Freezing your gamete cells (egg/ sperm) and embryos is very common now. Vitrification is one of the new options in freezing techniques (cryopreservation) to provide us with more success rates. The technique allows us to freeze/thaw gamete cells and embryos with very high survival rates. There are no increased risks of genetic problems in children born from frozen embryos or gametes according to scientific publications. These children appear to be as normal as children who are conceived naturally.
Patients who choose to freeze their gametes are those who would like to have their sperm/eggs available for use later in situations where they are concerned that they may no longer be able to produce healthy gametes. This can be when they are suffering from cancer and/or cancer treatment or even undergoing surgery that may affect their reproductive status. For patients that travel a lot and would not be available to provide a gamete sample when required during a treatment cycle, may wish to freeze their eggs or sperm so that it is available when needed. Especially for those patients who chose to focus on their career first, they can use this method in order to realize their plans of having a family later on.
Embryos can also be frozen. These embryos have been created during an IVF cycle. It is very common to freeze excess embryos after an IVF cycle at Cyprus HOPE IVF Consultation for use in a later transfer. The vitrification freezing process has no harmful effects on the embryos as our Embryologists use the fast-freezing vitrification technique to avoid the risk of crystallization that can occur with standard cryopreservation methods.
Fertility Preservation (Egg Freezing)
Egg freezing first began in 1986. The method used in those days did not lead to good survival of the eggs when thawed. We can now successfully freeze and thaw eggs with the process of vitrification. Egg freezing is no longer considered experimental. Many patients may consider freezing their eggs.
Patients with cancer may be offered the option of freezing their eggs if their treatment may compromise the future fertility potential of their ovaries and eggs. Patients who are at a stage in their life where creating a pregnancy is not desirable may wish to freeze theirs eggs for use to create a pregnancy at a later time. Once frozen, eggs do not “age” and therefore maintain their potential to create a pregnancy that is equivalent to the potential that is related to the age of the patient at the time of freezing. Some patients may wish to freeze their eggs with the goal of donating them to another patient (most commonly a family member or a friend) again at a later date.
Cyprus HOPE IVF Consultation offers the opportunity to freeze eggs. Successful live birth with the use of the frozen eggs is dependent on the age of the eggs used for freezing; the older the patient the less likely the chance of a live birth when the eggs are thawed and embryos created. The younger the age of the patient who is freezing their eggs, the greater the chance of success of gaining a pregnancy with those eggs. Studies suggest that freezing eggs from women up to the age of 42 gives a viable chance for a pregnancy resulting from these eggs in the future but the younger the woman who has frozen the eggs, the better. The older the patient, the more eggs are recommended to be frozen due to the risk of increased genetic abnormality with age. However, with older patients there may be more difficulty producing enough eggs for freezing, and for these patients egg pooling (several egg collections) can be the best solution. It is suggested that the best outcomes are achieved when 10 or more eggs are frozen. For patients who are freezing eggs because of cancer treatment, the approach is to freeze as many or as few as are obtained through the stimulation process. The opportunity to repeat the process may be limited due to imminent cancer treatment that cannot be delayed.
When a patient returns to use their eggs that have been frozen, they will be assessed and then provided with medications to prepare the body to receive a potential pregnancy. The eggs are then thawed, fertilized with sperm and the resulting embryo(s) are placed in the uterus to see if they will implant. Embryos that are created during this process but not placed in the uterus, can be frozen again without harm and thawed for use at a later time. If you want to preserve your fertility for a later time our Team can help you here at Cyprus HOPE IVF.