The Infertility Guidebook
Stage 7: FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)
Cost: $3,500 – $6,000
Meds: Estrogen, Progesterone
If you’re doing an FET, you’ve likely already completed at least one IVF cycle and either did a freeze-all, or had embryos left over after your fresh transfer; or you’re using donor embryos.
Either way, the good news is that this will be really, really easy compared to pretty much every other treatment plan up to this point.
If you’ve had a pregnancy or it’s just been a while since your last treatment cycle, your doctor may want to re-run some of the pre-IVF tests, like the Hysteroscopy and the Mock Transfer. But if you’ve already had those done recently, then you’re good to go there.
When you’re ready to start your FET, you will, as usual, wait for a period to start. (You might notice I harp on this part of the process a lot… because it’s pure torture, especially for a PCOSer, like myself.)
Once it finally does, you’ll start taking estrogen daily, to help thicken your lining. You’ll take this for 3-4 weeks, with a couple of ultrasounds to see how it’s coming along.
Once your lining is all cushy and beautiful, you’ll start taking progesterone supplements, likely in the form of progesterone-in-oil (PIO) injections. Since you’re not going to be ovulating, you’ll be completely dependent on the supplements for your progesterone, so the most efficient way to do that is through the PIO – sorry, you’re not totally off the hook from the shots this round.
Your embryologist will defrost your chosen embaby, and then they just pop that sucker back up in your uterus!
You’ll keep doing the PIO shots throughout your 9-day two week wait, and likely throughout your first trimester if it’s successful. So get the ice packs and heating pads ready, because your ass is going to be sore (like, your actual ass). Check out this post for some tips on how to make PIO a little more bearable.
And that’s it! So easy right?! After enduring all that IVF entails, an FET is a walk in the park (even if my bank account disagrees).
If it doesn’t work this round, you can keep doing more FETs with any frozen embryos you have, do another round of IVF (with PGS or ICSI, if needed), or move on to other options. See the “…and Beyond” section for more.
What to Expect:
- A Cake Walk – Seriously, you got this. It’s just a pill every day.
- A sore bum – I didn’t have to do PIO shots after my IVF cycle, because I was able to use Crinone suppositories (a much grosser, but easier progesterone option). Apparently that doesn’t cut it with an FET, so daily butt injections (potentially twice daily) are mandatory.