The use of frozen embryos is another area where the technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Typically, in an IVF cycle, the fertilized eggs are used immediately. But there are also reasons that you might choose to freeze the embryos produced for later use.
The freezing of embryos is done for a variety of reasons. It may be done because your doctors have returned as many embryos to your uterus as possible (a number which is determined by many factors) and have “extra” embryos remaining. You will pay about $200 a year to have the embryos frozen and stored to be available at a later date to be used by you for another pregnancy. In that case, the next time around you could skip the phase of ovarian stimulation in an IVF cycle and simply prepare the uterus for the transfer or return.
You might choose to use the frozen embryo program if you are about to undergo medical treatment for something like cancer that could potentially damage your reproductive system or ovaries. This allows you the option to have your own biological children at a later date when your treatment is completed and you are ready.
While the rates of pregnancy using frozen embryos are slightly less than those of using “fresh” embryos, the benefits are great if you use this technology. You will find that it is a lot less expensive and medically draining to do a frozen cycle. The need for preparation is much less and there is no stimulation phase of the cycle. This is a huge benefit for many families.
If your insurance covers infertility procedures like IVF, they may only cover fresh cycles. In this case many doctors are willing to use the frozen embryos at the time of the embryo transfer if the number of fresh embryos (from the current cycle) are not at the maximum (typically two to four).