What is the E-Freeze trial?
E-Freeze is a multi-centre randomised controlled trial that compares fresh embryo transfer with frozen thawed embryo transfer for couples undergoing their first round of fertility treatment. The main aim is to understand if there is any difference in the chance of having a healthy baby. Jessop Fertility is one of the centres taking part in this research study.
Why do we need E-Freeze?
Infertility is a common problem and affects approximately one in seven couples in the UK. Despite improvements in technology, IVF success rates remain relatively low.
IVF uses hormone injections to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce eggs, which are then removed and mixed with sperm to create embryos. Normally, for the first cycle of fertility treatment, these embryos are replaced 3 to 5 days later. This is called fresh embryo transfer and any remaining embryos are usually frozen, so that they can be used at a later date if required – a process which in our clinic is known frozen embryo replacement, or FER.
There have been some small studies which suggest that using only frozen thawed embryos may lead to improved pregnancy rates. This is because when frozen embryos are used, there is a delay in embryo transfer of between one and three months, allowing the excess hormones of ovarian stimulation to wear off, giving the uterus time to return to its natural state.
Without more research we cannot say if fresh or frozen thawed embryo transfer is better for the first cycle of fertility treatment. E-Freeze will compare these two types of embryo transfer in 1,086 couples from IVF centres throughout the UK to find out which, if any, gives the best chance of having a healthy baby.
Who can take part in the study?
If you are between 18-42 years old at the start of your treatment and are undergoing your first cycle of IVF or ICSI you might be asked if you would like to take part.
You won't be able to take part if you are using donor sperm or donor eggs, if you are having pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), or if freezing of embryos is preferred or needed for medical reasons, for example if you are at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
What are the possible benefits?
Taking part in this trial may or may not improve the chances of achieving a pregnancy. However, information from this trial may help doctors understand if there is any benefit to offering a "freeze-all" to women having first time IVF/ICSI.
What are the risks?
We do not expect any harm to come to you if you do take part in this research study. All the procedures involve standard techniques which are already being used by us.
How can I take part in the trial and what is involved?
If you are eligible to take part then we will give you information in writing and verbally about what is involved. If you decide you would like to be a part of this exciting study then you will complete a consent form and will be randomly allocated to either have a fresh embryo transfer or to have all of your embryos frozen and to have your FER at a later date.
Where can I find out more information?
Please ask your doctor or nurse about the study on your next visit. You can also have a look at the official E-Freeze website here or have a look at their information leaflet which is below.
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We’d love to answer any questions you may have. If you would like find out more please complete our contact form or send an email to Valerie.Kitcheman@sth.nhs.uk
Alternatively you can call us on: 0114 226 8050
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Tree Root Walk, Sheffield S10 2SF