Should we still perform fresh embryo transfers in ART?

Blockeel, C, Campbell, A, Coticchio, G, Esler, J, Garcia-Velasco, J A, Santulli, P, Pinborg, A,
Hum Reprod. Dec 1. 2019 doi: 10.1093/humrep/dez233


An increasing number of researchers have alluded to the potential benefit of deferring the transfer of embryos produced during assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) away from ovarian stimulation, using cryopreservation to enable this. The scientific evidence that may justify this recent trend in the use of the so-called 'freeze-all strategy' includes early, mostly small randomised controlled trials that have demonstrated an increase in live birth rates after elective embryo cryopreservation in certain patient populations, as well as evidence from cohort studies and retrospective analyses. What are the risks and benefits of freeze-all strategies in ART, who are the patients in whom it is likely to be advantageous, and does the current evidence allow us to identify situations when deciding that a fresh embryo transfer would be counter-productive? ART professionals are often faced with challenging clinical decisions regarding the best course of treatment for their patient. The purpose of this opinion paper is to provide a clinical guide for whether to perform a fresh embryo transfer or to opt for freezing all embryos in specific situations.