryologist will confirm the patient's identity. This is one in a number of measures we take to ensure the safety of our patient's embryos.
The embryo transfer procedure and recovery
The embryo transfer is done without anesthesia, and feels similar to a Pap smear. The entire process takes about 15 minutes (the transfer itself takes just 30 seconds). A speculum is inserted in the vagina; the cervix is washed and cleansed. The embryos are loaded into a soft catheter and passed through the cervix and into the uterus. The woman may feel a slight twinge when the catheter passes through the cervix, but many patients feel little or no sensation at all during the procedure. Because their doctor will use an abdominal ultrasound to guide the embryo transfer, they will be able to watch the transfer take place on the screen. They will also be given a picture of the transferred embryos.
Post transfer care
After completing the transfer the patient's nurse will gently position them so their legs are together and slightly elevated. This position is recommended for a short period of time following transfer. It is important during this time that the patient remain relatively relaxed and comfortable. Usually they will remain at rest for 15 to 30 minutes after the transfer.
Our patients will be asked to follow the instructions below to ease their recovery:
- Avoid any vigorous activity like aerobics or running. After 8 hours, they may gently increase their activity. The ovaries will still be full of fluid from the effects of the stimulation and one may feel some bloating or pelvic discomfort at this time. It is okay to take stairs slowly, and walk short distances, less than a half mile.
- Avoid vaginal creams, lubricants, or spermicides.
- Take showers instead of tub baths, and don't swim.
- Avoid penetrative sexual activity or orgasm for one week.
- Drink plenty of clear fluids to stay well-hydrated.
It is helpful to understand that at this point, successful embryo implantation and pregnancy will depend primarily on the health of the embryo rather than their activities.
Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET)
Minimizing risks of pregnancy while maintaining high pregnancy rates are the goals of physicians and staff at Pacific Fertility Center. Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) an effective and safe way to build families, one healthy baby at a time. At PFC we elect to transfer one embryo in over 90% of patients.
In short, eSET involves identifying an embryo with a high chance of successful pregnancy and transferring that single embryo to the uterus. The lab "freezes" (vitrifies) any other healthy embryos for future use.
The eSET program at PFC produces very high pregnancy rates. Using embryos conservatively in this way is a big part of PFC's strategy to create healthier singleton pregnancies.
The recent past has seen an explosion of new fertility technologies—many tested or introduced very early by PFC. Used in combination, advances like these have made it possible to identify and transfer or store embryos with the greatest potential for pregnancy:
- Extended embryo culture to day 5 allows development to a more advanced stage, where it is possible to select embryos of the highest quality.
- Time-lapse photography (Early Embryo Viability Assessment, Eeva™) identifies embryos with normal cell division without removing them from their controlled incubation environment.
- Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) reliably and safely identifies embryos with normal chromosome counts.
- Vitrification allows freezing and storage of viable embryos. One embryo at a time can be warmed for future transfer of single embryos.