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Preserving Happiness

Stimulation for ovaries for IVF involves production of a number of oocytes. All the eggs that are retrieved are fertilized with the goal of making number of viable embryos to allow better selection at the time of embryo transfer.

About Service
What is cryopreservation?

Cryopreservation is a procedure that involves freezing and storing of oocytes, sperms or embryos for a later date. The specimens are stored in liquid nitrogen at -1960C

When is egg (oocyte) freezing indicated?

Women who are diagnosed with cancer and need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation for treatment. These treatments can cause permanent damage to ovaries leading to infertility.

Women who want to delay childbearing in order to pursue educational or career goals. Unlike the ovaries and oocytes, the uterus does not age and therefore cryopreserving oocytes can ensure a chance for future pregnancy.

How does egg freezing work?

Eggs are frozen by a highly specialized technique called vitification. Vitrification involves plunging oocytes into liquid nitrogen after exposure to a cryoprotectant solution.

What is the procedure and how long can the eggs be frozen for?

Egg retrieval is similar to IVF where hormone stimulation is given for the growth and maturation of eggs. A needle is passed through the vagina under anesthesia and ultrasonographic guidance. The eggs are retrieved and frozen in a couple of hours.

Eggs can be frozen for long periods without any deterioration in quality. However, due its single cell status egg freezing and survival are even more challenging than embryo freezing.

When is sperm freezing done?

Sperms are frozen for a variety of reasons. They are preserved if the husband has to travel during the treatment cycle of his wife and can not be present at the time of procedures such as IUI, IVF/ICSI. They are also frozen as a back up sample before IVF.

What is the procedure?

Patients are required to give a sample with an abstinence of 3-5 days. The specimen is analyzed and cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen at -1960C after mixing with a cryoprotectant solution. This technology allows for the use of sperms in numerous procedures for the purpose of future fertilization and pregnancy.

For how long can sperms be frozen?

Sperms can be frozen for an indefinite period of time without compromising its quality.

What are the prerequisites?

Patients are required to undergo a viral screening test for HIV ½ antibody, Hep B surface Antigen, and Hep C Antibody  and should show negative results for these Sexual abstinence of 3-5 days

Why is embryo freezing done?

Sometimes in IVF, due to stimulation with hormones, a large number of oocytes are retrieved. Subsequently after transfer of good quality embryos into the uterus, surplus good grade embryos may remain. Under such circumstances or when a patient goes into OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation) after retrieval, cryopreservation of embryos is offered.

How are embryos cryopreserved?

Embryos are frozen using a technique called vitrification that has exponentially increased the post thaw survival, implantation and pregnancy rates.

Why are not all surplus embryos frozen?

In a majority of fresh cycles, surplus good embryos can be frozen. The embryos are placed in a specialized solution to monitor their growth and development. Our scientist then decides whether they can be frozen or not. The freezing criterion is dependent on the potential of the embryo to survive post thaw as cryopreservation is an aggressive process to the embryo.

What are the success rates of frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles?

The success rates of FET cycle are nearly the same as fresh cycles. Maternal age at the time of embryo freezing remains a primary indicator of pregnancy chance. The potential for success remains the same no matter the amount of time between embryo freezing and thawing. When stored in liquid nitrogen the embryos are frozen in time and do not age.

Women of 37 years and younger can achieve a success rate of 50% per thaw cycle. This rate declines as the maternal age at the time of embryo freezing increases.

For how long can embryos remain frozen?

Embryos can be frozen for an indefinite period of time as cryopreservation does not have any effect on quality. Renewal of rental period with hospital can ensure storage for as long as the patient desires.

What is Embryo freezing?
  • Stimulation for ovaries for IVF involves production of a number of oocytes. All the eggs that are retrieved are fertilized with the goal of making number of viable embryos to allow better selection at the time of embryo transfer. After 2-3 good embryos have been selected, there may still be surplus good grade embryos that have the potential to survive freezing and are viable when thawed.
  • The most important advantage of freezing these embryos is the possibility of pregnancy with a frozen- embryo transfer without having to undergo the process of ovarian stimulation. Although not necessary to freeze, it is highly recommended as it is an additional chance of a pregnancy if fresh transfer had not worked.
  • Only those embryos that are of good grade will be frozen. Those that do not have a potential to survive freeze/thaw procedure are not frozen. However, patient choice and consent are vital for either discarding or freezing.
  • Freezing involves submerging of embryos in a cryoprotectant solution and placing them on special devices before storing at -1960 C in liquid nitrogen. Embryos can be stored at various stages of their development (Day 2,3 or 5). Patient identity is strictly maintained during the entire procedure.
  • Thawed embryos can be replaced in the uterus in either a natural cycle or in a cycle where hormonal therapy is given to increase the lining of the endometrium.
  • Embryo freezing is now being regularly performed. However, patients need to be aware that the survival rate of embryos is 50-70%. There are thousands of babies born worldwide by this procedure andno known abnormalities associated with freeze/thaw have been reported.
  • The success rate of a frozen embryo transfer is nearly same as that of a fresh transfer, depending on the maternal age at the time of freezing. As the frozen embryos are suspended in time and do not age, patients can expect the same success rate irrespective of the duration time between that of freezing and thawing.
  • A success rate of 50% is observed in women 37 years and younger. This rate declines as the maternal age at the time of freezing increases.
What is Oocyte (Egg) Freezing?

Oocyte freezing is a procedure which consists of freezing viable oocytes (eggs) prior to fertilization. These frozen oocytes can be thawed and fertilized with sperm at some date in future for the purpose of treatment.

It is usually considered for:

  • Women who are about to undergo treatment for certain cancers, which may affect the ovaries, preventing production of oocytes in the future.
  • In cases where insemination of oocytes with sperm after retrieval was cancelled due to inability of husband to produce semen sample. When donor sperm is not an option, oocytes may be frozen until the husband undergoes treatment and is able to provide viable sperms.

Ovarian stimulation and oocyte collection procedures are similar to standard IVF. The oocytes are then frozen within 24 hours of collection. At any later date, they can be thawed and injected with sperm as in ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) to achieve fertilization. The timing, preparation of uterine cavity and embryo transfer are as for frozen-embryo transfers.

Oocyte freezing is still considered to be in its experimental stage. In comparision with frozen embryo cycles, oocyte freeze/thaw cases are much lower in number due to the poor survival rate of oocytes. However, after the introduction of Vitrification, the technique has significantly improved.

What is Sperm Freezing?

Sperms can be frozen for a number of reasons:

  • To store donated sperm (sperm banking). Not done at our center.
  • Back up sperm samples are frozen for couples undergoing infertility treatment if the husband finds it difficult to ejaculate on demand. Such frozen samples are thawed and used for insemination on the day of oocyte retrieval.
  • Surplus surgically extracted sperms (TESA, PESA), can be frozen after they have been used for insemination.
  • Prior to cancer treatment that may compromise fertility.