Egg Cryopreservation (Freezing)
A woman's fertility is largely dependent on the quality of her eggs. Some medical conditions such as cancer also limit a woman's ability to conceive. Women have the option of freezing eggs for future use. Although the woman may age, the eggs will maintain the same age as when they were frozen.
Using frozen eggs
When a couple is ready to use their cryopreserved eggs, some or all of the eggs are thawed and then injected with a single sperm from the male partner to bring about fertilization. Fertilized eggs are cultured in the ARTS IVF Lab and begin to divide and develop into embryos. Generally, one or two of the best dividing embryos are transferred into the uterus. Other embryos that have grown well after fertilization but are not transferred can be cryopreserved as embryos (see below).
Potential for success
ARTS and many other programs have seen a significant increase in survival rates of thawed eggs due to new advances in cryopreservation. In addition, studies show that fertilization and embryonic development of eggs that are frozen and then thawed are comparable to freshly retrieved eggs.
Embryo Cryopreservation (Freezing)
Similar to freezing eggs, embryo cryopreservation can be performed when there are more embryos than needed for a single in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. The extra embryos can be frozen for future IVF cycles.
Using frozen embryos
When a couple is ready to use their cryopreserved embryos, some or all of the embryos are thawed so that the age of the embryos corresponds to the age of the uterine lining. The embryos are placed in the uterus around the time of ovulation and when the thickness of lining of the uterus is optimal.
Please see your physician for information on these options:
- Donor oocytes (eggs)
- Donor embryos
- Gestational carrier or surrogate