“Frozen IVF embryos may result in healthier babies“
The study was published in June, but the results of the study have been presented more recently at the British Science Festival by the lead researcher, Dr. Abha Maheshwari.
The news is based on a study that combined the results of previously published studies to look at outcomes for the mother and child during pregnancy and just after birth in pregnancies resulting from the transfer of fresh and frozen IVF embryos.
The research found that single pregnancies after transfer of frozen and then change to non frozen embryos were associated with lower risks of complications such as low birth weight or premature birth.
There was a small increased risk of caesarean section in the 'frozen' group.
While the study is certainly valuable it is unlikely to lead to an automatic change in IVF practice (such as the routine freezing of embryos) as further research is required to assess whether other factors, such as maternal age and smoking status, are contributing towards the differences in pregnancy outcomes seen in this study.
Still, the results of this study should provide reassurance to women who have had their embryos frozen as there have been concerns that this could affect the child’s health.
It is important to remember that this study only looked at the results of successful pregnancies. It cannot be taken as evidence that using either fresh or frozen embryos could increase the chance of having a successful course of IVF treatment.
One theory is that stimulating the ovaries to release more eggs, as part of normal IVF, may affect the ability of the womb to accept an embryo. Freezing the embryo until later would allow it to be implanted in a more "natural" womb.
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