Frozen Embryo Transfer Step-by-Step

The frozen embryo transfer is the most common type of embryo transfer. It's typically used in surrogacy and allows for the transfer of all created embryos from previous in-vitro fertilization cycles.

The frozen embryo transfer (FET) process is a vital component of surrogacy, involving the careful thawing and implantation of the intended parents’ embryos into your uterus. By learning more about the intricacies of FET, you can enhance your understanding of what it means for your journey, from the storage process to how you can prepare.

To learn more about the frozen embryo transfer process timeline and how it impacts your ability to become a surrogate, contact us today.

Our agency provides thorough education and dedicated support to surrogates, guiding you through each step of the frozen embryo transfer process timeline to ensure a smooth and positive experience.

What Is a Frozen Embryo Transfer?

The process for frozen embryo transfers has the ability to help you become pregnant. Frozen embryo transfers use embryos that have been frozen, thawed and then placed into your uterus.

The embryo is placed into your uterus when conditions are optimal during your menstrual cycle that best supports a pregnancy. 

What Are the Benefits of Frozen Embryo Transfers?

Frozen embryo transfers are the most common type of embryo transfer and are typically used in surrogacy. It has a wide range of benefits for the intended parents, from being able to save extra embryos for growing their family in the future to helping preserve fertility. 

  • Saving extra embryos for growing their family in the future

  • Helping preserve fertility

  • Reducing of risk for ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS), a complication that can occur in people receiving fertility treatments to stimulate their ovaries to produce large amounts of eggs 

Another benefit of frozen embryo transfers is your reduction of risk for ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS), a complication that can occur in people receiving fertility treatments to stimulate their ovaries to produce large amounts of eggs.

Not only does the process for frozen embryo transfer allow for the transfer of embryos created from the intended parents in previous in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, it also allows for genetic testing. Genetic testing can help identify additional problems beyond OHSS such as implementation failure, miscarriage and birth defects. 

Understanding the Frozen Embryo Transfer Process — How are Embryos Frozen?

The process of freezing embryos prior to a transfer attempt will follow several basic steps. Depending on your situation and needs, your fertility clinic may recommend additional steps or medications in order to increase your chances of success: 

Ovarian Stimulation

The first step in the frozen embryo transfer process requires ovarian stimulation through medication. This prepares the lining of the uterus and allows for the embryo to more easily implant.

Egg Retrieval

When a fertility specialist gives the intended mother the green light, the doctor will retrieve the eggs while she is sedated. Ultrasound imaging guides the doctor directing the hollow needle and catheter through the wall of her vagina to the ovary in order to collect the eggs. The number of eggs is dependent on her response to hormone treatments. 


The process for embryo transfers from frozen embryos is started by creating the frozen embryo. The embryos are created in a petri dish after a collected egg is fertilized by the sperm of the intended father or donor.

Embryo Creation

After the embryos are allowed to grow in a petri dish for five to seven days, they are graded to determine which ones are the most likely to be successful upon implantation. 


At this point, the embryos are frozen through a process called vitrification that replaces the water in the cells of the embryos with a protectant fluid. Liquid nitrogen is then used to flash-freeze the embryos, this prevents the formation of ice crystals which can be damaging to the cells of the embryo.

What Is the Process For Frozen Embryo Transfers? [5 Steps]

Step 1: Medical Screening

The first step in the frozen embryo transfer process is to complete a medical screening. This screening includes:

  • Blood tests
  • Hormonal assessments
  • Infectious disease screening
  • Genetic testing
  • Physical exam

The purpose of this screening is to assess your overall health, ensuring that your body is physically able to carry a baby to term

Step 2: Fertility Medications

Frozen embryo transfers require fertility medications to provide certain hormones that your body needs for pregnancy.

From regulating your hormone levels to preparing your body for the embryo transfer, here are some of the medications that could be used:


Birth Control Pills












Prenatal Vitamins



Your medications will be prescribed to you based on your body chemistry and your regimen and dosage for these medications will depend on your circumstances.

Step 3: The Embryo Transfer

When it comes to the process for frozen embryo transfers, your doctor will only transfer the amount of embryos agreed upon by you and the intended parents.

Frozen embryos are thawed on the day of your procedure and how they are thawed depends on how they were frozen. If frozen through vitrification, the cooling speed is increased by increasing the level of cryoprotectants.  Water then replaces the cryoprotectants.

Frozen selected embryos are transferred via a catheter that is inserted into your uterus where the embryos are released into the uterine cavity.

Ultrasounds may be used for precise placement but the overall procedure is considered minimally invasive.

After the transfer, it’s recommended that you be on bed rest for 48 hours.

Step 4: Pregnancy Monitoring and Support

This part of the frozen embryo transfer process timeline involves waiting for seven to 14 days before you return to your fertility clinic.

At this point, doctors will look at your human chorionic gonadotropic (hCG) levels to determine if you are pregnant or not.

When a pregnancy is confirmed, you’ll schedule regular medical check-ups to monitor the health of you and the baby in the form of ultrasounds, blood tests and consultations with your OB/GYN. 

Step 5: Creating a Family

The birth of the baby is the culmination of the step-by-step frozen embryo transfer process.  

You can live the rest of your life knowing that you have changed the lives of the intended parents forever. You will always be part of the fabric that makes up that family and their story.

Use our online contact form to get more free information about the frozen embryo transfer process.