Why we should transfer frozen instead of fresh embryos The translational rationale

Capsule:
Frozen transfer allows embryos to implant and develop in a more physiologic environment. This review summarizes the research on the effect of the superovulated environment on implantation and embryo development.

Authors:
Rachel Weinerman, M.D., Monica Mainigi, M.D.

Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 10–18

Abstract:
Epidemiologic studies have shown an increased rate of adverse perinatal outcomes, including small for gestational age (SGA) births, in fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles compared with frozen embryo transfer cycles. This increase is not seen in the donor oocyte population, suggesting that it is the peri-implantation environment created after superovulation that is responsible for these changes. During a fresh IVF cycle, multiple corpora lutea secrete high levels of hormones and other factors that can affect the endometrium and the implanting embryo. In this review, we discuss both animal and human data demonstrating that superovulation has significant effects on the endometrium and embryo. Additionally, potential mechanisms for the adverse effects of gonadotropin stimulation on implantation and placental development are proposed. We think that these data, along with the growing body of epidemiologic evidence, support the proposal that frozen embryo transfer should be considered preferentially, particularly in high responders, as a means to potentially decrease at least some of the adverse perinatal outcomes associated with IVF.

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