Why Are Leftover Embryos Frozen After IVF Treatment?

It is very common to grow several embryos in the in vitrolab after a fresh In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle has been completed. Due to advancements in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) the IVF procedure has had great pregnancy success rates transferring only one or two high quality embryos. The fertility specialists at IVF1 have the capability to freeze leftover embryos and store them for many years. Today’s couples planning their future family have many reasons to freeze embryos.

Frozen Embryos

After undergoing a fresh embryo transfer via IVF, additional leftover embryos developed in vitro can be cryopreserved for future transfers. The Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) procedure can be utilized at a decided time in the future.

Having extra embryos is common in IVF. A fresh egg retrieval IVF cycle is expensive and very hard on a woman’s body. A FET cycle is much easier and less expensive than undergoing a second or third fresh IVF cycle. There is really no downside to freezing embryos when a couple is trying to build their family by undergoing IVF.

  • If the fresh transfer results in a successful pregnancy, the leftover frozen embryos can be used to conceive siblings in the future
  • Should the fresh transfer fail to achieve a pregnancy, the leftover frozen embryos can be used for multiple attempts in the future
  • Leftover frozen embryos can be safely transported to any destination in the world for transfer into the woman’s uterus
  • Leftover embryos can be donated to infertile couples – embryo donation

The Rapid FET Process – Vitrification

Embryos can be frozen during different stages of their development in vitro:

  • Pronuclear stage freezing – immediately after fertilization
  • Cleavage stage freezing – 2 to 3 days after fertilization
  • Blastocyst stage freezing – 5 to 6 days after fertilization

Cryoprotectant is a solution used to protect biological tissues from damage during the freezing process. Embryos are susceptible to being damaged by ice crystals forming between cells if cryprotectant is not used in the process. If damage, the embryo may not survive the thawing process.

The embryo is soaked in cryoprotectant at room temperature before being plunged into liquid nitrogen. A recent innovation in the FET process known as vitrification or the rapid freeze method is used at IVF1.

To prepare an embryo for rapid freezing, a high concentration of cryoprotectant is used and the temperature of the embryos are dropped rapidly and significantly. An extreme rapid rate of thawing is also used to prevent ice crystal formation and potential damage during the FET process.

Preeminent Leftover Frozen Embryo Treatment Provider

In 2006, a study compared the pregnancy rates obtained when embryos were frozen for different lengths of time. The finding showed that there was no difference in the chance for pregnancy success, even when the embryos were frozen for over 10 years.

At IVF1, Dr. Randy S. Morris has experienced comparable pregnancy success rates using fresh and frozen embryos.

Click the icon below and download a recently published eBook by Dr. Randy Morris – Guide to Fertility Treatment – for more information about your fertility treatment options.

To schedule a consultation, please call 630.357.6540. Long distance patients can consult with Dr. Morris through a secured Infertility Video Consultation.

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