For many women who want to defer having children, embryo pooling is a very viable strategy . We can create embryos when they are young, and then transfer these when they are ready to start their family. This way, they don't need to worry about the impact their ticking biological clock will have on their fertility !

This option allows us to collect many embryos , freeze them, and then transfer them back one at a time after thawing them.

The question , however , is how many embryos is the right amount to pool? Is it okay if we have just two or three ? Or should we repeat the IVF cycle until we have at least four?

Obviously the more the number of embryos you have frozen, the better your chances of getting pregnant, because you will then be able to have that many more transfers , which will improve your cumulative conception rate.

However, each IVF cycle is expensive and takes time, and this can be a difficult trade off.

To a large extent, the answer depends on your risk taking appetite; the quality of your embryos; and your age . Thus, if you're getting top quality embryos and are young, then four frozen blastocysts should be enough, because it gives you an extremely good chance of getting pregnant , because you will be able to do four transfers , one blastocyst at a time.

However, if you're older, you might want to increase that number to optimize your chances of getting pregnant, because you can't reverse the biological clock !

What to find an IVF clinic which respects your time and intelligence ?

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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