BACKGROUND: The transfer of fresh embryos is generally preferred over the transfer of frozen embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF), but some evidence suggests that frozen-embryo transfer may improve the live-birth rate and lower the rates of the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and pregnancy complications in women with the polycystic ovary syndrome. METHODS: In this multicenter trial, we randomly assigned 1508 infertile women with the polycystic ovary syndrome who were undergoing their first IVF cycle to undergo either fresh-embryo transfer or embryo cryopreservation followed by frozen-embryo transfer. After 3 days of embryo development, women underwent the transfer of up to two fresh or frozen embryos. The primary outcome was a live birth after the first embryo transfer. RESULTS: Frozen-embryo transfer resulted in a higher frequency of live birth after the first transfer than did fresh-embryo transfer (49.3% vs. 42.0%), for a rate ratio of 1.17 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 1.31; P = 0.004). Women who underwent frozen-embryo transfer also had a lower frequency of pregnancy loss (22.0% vs. 32.7%), for a rate ratio of 0.67 (95% CI, 0.54 to 0.83; P<0.001), and of the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (1.3% vs. 7.1%), for a rate ratio of 0.19 (95% CI, 0.10 to 0.37; P<0.001), but a higher frequency of preeclampsia (4.4% vs. 1.4%), for a rate ratio of 3.12 (95% CI, 1.26 to 7.73; P = 0.009). There were no significant between-group differences in rates of other pregnancy and neonatal complications. There were five neonatal deaths in the frozen-embryo group and none in the fresh-embryo group (P = 0.06). CONCLUSIONS: Among infertile women with the polycystic ovary syndrome, frozen-embryo transfer was associated with a higher rate of live birth, a lower risk of the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and a higher risk of preeclampsia after the first transfer than was fresh-embryo transfer.
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