Both fresh and frozen embryos offer similar chances of baby after IVF

The two studies involved almost 3,000 women undergoing IVF who were randomly assigned to receive either frozen or fresh embryos.

Researchers found that women using frozen embryos had a live birth rate of 48.7%, versus a live birth rate of 50.2% for women in the fresh-embryo group.

Researchers in China and Vietnam who headed the studies say this is "good news for women seeking in-vitro fertilization".

This discovery means that doctors treating patients who don't have PCOS may now implant one embryo at a time instead of multiple embryos at once, which can often lead to multiple births.

Women were given one cycle of IVF, where either a transfer of fresh embryos occurred, or all embryos were frozen and one cycle of thawed embryos occurred subsequently without the use of IVF drugs.

The fact that thawed embryos "produce the same pregnancy rate with less complications should transform the way in-vitro fertilization is practiced", she told Reuters Health by email.

Dr. Coutifaris, who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said a higher progesterone level may indicate that the development of the embryo and the womb are out of synch, and using a thawed embryo allows for better timing of the implantation.

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Research has previously indicated that women who are infertile as a result of PCOS are significantly more likely to have a live birth if they have frozen embryos implanted, but this study suggests this is not the case for women with infertility unrelated to PCOS.

"It's good that [clinicians] will be able to advise patients that frozen-embryo transfer is as good as fresh, because historically frozen has not been as good". Coutifaris was not involved with the study. "So to apply the rule to everybody that we should freeze your embryos is probably not correct".

The study included nearly 800 couples undertaking IVF in Vietnam, who received either fresh or frozen embryo transfers on a randomised basis and was completed in under a year.

While there was no significant difference between groups in rates of biochemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, implantation, ongoing pregnancy, and overall pregnancy loss, a post-hoc analysis showed that the rate of second-trimester pregnancy loss was lower in the frozen-embryo group than in the fresh-embryo group (1.5% versus 4.7%; RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.16-0.68, P=0.002).

In a 12-month post-hoc analysis, the median time to pregnancy was slightly higher in the frozen-embryo group compared with the fresh-embryo group (3.6 months versus 2.2 months), but the cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate 1 year after randomization was similar (54.2% versus 53.5%).

They also acknowledged several limitations, such as the limited generalizability due to the study's single center nature, and using only the Cryotech vitrification method.

Unlike the study by Chen and colleagues, Vuong and colleagues didn't find a lower rate of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in the frozen-embryo group, but they noted that "the rate of this complication was very low in our trial".

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