Embryo Freezing and Storage
The new cell formed by the union of the egg cell from the woman and the sperm cell from the man is referred to as the embryo. Embryos that have been created through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) are typically implanted into the uterus of the woman, which results in pregnancy. On the other hand, there are some cases in which the embryo is not implanted into the uterus; rather, it is frozen and stored in specialized laboratory environments for the purpose of being used in another IVF attempt at a later time. Embryo freezing programs provide couples undergoing IVF or ICSI with a reliable new pregnancy chance. When frozen embryos are used, there is no need for egg development and egg collection. It allows for a less difficult and less expensive transfer to the patient. Embryos of appropriate quality that remain after embryo transfers are saved for future use.

How is Embryo Freezing Process Carried Out?

The embryo formed by the fusion of the egg and sperm cell in the laboratory can be frozen within 5 days. Generally, the freezing process is carried out on the 3rd day. Embryo freezing can be carried out in two ways. These are;

1. Embryos frozen by providing gradual cooling in the slow freezing method are stored in tanks containing liquid nitrogen at – 196 °C.

2. In the rapid freezing (vitrification) method, it is frozen with a sudden drop in temperature. The freezing process is not applied to every embryo obtained, those with good development are selected and frozen.

In Which Situations Is Embryo Freezing Performed?

1. The remaining quality embryos after the transfer process can be frozen and stored for retransfer instead of being destroyed.

2. All embryos can be frozen for later use in women who are at risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) when their ovaries are stimulated with drugs.

3. In cases where the endometrium tissue surrounding the uterus cannot develop sufficiently.

4. In cases where intrauterine surgery is required.

5. Embryos can be frozen prior to cancer treatments that require chemotherapy or radiotherapy.