Cryopreservation can be an essential part of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) fertility treatment process. Through cryopreservation, fertilized dividing embryos or unfertilized eggs (oocytes) can be preserved for future use.
It is seen that each couple’s fertility challenges are unique, we are dedicated to providing a wide range of fertility treatments. When used as part of the IVF treatment process, cryopreservation can increase the chances of achieving pregnancy for some couples. During IVF cycle, the cryopreservation allows couples to save the number of embryos for multiple conception attempts. In some patients, this can lead to successful treatment without using fertility drugs, availing more chances of successful implantation.
What is cryopreservation?
Cryopreservation is the technique used to freeze and then thaw sperm, oocytes and embryos for use in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles.
Advantages of Cryopreservation:
• With the use of cryopreserved embryos, a woman doesn’t need to get stimulated with fertility drugs in order to have an embryo transfer as a treatment of IVF cycle.
• It also reduces the likelihood that another egg retrieval procedure will be required.
• When diagnosed with cancer, for instance, preserved oocytes or embryos or sperms prior to undergoing treatments (which may affect fertility) can be served the purpose of IVF treatment in the future. Also, age and other health factors affect the quality of oocytes, in such cases, cryopreservation is a good option.
• Preserved embryos can be used for patients participating in the Donor Program.
• In the case of a patient undergoing vasectomy, semen can be cryopreserved prior.
• Semen cryopreservation is needed as a back up for ICSI or IVF as well as in case of special collection such as assisted ejaculation for the patients with spinal cord injury, retrograde ejaculation in urine or surgical collection from the genital tract.
During the standard IVF-ICSI treatment, hormones are used to stimulate the development of multiple eggs. After these eggs are retrieved and fertilized using ICSI procedure in the laboratory, good quality embryos are transferred to the patient’s uterus and remaining extra embryos can be cryopreserved for future use.
Embryos can be vitrified at any stage between day 1 and day 5 after ICSI by observing their growth pattern and characteristics. embryos are placed in cryoprotectant solution and then are frozen at a temperature of -196 °C in liquid nitrogen.
Embryos are thawed (warmed) according to the transfer day of a natural menstrual cycle or hormonally controlled cycle. The pregnancy rates of freeze/thawed embryo transfer and fresh embryo transfer have found to be similar. Storage in liquid nitrogen has no effect on their viability. Also, there are no reports of an increase in birth defects as a result of cryopreservation.
Oocyte cryopreservation or vitrification (egg freezing) is a very advantageous procedure. Oocytes are cryopreserved and later, when a woman is ready to become pregnant, these eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos.
Indications for Oocyte Cryopreservation:
• Women desiring to postpone childbearing for the purpose of education, career or other reasons, freezing eggs at an early age may ensure a chance for a future pregnancy.
• Women with a family history of early menopause have an interest in fertility preservation.
• Women undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy
• In cases where surgical removal of ovaries is required
To retrieve eggs from the ovary woman is stimulated with hormones same as IVF treatment. When eggs are matured the eggs are removed with the help of ultrasound-guided needle through the vagina. This procedure is conducted under anaesthesia. Then these eggs are frozen using special kind of cryoprotectant to avoid the formation of ice crystals.
Sperms can be stored from ejaculates or from fluid extracted in the operating room during surgical procedures such as epididymal and testicular sperm specimens.
Indication for Sperm Cryopreservation:
• When involved with Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Sperm can be stored for use for IUI, IVF, ICSI and other similar procedures so that it is available at a critical time.
• Before undergoing cancer therapies
Cancer therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can cause permanent sterility and infertility.
• Prior to the prostate or testicular surgery
Testicular surgery, prostatectomy can cause sterility by redirecting the flow of semen into the urinary bladder. Sperm freezing prior to surgery can help to have own progeny.
• In case of planned vasectomy
Sperm cryopreservation can preserve fertility and prevent the need for reversal surgery if personal circumstances change.
• High-risk occupations
High-risk professions with exposure to chemicals, radiation, extreme heat, etc. can cause sterility in men.
• Low sperm counts or low-quality sperm
Semen samples can be frozen for later use with IVF and ICSI. Specimens can be pooled to increase chances of pregnancy.
• Ejaculatory dysfunction
In cases of ejaculatory dysfunction, sperm quantity and quality can reduce over a period of time. Sperm sample preservation is a viable option in these cases.
• Absent male partner during treatment
Sperm freezing enables the female partner to continue with her treatment cycles even in the absence of a male partner, due to a busy schedule, unforeseen events, being out of station for professional reasons.