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Frozen embryos study 'counter-intuitive'

The results of this analysis are counter-intuitive since 'second best' embryos are generally selected for storage, and are then subjected to freezing and thawing procedures each of which carries risk.

Albeit that the findings are difficult to explain, they are important in that they provide reassurance for cryopreservation programmes about short-term outcome.

– Professor Peter Braude, Department of Women's Health at King's College London

Frozen embryos 'could result in fewer pregnancies'

This is an encouraging study that provides some evidence that the pregnancy and early outcome for babies may be better after embryos have been frozen.

It is of some concern that conclusions have been drawn, incorrectly... that we should routinely freeze all embryos and transfer them in a future menstrual cycle.

There is ample evidence to show that this would result in fewer pregnancies even if the outcome for those pregnancies were better.

– Professor Alison Murdoch, Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, University of Newcastle

Freezing all embryos would be 'catastrophic'

I'd have to sound a cautious note about suggesting that all IVF embryos should be frozen, because the study doesn't support that.

It only looked at successful frozen cycles. What it does do is give support to the idea that transferring one fresh embryo and freezing the others is okay.

Freezing all embryos would have a catastrophic effect on pregnancy rates.

– Allan Pacey, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield

Scientists to study benefits of frozen embryos further

The existing data do have a number of limitations which need to be addressed in the context of further research before this strategy should be rolled out into routine clinical practice.

The initial step must be to provide robust evidence to demonstrate that elective freezing of embryos can increase the chances of having a healthy baby, which would be best performed in the context of a large randomised controlled trial.

In the meantime my advice to women undergoing IVF is that there is no reason, yet, to change the way they approach IVF.

– Dr Abha Maheshwari, senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen

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IVF study finds frozen embryos better

  • Frozen embryos are more likely to produce successful, complication-free IVF pregnancies than those that are fresh, new research suggests.
  • Scientists made the discovery after analysing data from 11 international studies involving more than 37,000 IVF pregnancies.
  • In some cases, newly conceived fresh embryos were used. In others, embryos that had been frozen and stored for two to three months were implanted.
  • Standard practice is to choose the best embryos for fresh transfer, and only freeze those of good enough quality that are spare.
  • But the new results suggest it might be wise to freeze all embryos.

What is embryo freezing and storage?

During in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual.

Some people choose to freeze the good quality unused embryos Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

These are then fertilised with your partner’s, or a donor’s sperm to create embryos.

Because there is normally a number of unused embryos, some people choose to freeze the good quality unused embryos for use in later treatment cycles or for donation.

Frozen embryos 'increase the chance of successful IVF pregnancy'

Frozen embryos are more likely to produce successful, complication-free IVF pregnancies than those that are fresh, research suggests.

Frozen embryos are more likely to produce successful, complication-free IVF pregnancies than those that are fresh, research suggests Credit: PA/PA Wire

Using stored embryos cuts the risk of bleeding in pregnancy, premature birth, and giving birth to an underweight baby by almost a third, a study has found.

The risk of a baby dying at around the time of birth is also reduced by about a fifth.

If the findings are confirmed it could have major implications for the public funding of In-Vitro Fertilisation treatment.