In a stimulated cycle of IVF, several embryos are usually
If you have a regular menstrual cycle and documented
created. At Genea we usually transfer a single embryo
normal ovulation, it is common to have a natural cycle.
and ‘freeze’ the remaining suitable embryos. These
In this circumstance, your own body’s hormones prepare
embryos are stored in a cryoprotectant solution at a
the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Regular blood
temperature of -196˚C, the temperature of liquid nitrogen.
tests and ultrasounds are performed, particularly in
Embryos can be kept in this state almost indefinitely and
the middle of the cycle, to determine the exact time of
successfully transferred months or years later.
ovulation. Embryo transfer takes place up to five days after the first signs of ovulation. Following ovulation,
In a frozen embryo cycle, or “cryo-cycle”, an embryo
progesterone pessaries are used to help maintain the
that has been frozen is thawed and transferred into the
environment of the endometrium for implantation. The
pessaries are inserted like a tampon and slowly release
Frozen embryo pregnancies contribute significantly to
progesterone, to develop the endometrium in preparation
the overall chance of getting pregnant, without needing
for implantation. The nurses will let you know when to
to have a further stimulated cycle of injections and egg
Unfortunately, not all embryos survive the freezing and thawing process. Approximately 10% do not respond
Medicated cryo-cycles are used for women with irregular
when thawed. These are usually the ‘weakest’ embryos.
cycles, for women who need to have the embryos transferred on a definite date, or those who
A cryo-cycle is an entire cycle, even if it follows a
stimulated cycle where no embryos were transferred
advised by their doctor. If you are referred for a
(a “freeze-all” cycle). Please check with your accounts
medicated cycle, you will need to meet with your nurse
coordinator prior to starting to discuss the treatment
regimen. At this time your nurse will provide you with the relevant prescriptions and paperwork for the cycle.
To start a cryo-cycle, you need to have had at least one month’s break following a stimulated cycle.
It is usual to begin estrogen (ethyinylestradiol) tablets on day one of your period, and to take them
for approximately two weeks before starting the
• to give your ovaries time to settle down after the
progesterone pessaries. The estrogen tablets will
suppress your natural ovulation and importantly prepare
• so that you may claim on Medicare.
the endometrium, while the pessaries will further develop the endometrium in preparation for
When you decide to start a cryo-cycle, simply call your
nurse coordinator to discuss the treatment options.
Following a blood test and ultrasound on day ten, we are
then able to confirm the day of embryo transfer, which typically occurs around day 20 of the cycle.
A medicated cryo-cycle requires minimal monitoring (ie. fewer tests) and provides greater flexibility for transfer dates, but it does require taking medications for a longer
period of time than a natural cycle.
When starting either cycle, we ask that you contact your
nurse coordinator on the first day of your period to
confirm instructions. It is also important that you have
a current referral and have returned your signed and completed consent form and paid for your cryo-cycle before starting treatment.
You can discuss cryo-cycles further with your Genea gynaecologist or your nurse coordinator.
What is the success rate for frozen embryos?
Studies published in independent scientific journals demonstrate Genea’s systems consistently lead to high
pregnancy rates, particularly with blastocyst transfer.
One Genea study showed a 50% chance of having a live
born baby after just one egg collection in women under 35.
And in women under 38 who obtained three or more good quality blastocysts, their overall chance of having a baby was above 65%.
This result was obtained whether the embryos were replaced one or two at a time, showing that the risks of twins can be minimised without compromising the chance of having a baby.
The information in this brochure does not replace medical advice. Medical and scientific information provided in print and electronically by Genea might or might not be relevant to your own circumstances and should always be discussed with your own doctor before you act on it.
Genea Level 2, 321 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000p (02) 9229 6420 f (02) 9233 7519 w genea.com.au
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