The freeze-all strategy after IVF: which indications?


The freeze-all strategy is gaining popularity worldwide as an alternative to the conventional fresh embryo transfer. It consists of cryopreservation of the entire embryo cohort and the embryo transfer in a subsequent cycle that takes place separately from ovarian stimulation. The freeze-all strategy was initially a ‘rescue’ strategy for women at high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome; however, this approach has been extended to other indications as a scheduled strategy to improve implantation rates. This assumes that ovarian stimulation can alter endometrial receptivity in fresh cycles owing to the effect of supraphysiological levels of steroids on endometrial maturation. The procedure, however, has not been associated with increased live birth rates in all infertile couples, and concerns have been raised about the occurrence of several adverse perinatal outcomes. It is, therefore, crucial to identify in which subgroups of patients a freeze-all strategy could be beneficial. The aim of this review is to summarize current scientific research in this field to highlight potential indications for this strategy and to guide clinicians in their daily practice.