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Babies born from frozen embryos are healthier

A study that has been carried out by the British Fertility Society has revealed that babies born from frozen embryos are healthier than those born from...

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|Jan 6|magazine10 min read

A study that has been carried out by the British Fertility Society has revealed that babies born from frozen embryos are healthier than those born from fresh embryos.

The research revealed that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments with frozen embryos lead to longer pregnancies, meaning when the child is born it is heavier and therefore healthier.

Although they are not sure at this stage, the team behind the study believe freezing the embryos allows the uterus to recover from the IVF treatment, particularly from the drugs used during the process that stimulate the production of eggs from the ovaries.

There is also evidence to suggest that the over-use of IVF drugs and an over-stimulation of the ovaries could be another factor that results in babies having a low birth weight.

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As part of the study the researchers recorded the length of pregnancy and birth weight of 384 babies born from fresh embryos and 108 that were born from frozen embryos.

On average, they found that babies who were the result of a frozen embryo transfer weighed 253g more than those born following a fresh embryo IVF treatment.

Additionally, in the group of children that were born from frozen embryos there were fewer with a low birth weight of 2.5kg or less.

For the frozen embryo babies 3.7 percent of them weighed 2.5kg or under, compared to 10.7 percent of the fresh embryo babies.

Furthermore, the women who had undergone a frozen embryo IVF treatment enjoyed a longer pregnancy, by approximately 0.65 weeks.

“For all assisted reproduction technologies, it is important that we ensure the procedures promote optimal health in the resulting children throughout their lives,” said Suzanne Cawood, the project’s lead researcher.

“Our study suggests that babies born from frozen embryos have a significantly longer gestation period and are significantly heavier at birth compared to babies from fresh embryos.”

“This means that resulting babies may potentially be healthier if frozen embryos are transferred rather than fresh embryos,” she added.

“The reasons behind these findings are not yet fully understood, but one possibility may be that there is a difference in the uterine environment between fresh cycles, when embryos are transferred soon after the eggs have been collected, compared to frozen cycles when the uterus has not been stimulated in the days before transfer.”

There are now hopes the discovery will promote the importance and benefits of single embryo transfers.

Claire Lewis-Jones, the chief executive of Infertility Network UK, said: “These initial findings, if proved accurate following further research, will give the medical profession more evidence to encourage patients to accept single embryo transfer, which reduces the risks of multiple births to both mother and babies.

“Single embryo transfer gives the best possible outcome - a healthy singleton baby - with the chance of further frozen embryo transfers in the future.”

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