STORAGE OF EMBRYOS, OOCYTES AND SPERM

Modern technologies allow to freeze (cryopreserve) and store biomaterial for further use. Storage is carried out in special cryoreservoirs at our clinics, in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196ºС. Freezing (vitrification) and storage procedure is so technically elaborated that it exerts no negative impact neither on subsequent development of a fetus nor on the course of pregnancy.

The birth of the first child as the result of transfer of a cryopreserved embryo occurred back in 1984.

embryo_cryoconservation
Cryopreservation of embryos

 

Generally, it is possible to obtain more than enough embryos during IVF program.

Not more than two embryos are transferred into the uterine cavity. The remaining embryos can be cryopreserved in order to thaw them when necessary and use in subsequent programs.

At the same time, this eliminates the need for stimulation (hence, there is no risk of superovulation) and ovarian puncture since cryopreserved embryos are simply thawed and transferred into patient’s uterine cavity.

Also an important fact is that chances of pregnancy onset with transfer of thawed embryos (cryopreservation protocol) are higher compared to transfer of fresh ones, since there is an opportunity to choose the most favorable moment of the menstrual cycle for transfer.

In addition, costs of a cryopreservation protocol are, generally, lower compared to a standard one. This means that patients do not need to bear the same expenses once more.

 

A special medium, cryoprotector, is used for freezing, which protects embryos from damage in the course of chilling/thawing. Embryos are mixed with cryoprotector before freezing, are vitrified, and then placed in a cryoreservoir filled with liquid nitrogen.

 

Depending on the stage of embryos development, at which they were frozen (fission, blastocysts, pronuclei), they can be transferred into the uterine cavity immediately on the day of thawing or after a certain time.
Infertility_treatment_in_Ukraine
Frozen embryos can be stored without damage for practically unlimited time. At a temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196ºС) any metabolic activity of cells is terminated. Statistics shows that there are no significant differences in pregnancy onset rate between transfer of embryos stored in liquid nitrogen for several months and those stored for several years (observations were carried out for up to 9 years).

 

In case if freezing technology is well in place in a clinic, the survival rate of embryos is over 98%. Damages can occur at the stages of chilling/thawing but not in the course of storage.

 

In cryoreservoirs of our clinics, each frozen embryo has its unique number and other related information (data on genetic parents, etc.). Therefore, the probability of errors is minimized.

 

Indications for cryopreservation of embryos.

  • Transfer in a “fresh” cycle is not recommended for medical reasons: small thickness of the endometrium, endometrial polyp, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a narrowed cervical canal to the uterine cavity (catheter introduction is hindered), etc.
  • The number of embryos obtained is greater than required for transfer into the uterine cavity.

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Cryopreservation of oocytes

 

This procedure is applied in following cases:

  • desire to delay birth of a child (absence of a suitable partner or career building), while retaining healthy oocytes obtained at a younger age;
  • diseases: oncological (before chemotherapy, which may affect production of oocytes by the body), endometriosis, etc.

sperm_cryoconservation

 

Cryopreservation of sperm

 

It is used in following cases:

  • if a man will not be able to be present at the clinic on the day of follicles puncture;
  • oncological diseases: before chemotherapy, since it can significantly reduce body reserves for production of healthy sperm cells;
  • testicular biopsy: possibility to obtain high-quality sperm cells from a man is identified during biopsy; then sperm is frozen, and a female patient is prepared for the IVF cycle.

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