Why do few embryos make it to freeze?


#1

Hi all,

We are trying to decide between doing a fresh transfer or freezing and doing an FET later. Our cycle is set for May and there are a few things (one test result thats lagging, unexpected difficulty being away from work for 2 weeks straight) that are making us lean towards an FET.

I started looking at FET info and I keep seeing comments about “only 1 made it to freeze” when there were 5 good looking embryos… So what gives? I understand that vitrification is an improvement over the older slow-freeze method, with 95% thaw rates. But why aren’t more making it TO the freezing process?

Any advise or perspective on this would be appreciated! I’m stressing out about this. I don’t want to go through a cycle and end up with 0 embryos. The only thing I’ve come up with is that they need to be at the correct number of cells for how many days old they are and under a percentage of granularity.

Thank you!!
:thankyou:


#2

I wish I knew. Of 21 eggs retrieved, only 12 embryos formed, and by day 5 there were 2 really good blasts, and two more “looking good”. By the next day, only one was worth freezing. I don’t imagine that I would be able to do a FET with only one frozen embryo.

Thankfully, we prepaid for a 2 cycle package so if I get a BFN or a miscarriage, we have one more fresh cycle and maybe could get at least another embryo to freeze. I think I might be able to try a FET in the future if I had at least a pair.


#3

Understanding the decision on freezing embryos has been a very trying experience for me. So a little background, I underwent a cycle in Nov/Dec 2012. We retrieved 31 eggs, 23 were mature, and 20 fertilized. On Day 3 all twenty embryos were growing. On Day 5, we transferred the only 2 grade 4 embryos (4aa and 4ab) but we still had 18 growing embryos. That cycle resulted in a BFN. To my devastation, I learned that none of my 18 embryos made it to freeze. During my WTF meeting I learned that many labs, my RE’s included, are now moving to a more strict standard on freezing embryos. Some are even moving this direction on transfers. Essentially, in my RE’s lab an embryo must achieve 3cc blast to be frozen without signs of degrading. My RE further explained that they firmly believe that if an embryo is going to be a grade 3 blast in the uterus it will be one in the lab with advance lab techniques.

Knowing this I still underwent another IVF cycle with the same RE and advance knowledge that I would be doing a “freeze all” cycle followed by an FET at a later date. I was told that my embryos would still be required to meet the lab standards to be frozen. I was fortunate that my RE changed my protocol to improve embryo quality. This cycle resulted in 44 eggs, 32 mature, 31 fertilized, 11 achieved 5cc or better for aCGH testing (5 came back normal - 1 abnormal and 4 are still pending results) and 6 achieved 3cc - 4aa for a total of 15 on ice. I think you need to thoroughly understand your RE’s lab standards and what the percentage of embryos make it to freeze. Of course this is only my story but thought I would share to see if it offered any help.


#4

[quote=Hopeful_in_CA]Hi all,

We are trying to decide between doing a fresh transfer or freezing and doing an FET later. Our cycle is set for May and there are a few things (one test result thats lagging, unexpected difficulty being away from work for 2 weeks straight) that are making us lean towards an FET.

I started looking at FET info and I keep seeing comments about “only 1 made it to freeze” when there were 5 good looking embryos… So what gives? I understand that vitrification is an improvement over the older slow-freeze method, with 95% thaw rates. But why aren’t more making it TO the freezing process?

Any advise or perspective on this would be appreciated! I’m stressing out about this. I don’t want to go through a cycle and end up with 0 embryos. The only thing I’ve come up with is that they need to be at the correct number of cells for how many days old they are and under a percentage of granularity.

Thank you!!
:thankyou:[/quote]

Less than half of embryos will make good blastocysts. Most of the rest will stop developing before becoming blasts. Also, clinics tend to be more picky about what they will freeze compared to what they will transfer fresh.


#5

It is due to your protocol, look at my signature. When different protocol was used at low dose, i had more blasts even thought the number of eggs retrieved were smaller than the last cycles. Your lab also makes a difference as far as technique.


#6

Ok, thank you, this was helpful information. I am going to have a discussion with them about the labs standards for freezing. I had naively thought it was all about making it to day 5. But if their standards are similar to K-in-CA’s, then the blasts will need to get to a grade 3cc at least to qualify.

I appreciate this forum and everyone on it so much - it’s much easier to approach these conversations with doctors with an understanding of what’s going on from those who have been there.