Fertility Treatments & Services Embryo Freezing (Cryopreservation)

Embryo Freezing (Cryopreservation) is an important dimension of the IVF cycle. There are times when patients have additional healthy embryos and want them frozen for various reasons including:

  • Wanting a second or a third opportunity for pregnancy without having to go through the ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval process again.
  • Efficient use of each frozen embryo, thus minimizing embryo attrition.
  • Avoiding ethical dilemmas by eliminating the need to dispose of embryos.
  • Reducing the need to transfer too many embryos and risk multiple gestation pregnancy.
  • Increasing the number of pregnancies possible per retrieval cycle.

Traditionally, embryo cryopreservation is performed using a “slow cooling” or “slow freezing” process that offers a cleavage survival rate of 68%, according to research published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. During the slow freezing process, formations of ice crystals often occur within the cell(s), effectively destroying cellular integrity.

At CHA Fertility Center, we pioneered the now standard “flash freezing” process called vitrification that is also used for egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation). This innovation rapidly freezes the cells in order to avoid intracellular ice formations that cause cell damage, increasing the embryo survival rate to over 88% according to the study. Depending on the development of the embryo, we use the most optimal freezing method to ensure the highest chance of success.

Embryos can be stored indefinitely without a compromise in their quality, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Embryos frozen using vitrification have virtually the same viability for uterine attachment (pregnancy) as freshly harvested eggs, according to SART.

CHA Fertility Center research article published in Fertility and Sterility Magazine, December 2009:

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