Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Why pooling embryos is not always a good idea for IVF patients


It might seem surprising , but IVF doctors also seem to fall prey to fashions , many of which come and go .

One of the popular strategies which many IVF doctors use today is that of embryo pooling, but this is often the wrong option for many patients.

When the patient has only one or two good quality embryos in their fresh IVF cycle, instead of transferring it, doctors tell patients to freeze them , and do 3-4 fresh IVF cycles back to back, so they can make more embryos, freeze them and store them – a process called embryo pooling.

Patients are happy to do this, because they feel that if they have more embryos, their chances of getting pregnant improve.

While this makes intuitive sense, it’s not a good idea for young patients who are poor ovarian responders. The way to maximize chances of getting pregnant is not to transfer many embryos at a time ( a tactic which unnecessarily increases the risk of a multiple pregnancy) , but to transfer a single embryo , as many times as possible.

Thus, if you have a good quality blastocyst, and your uterine lining is receptive, you should transfer the embryo back in the fresh cycle itself. If you get pregnant, you don’t need to do anymore cycles , until you want your second baby !

And even if you don't get pregnant , you are better off starting a new fresh cycle.

However, for older patients for whom time is at a premium, it makes sense to do 3-4 cycles back to back, so that you can create enough frozen blasts, and transfer them back one at a time. For these women, having more blasts to transfer helps to improve their cumulative pregnancy rate.

For others, transferring a single embryo in the fresh cycle , or transferring the frozen embryo in the next cycle will not affect IVF success rates.

The point is that one-size-does-not-fit-all , and you need to be able to customise your doctor’s advice, based on your particular situation


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