What is the Freeze-All Technique?
In IVF treatments, it is essential to form and select the best-quality embryos in order to help our patients achieve their parenting dream as soon as possible. On the other hand, in a regular menstrual cycle, women produce only one egg every month, and generally over 50-70% of these eggs (depending on the age of the woman) cannot turn into a healthy embryo. In IVF treatments, patients are given high doses of ovary-stimulating injections, thus obtaining several eggs at once to select the ones that are most likely to result in pregnancy.
With this approach, many couples can produce a decent number of quality embryos and achieve healthy pregnancies. However, recent studies have shown that ovarian stimulation hormones/medications can adversely affect the inner layer of the uterus, thus reducing the chance of embryo implantation. In order to eliminate this adverse effect, we freeze the good-quality embryos for future use. We expect the uterine environment to return to normal within 1-2 months. Thus, this technique called the “freeze-all technique” allows the easier implantation of the embryo.
Who is the Freeze All technique recommended to?
This method, which was performed on a limited group of patients in the past, can now be performed on a much wider range of patients. The most important reasons for this are improved laboratory technologies and subsequent success in embryo freezing techniques. Earlier, performing this technique on patients with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (hypersensitivity to ovarian stimulation) was mandatory. Nowadays, we are able to comfortably use this technique on patients whose uterine environment may be disrupted due to the stimulation process. In some patients, the transfer of embryos can be easily postponed thanks to this technique, depending on social reasons.
Can the freeze all technique be performed at every clinic?
In order for the freeze all technique to be successful, the embryos should be frozen with extremely high success rates and thawed without any damage. In patients who use this technique at a centre which performs it appropriately and effectively, an increase of up to 5-15% in pregnancy rates can be observed compared to fresh embryo transfer patients. On the other hand, not only is it not possible to increase pregnancy rates in clinics where embryo freezing/thawing techniques are not performed successfully; but pregnancy rates using the freeze all technique are also lower than fresh embryo transfers. Therefore, the key to success in the freeze all technique is a state-of-the-art embryology laboratory that works efficiently within the clinic. In all our centres, we achieve successful results in freezing and thawing procedures in our embryology laboratories equipped with the latest technologies.