Frozen IVF embryos result in healthier babies
|Are we made better this way?|
New research has revealed that using frozen IVF embryos may result in healthier babies than fresh IVF embryos. Recent research conducted at Aberdeen University has provided evidence that fetuses conceived from frozen IVF embryos often result in healthier pregnancies and healthier babies. The study showed that using frozen (and then thawed) IVF embryos reduced the chance of bleeding during pregnancy and reduced the chances of low preterm and post-birth weights.
The research considered data from over 37,000 pregnancies stemming from either fresh or frozen IVF usage and showed clearly that frozen IVF embryos fared far better than fresh IVF embryos.
The researchers involved offered a few theories as to why this might be. Previous intuitive thinking had led medical professionals to assume that frozen embryos may not perform as well as fresh in the same way that fresh produce contains more vitamins and nutrients than frozen fare. However, by freezing embryos, it is thought that the mother’s womb, ovaries and hormones have more time to recover from the hormone injections used to stimulate egg production during the IVF process.
By giving a woman’s body time to recover from this process, freezing embryos allows for a much more fertile and natural environment for implantation. This is one, fairly compelling theory.
Another theory comes close to Darwin’s survival of the fittest. During the freezing and thawing processes, it is thought that only the strongest and most viable embryos survive (however embryo survival rates are now higher than 90% in many clinics and this does not necessarily account for healthier pregnancies).
This discovery is causing fertility specialists to seriously reconsider how IVF processes are undertaken. If, by providing a window of opportunity for a prospective mother’s body to recover from hormone injections, we can significantly improve the success rates and safety of IVF treatment, should the practice of implanting fresh embryos be scrapped altogether?
The figures are compelling:
- Frozen IVF embryos have 16% less risk of being born pre-term
- Frozen embryos have 50% less risk of being below average size for their gestational age
- There is a significantly lower risk of a low birth weight
- The risk of death soon after birth is also significantly reduced
More research is required to determine exactly why frozen embryos fare so much better in IVF processes, yet the prevailing view is that this breathing space for prospective mothers is behind the greater success rate. This study is a promising start to a new understanding of IVF which could significantly improve the technique in future. Keep your eyes peeled for more news soon.
Author Bio: This post was written by the London Women’s Clinic, UK fertility clinic offering a range of fertility treatments including frozen embryo transfer. For more information, visit www.londonwomensclinic.com.