The world’s first baby born via in-vitro fertilization turned 40 years old this summer. Still, after four decades, IVF is a relatively new field with ongoing debate on how to get the best results for families who have placed their hopes -- and often their personal savings -- into fertility treatment.
IVF experts disagree about whether transferring a fresh or frozen embryo to a patient’s womb offers the best opportunity for healthy babies. According to a study of almost 83,000 IVF patients published August 20 in the journal Fertility and Sterility, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best technique may vary, depending on how many eggs the patient produces.
For a fresh transfer, patients take hormones for several weeks to stimulate egg production. Doctors retrieve the eggs, fertilize them and place one or more embryos in the mother during the same procedure. But many clinics now universally recommend freezing all embryos and waiting a few weeks for the patient to enter a new menstrual cycle.
“In the past five years, some clinics have advocated for freezing everything with the belief that the process that stimulated the eggs makes the lining of the uterus less welcoming for pregnancy,” said Suheil Muasher, M.D., a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Duke and senior author of the paper. Some research has also indicated frozen embryo transfers are less likely to result in preterm labor and underweight babies, he said.