Having a hard time deciding on what to do with frozen embryos


My DH and we were told yesterday that IVF is probably our only option to have a baby… we are both struggling with the idea of the extra embryos we won’t use. The nurse told us we had the option of placing the extras back into my body at a time when there was little chance of me getting pregant and seeing what happens. But we would only do this if there were a few extra. From what I understand, they try to get 10 and fertilize them all? and then choosing the best ones? What if we have 8 extra??!

My question is, can we just ask our dr to take just 4 and then if we are lucky enough to be successful with all of them, we could implant 2 for our first attemt and then implant the other 2 at a time when I am not likely to get pregnant? has anyone heard of this so you don’t have a lot of extras?

Please share your experiences… we are really struggling and may not even do IVF becasue we can’t handle the thought of having so many extras that they would be discarded. We believe life begins at conception. We are not comfortable with donating them to another couple either… so what are our options?? So heartbroken :grr:


In the last 2 years I have done 2 frozen cycles and 2 IVF for a total of 11 embryos transferred and no baby to show for it. I say go with their procedure and cross the frozen embryo bridge if and when it becomes an issue. What if you limit the dr to only fertilizing 4 and none of them result in a pregnancy and you have to start all over?


I also think you may be putting the cart before the horse. With an AMH of .8 and low sperm count, I’m not sure that having 10 embryos that qualify for freezing is even very likely. Only 30% of people have frosties to begin with, and those are usually (but of course not always) women in their 20s or early 30s, or those with PCOS.

Best of luck to you!


I have to agree with the other I started with 20 embryos i was 24 with pcos … We ended up with 8 viable embryos we used them all so far transferred 2 during frwsh and 2 during FET and 3 didn’t survive thawing. I have one DD the chances of you having 8 freeze quality embys are very slim. I would go with the flow honestly and just bc they’re frozen doesn’t mean when you thaw them they’ll be iusable I know its hard to think about but in IVF having alot of good frosties is NOT the norm


I totally agree with the others. My amh is 1.1 and I got 7 mature eggs. 3 didn’t fertilize properly, one stopped growing by day 2. That left me with three which I put back. I got pregnant with 1 but it was chromosomally abnormal and ended up having a miscarriage. You will likely use whatever you produce.


Thank you for the responses! I am so new to this and have no idea what to expect or how likely it is that we will have extras. My DH is really struggling with the thought of having to make a decision on the extras. I am doing researh now to try to see what the odds are that we will even have extras. My DH is very concerned and even though the chances may be slim, I don’t think he will even be open to the idea if we aren’t psositive we won’t have to discard extras :frowning:

Do any of you know of any others with this dilema? has anyone ever asked the Dr to just take 4 eggs to avoid this situation?


Why not start a thread asking people in your age range with low AMH and low sperm counts how many embryos they had and how many made it to freeze? That might give you a better idea of what you’re looking at.

I personally have never heard of anyone asking the RE to attempt to fertilize less than the number of eggs retrieved.


I don’t know if my response will be much help…
1st I’ve never heard of anyone requesting to only take a few eggs. 1st of all there is no way to know which follicles have good eggs in them at retreival time. They don’t know if the egg is good until it is fertilized and growing, so you are limiting yourself right off the bat.
Secondly, you have to remember that everything you look at will be a statistic/average. I don’t mean to be painfully obvious, but that means that there are people out there who are above average and those that are below. There is no way, what so ever, to find a valid statistic to your specific situation. Your doctor will give the best idea, but even he only has a pool of data to go on that includes all people and all reasons for needing IVF.

So like the others said I think you’re jumping the gun looking to limit yourself.
You might need to think more about how badly you want to have a baby and weight that against how bad you’ll feel with extra embryos. Plus research what can be done with extras, adoption, research, just because you don’t need them doesn’t mean they have ot get destroyed.
IVF is not east on many many people, some women’s bodies get really messed up from the medications, is that something you’re willing to chance multiple times if you limit yourself on the 1st round only to find it doesn’t work.
Or are you thinking you get one shot and if it works great, if it doesn’t your done?

Good luck with your decision and I’m sorry if I’m not much help.


I agree with everyone else. If your paying for this out of pocket, you are really limiting yourself and setting yourself up to have to do it again to get your baby if you ask your doctor to only take 4 eggs.

Not all eggs are mature when retreived. There is no way to know this when they are taken out of you.

Not all mature eggs fertilize - they say on average about 60% of mature eggs will fertilize.

Normally you lose about another 50% of your eggs between fertilization and transfer - depending on how good your egg quality is - and that is not a factor you can know before going through this. Additionally, your DH’s sperm may not be good either, and have no way of knowing until you see them in action so to speak.

So if you start with only 4, your really setting yourself up to not have ANY to transfer.

I have been on this board for 6 months and I agree with Essemkay, very few women end up with frosties. Those that do typically have PCOS or are much younger.

The likelihood of you having any is pretty slim given your AMH and age.

Also, you need to remember based on your age, only 29% of those embroys that make it to day 5 blast stage are going to be chromosonally normal and able to create a healthy baby. If one of those abnormal ones take, you have about a 90% chance of having a misscarriage.

So as you can see many of us have spent many many thousands of dollars and can tell you the likelihood of you having frosties is very slim.

I am not trying to sound down on your or your DH for your belief that life starts at conception. That was a BIG deal for us too when we started this process about what we were going to do with any extras. However, both me and my DH think we would be able to donate to another couple going through this as its consumed our marriage (another topic for another day)…my point is its not likely to happen.

I guess there are other options too that may be cheaper that you could talk to your clinic about. They are now expermenting with a natural IVF cycle. From what I have read it uses the egg that your body naturally selects each month and they only retrieve that one and then go through the process. Not many clinics are doing this at this time from my understanding. Another option is a mini-ivf which the goal is only to get a few high quality eggs. These are typically cheaper too, but you have to do a FET with these as they use clomid as part of the protocol. Maybe try researching those and talk with your clinic about those options.

Best of luck to you. I understand the pull to have a baby and yet not wanting to have “your” babies out there just not born yet.



Thank you for the reply. That is why I posted the question! many of you have been in this situation and know what to expect. I am so new to this that I am learning as much as I can. Yesterday was the first day my DH actually heard the words from the dr that IVF was going to be our best chance. I think he is under the impression once his sperm is injected into all 10 if them, they immediatley become viable. I will educate myself and then educate him the best I can so we can make the best decision for us.


I think your optimism is great :). I hope that your first cycle works for you. Are you thinking that if you do get pregnant you don’t want anymore children? That is what most people are hoping for - that they have success and then have frozen embryos for sibling cycles.

Are your cycles covered by insurance? if so, then you can do as many cycles as you want and I am sure your doctor will honor your wishes and only fertilize as few/many eggs as you want. Of course, time is an issue as well since at 38 with an amh of .8 your eggs are already an issue.

If you are out of pocket, the costs of multiple cycles can be huge.

I really, really think you are getting ahead of yourself and you should discuss the likelihood of having freeze quality embryos with your diagnosis.


Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. Is is hard to make an informed decision when we are not informed :slight_smile: we just found out yesterday… I felt like I was going to break down and cry right in his office. We are paying for all of this out of pocket. And I know what you mean, it does take a toll on emotions and marriages…


We would be open to the idea of using more for later.But just one more. I think my Dh heard him say 10 eggs would be the goal to get from me, and fertilize them all. Then use 1 or 2. In his mind he is thinking we would have 8 left. I see now by reading your responses, that this is not likely the case.


Like the other ladies said you are jumping the gun.
Considering your age and your AMH - not all the eggs retrived are going to be mature. Then they have to fertilize and they have to grow to Day 3 or Day 5 for transfer. So if you are going to get 10 eggs not all are going to make it that far. So if you restrict yourself to lower number your chances are going to be slimmer.

If you do end up having forzen embies then you can always donate for research.

Take my case - I have DOR (diminished ovaraian reserve) and produce very few eggs each time. I had 4 eggs last round - 3 were mature and fertilized. WE transferred two on Day 3 and the other didnt survive to Day 5 for freezing. I didnt get pregnant - and RE thinks its coz of fragmentation.
Now I am doing an egg banking protocol - had 4 frozen on Saturday and will be doing another retival in April to get a few more eggs - this way I have a bigger pool of embies to choose the best from. i do want some frozen if at all possible for a sibling coz I cannot see myself doing all this again.


I know it may sound like we are jumping the gun, but my DH knows there is a chance we “could” have extras. That is what he is truggling with. But it sounds to me, like there is no way of knowing.


I should also add, because of my DH sperm count and motility, our Dr also said we would have to do ICSI. Doesn’t that give us more of a chance to have embroys to freeze?


[quote=bfu1873]I should also add, because of my DH sperm count and motility, our Dr also said we would have to do ICSI. Doesn’t that give us more of a chance to have embroys to freeze?[/quote] The quality of the sperm is what it is - ICSI should help with fertilization rates, but if the sperm is poor quality, the embryos may still arrest.

I should add that poor egg quality can also lead to non-viable embryos. I don’t want to just keep giving you negatives, though. You’re fairly young and should have a good percentage of chromosomally normal eggs.

IVF is an amazingly wonderful thing. I will forever be grateful that there has been such progress in this field that I get to be the most blessed person and experience the joy of motherhood every moment for the rest of my life.

I hope you get your miracle!


I think they shoot for 10 eggs bc of the things were saying some will arrest some won’t r chromosomally normal so 10 gives u a shot at a decent transfer know why I mean ? Shotting for 10 mature eggs and getting them are 2 different stories


I understand where your coming from. There is that what do we do with the extras debate. With my first IVF I had 9 embroys at transfer/freeze quality. All 9 were used and I had no baby at the end. This time I had 8 total freezeable/useable embryos. I am currently 11 weeks pregnant and have 6 still frozen. I would never have asked to remove less eggs, knowing that not every egg becomes and embryo and not every embryo becomes a baby. However now I wonder what will we do with our 6 snow babies. We may try again for a 2nd child down the road and not have to undergo fresh IVF. Knowing that even with 6 snow babies I may not be sucsessful, or If one child fills our lives with enough joy and love we may donate the embryos to another family who coudln’t have children with their own. I don’t know yet and only time will tell.

I just want to let you know I understand where your coming from. I hope you are lucky enough to have left over embryos. The vast majority, even with excelent production and quality, do not.


[quote=essemkay]I also think you may be putting the cart before the horse. With an AMH of .8 and low sperm count, I’m not sure that having 10 embryos that qualify for freezing is even very likely. Only 30% of people have frosties to begin with, and those are usually (but of course not always) women in their 20s or early 30s, or those with PCOS.

Best of luck to you![/quote]
I was going to post something, but this states the reality very well. It is unlikely to get 10 eggs much less 10 embryos with your issues and your age. Even if you do get 10 eggs, they all won’t fertilize and then you will lose more before they make it to day 5 or 6 for freezing. If they do freeze, once age is factored in, there is great likelihood that some of those frozen embryos are not normal.

Breathe…take one step at a time…