Following ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients have two options: a fresh embryo transfer, which takes place after 5 days of embryo development, or a frozen embryo transfer (FET), which takes place at the patient’s convenience during the appropriate time in the patient’s menstrual cycle.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is a relatively simple procedure in which a previously frozen embryo is thawed and inserted into a uterus using a catheter.
Patients who choose to perform preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) will be candidates for FET: after an embryo is biopsied for PGT, the embryo is frozen in the embryology laboratory while the embryo culture is sent to the PGT lab for testing.
When is FET recommended?
Frozen Embryo Transfer is recommended for individuals or couples who:
- Choose to undergo preimplantation genetic testing (PGT).
- Have embryos available from a previous IVF cycle and wish to use these embryos to grow their family.
- Wish to take time between the Ovarian Stimulation phase of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle and attempting pregnancy.
- Are attempting pregnancy using previously frozen eggs.
- Who may be at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
The Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) Process at NYU Langone Fertility Center
- Following an IVF cycle, you and your doctor will discuss the number of embryos produced as well as the quality of each embryo. This will help to determine which embryo will be selected for transfer.
- When you are ready, reach out to your NYULFC care team to schedule a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) Cycle. Your care team will evaluate your history and the embryo(s) available for transfer and will provide a medication timeline used to prepare your uterus for the embryo transfer.
- You will be scheduled for regular monitoring to observe your hormone levels and the growth of your uterine lining.
- On the day of the Frozen Embryo Transfer, you will arrive at NYULFC for the procedure; it is relatively simple and is usually done without anesthesia.
- On the morning of Frozen Embryo Transfer, the frozen embryo is removed from its cryostorage tank and is gradually warmed in the embryology laboratory.
- Patients will recline while, a long, thin catheter containing the previously agreed upon embryo is inserted through the cervix into the uterus where the embryo is released. An abdominal ultrasound is performed simultaneously to ensure optimal placement within the uterus.
- Following transfer, patients are typically allowed to resume normal activity upon leaving the office, however patients are encouraged to maintain safe and healthy practices in preparation for attempted pregnancy. These practices may include limiting strenuous athletic activity and limiting or eliminating the consumption of alcohol and/or tobacco products.
- Patients must continue to take all medications as instructed, even after the FET has been performed. It is imperative that patients continue to take their medications as directed for the duration of their care.
Frozen Embryo Transfer: FAQ's
What is the success rate of an FET?
Patients who transfer single euploid embryo at NYU Langone Fertility Center have approximately a 60% chance of pregnancy per transfer. The amount of time between embryo freezing and embryo thawing does not impact the implantation success rate.
When is the best time for an FET?
When you are ready, your doctor will track your menstrual cycle, scheduling the frozen embryo transfer when your uterus is in the optimal phase to receive the embryo. In most cases, medication will be prescribed for 2-3 weeks prior to transfer to prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
How much does an FET cost? Is it covered by insurance?
FET cycles are covered by some insurance carriers. Patients will be referred to a member of our Prior Authorization team to review coverage. The out-of-pocket cost for an FET without insurance coverage is $2,000 following an IVF cycle, not including medication. The out-of-pocket cost for subsequent FETs is $4,000 per cycle.
How long after an FET can you detect pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be detected nine (9) days after an FET. Patients will return to our office for a blood test to check levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Normal rising hCG levels indicate that the embryo has successfully implanted in the uterine lining, resulting in pregnancy. If the pregnancy test result is negative, patients will consult with their physician to determine next steps in their care process.
What does the FET feel like? Are there any side effects?
Patients may experience some mild discomfort during an FET, but most compare the sensation to that of a pap smear. Following transfer, patients are typically allowed to resume normal activity upon leaving the office, however patients are encouraged to maintain safe and healthy practices in preparation for attempted pregnancy. Patients must continue to take all medications as instructed, even after the FET has been performed. It is imperative that patients continue to take their medications as directed for the duration of their care.