Embryo Freezing

Family building happens in many different ways. If you’re interested in starting or expanding your family in the future, one option to help make that happen is embryo freezing, also known as embryo cryopreservation.

The Fertility Institute has been helping families freeze embryos and grow their families through in vitro fertilization (IVF) for decades.

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Why Freeze Embryos?

Freezing embryos is a good way to plan for growing your family in the future on a timeline that’s right for you and your partner. If you’ve undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) before, you can freeze embryos from that process and use them in the future without having to undergo ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval again.

Frozen embryos are very resilient and can safely remain frozen for long periods of time. As many as two-thirds of embryos can withstand the freezing and thawing process. In some cases, embryos that have been frozen for as long as 20 years have been used to help couples successfully start and grow their families.

The Embryo Cryopreservation Process

The embryo cryopreservation process is similar to in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the beginning, but instead of pregnancy being the end goal of the process, the embryo is frozen and stored in a cryobank.

Consultation and Fertility Testing

You and your partner can begin the embryo cryopreservation process with a fertility consultation with our fertility specialists. Fertility testing will help pinpoint any potential causes of infertility so our team can provide personalized treatment.

Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

Your fertility specialist will provide you with a self-administered injectable fertility medication to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs. You’ll be monitored throughout this process, and when the eggs are properly developed, you’ll receive a “trigger shot,” which will cause the release of the eggs.

Egg Retrieval, Sperm Sample Provided, and Fertilization

Your fertility specialist will schedule an egg retrieval procedure three days after your “trigger shot.” During this procedure, your doctor will retrieve the eggs using a vaginal ultrasound to guide a needle into each egg follicle. You will be sedated during this minimally invasive procedure.

Your partner, or a donor, will provide a sperm sample for fertilization. In our lab, our team will fertilize the eggs and monitor the embryos to ensure they are in good condition for cryopreservation.

Freezing and Storage

Our IVF lab uses the process of vitrification to rapidly freeze eggs. Vitrification has become more popular because of its many benefits, including a lower risk of cell damage.

Embryos can be frozen at any point from the single-cell (pro-nuclear) stage to the blastocyst stage, which occurs five to seven days after fertilization. Before they are frozen, the embryos are combined with a cryoprotectant solution to lower their freezing point. This step is essential to prevent the formation of ice crystals inside the cells, which can cause them to become damaged. The embryos are then frozen and stored by our lab until you are ready to use them.

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