Embryo freezing is the method of preserving the viability of embryos through cryopreservation. Cryopreservation involves the replacement of the cell’s water content with a cryoprotectant and freezing the live cells and tissues, to sub-zero temperatures.
In embryo freezing the embryos developed as a result of IVF and/or ICSI are frozen and stored at very low temperatures for later use.
Embryo freezing can be considered in the following circumstances:
• People with inherited genetic conditions affecting fertility.
• People undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiotherapy can hamper fertility.
• Couples of the same sex who wish to have children
• Couples with advancing age and want to conceive later
• Couples considering another IVF cycle or donate embryos to childless couples, single mothers, etc.
• Couples looking for a preimplantation genetic screening of embryos (PGS).
• Women with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) where embryo transfer can be done after OHSS symptoms subside
What is the procedure of embryo cryopreservation?
The procedure of embryo freezing involves the following steps of IVF/ICSI.
• Hormonal stimulation of ovaries, that facilitates the production of more follicles.
• The mature eggs are retrieved from the ovarian follicles through a minimally invasive procedure.
• Sperm retrieval is done through masturbation or surgical aspiration technique.
• Gametes obtained are mixed and allowed to fertilize naturally or ICSI is performed where the sperm is directly injected into the egg.
• The IVF/ICSI embryos are cultured and allowed to grow till a 6-8 celled or blastocyst stage after which they are cryopreserved.
The cryopreservation process involves the initial incubation of embryos in cryoprotectants. The embryos undergo freezing by slow freezing or vitrification.
Slow freezing process: In this process, the embryos are placed in sealed tubes and placed in special freezing machinery that cools the embryos slowly and in stages. This procedure is known to prevent embryos from aging.
Vitrification: In this process, the embryos are frozen at a super-fast speed so that the water molecules in the embryos do not form ice crystals. Vitrification is known to improve the embryo survival rates after thawing and so, is a more preferred method of embryo freezing.
The frozen embryos are sealed and stored at -196 degrees celcius in liquid nitrogen. Freeze-all cycles of embryo freezing allow you to freeze all the developed embryos and use/transfer them later.
Embryo Freezing Success Rate
The embryo survival rate after cryopreservation is relatively high with a high embryo freezing success rate. Research suggests that women who choose frozen embryo transfer have fair chances of delivering healthy progeny as compared to fresh embryo transfer.</span >Studies also show that babies born from frozen embryos have lowered chromosomal anomalies, developmental abnormalities, and other genetic defects. According to statistical data, vitrification improves the embryo’s survival rate, IVF/ICSI success rate, and overall pregnancy rate compared to slow embryo freezing.
OMYA fertility centre practices the most scientific and ethical methodologies of embryo freezing. Our most dedicated team at OMYA works with utmost meticulousness and precision towards maintaining the safety and quality standards of fertility preservation.