Cryopreservation/Vitrification – Freezing Technique for Sperm, Eggs and Embryos
- Posted on: May 21 2013
The process of cryopreservation or Vitrification is a freezing procedure used for sperm, eggs and embryos at fertility clinics in Colorado. The technique involves freezing and preserving the eggs and embryos so that fewer fertility drug stimulations and oocyte retrievals are needed to achieve pregnancy. When the number of infertility procedures are reduced, the costs involved are decreased due to cryopreservation techniques. Additionally freezing eggs decrease the cost of donor egg cycles, and decrease the creation of embryos that may not be used.
Freezing the Sperm
Short-term storage of sperm can be done through the technique of cryopreservation.
There are a variety of reasons men can choose to have their sperm stored via a cryopreservation procedure. Some of those reasons include:
- The male individual has a low sperm count and wants to have back-up resources available for fertility therapy.
- The male partner’s hormone levels are declining and he is at risk of having no sperm in the future.
- If cancer treatment is beginning and the chemotherapy can affect sperm counts.
- The individual is undergoing a procedure such as a spine surgery that has a risk of a complication such as retrograde ejaculation. It’s a good idea to store sperm in case that complication occurs.
- The male partner has such a low sperm count that multiple samples are needed for In vitro fertilization and ICSI
- The male partner is undergoing a vasectomy and wants to store sperm just in case he changes his mind about having more children.
- Sperm must be extracted from the testes or epididymis in order to achieve pregnancy.
Freezing the Eggs
Patients undergoing in vitro fertilization may undergo an egg freezing procedure. Egg freezing may benefit women who have been diagnosed with a medical condition where treatments may harm the eggs and cause infertility, or cause an inability to produce healthy eggs. Additionally women may choose to freeze eggs at a young age to postpone childbearing until they meet Mr. Right.
For example, a woman who is age 32 produces more viable oocytes than those produced at 42. The younger woman may choose to have her eggs frozen until she is ready to have a child. Additionally, eggs can be frozen from egg donors. The frozen eggs are stored in a egg bank and used for other infertile women. Lastly, freezing will benefit many women that which to limit the number of embryos frozen. By freezing eggs rather than embryos couples are not faced with ethical decisions about destroying embryos.
Freezing the Embryos
During an in vitro fertilization treatment cycle, good quality embryos can be frozen through the process of vitrification. At RMFC eggs are vitrified at the blastocyst stage. The frozen embryos can be stored for future use.
The embryos are created after an IVF cycle, the eggs retrieved and then placed with the sperm. The embryos are cultured for a few days, sometimes zero to five, and then placed in storage in liquid nitrogen.
Posted in: Egg Freezing