Many people would like to start a family of their own but are unable to as a result of various issues with infertility. Thankfully there are many different ways that these problems can be addressed. By visiting an infertility treatment center, patients will be able to learn about all of their options for starting the family that they have always wanted.
One topic that occasionally comes up during the consultation process is embryo cryopreservation. We'd like to take a few moments right now to go over some of the basics of embryo cryopreservation since it's a term with which many people are not familiar.
What is embryo cryopreservation?
Embryo cryopreservation refers to the freezing of successfully fertilized eggs. This is done at sub-zero temperatures in order to preserve the cells and tissues of the embryo. Generally it's part of the in vitro fertilization process (IVF) should the embryos not be transferred in the days following successful fertilization in the lab.
(Cryopreservation is also a common option for egg donors, sperm donors, and so on.)
Why consider embryo cryopreservation?
Embryo cryopreservation is an ideal option for patients who wish to preserve embryos to be used at a later time.
For example, some patients may elect to have only a single embryo or a small number of embryos transferred as part of the IVF process in order to prevent multiple pregnancies (i.e., twins, triplets). The embryos that are not transferred can be preserved should the initial embryo transfer not succeed.
Similarly, a young woman who may not be ready for children in the time being can have embryos preserved for later in her life should she decide to be a mother.
The Embryo Cryopreservation Process
Embryo cryopreservation can be performed in two different ways. Your fertility specialist will go over his or her preferred method during your consultation:
- Slow Programmable Freezing (SPF) - This refers to an older technique for freezing of the embryo at a controlled rate of freezing, which is thought to be better for the later thawing process.
- Vitrification (Flash-freezing) - This newer technique focuses on quick freezing of the cells, which prevents water molecules from crystallizing and potentially causing damage to cell structures.
Embryo Cryopreservation and Other Fertility Treatments
As we mentioned above, embryo cryopreservation is a common part of the IVF process in order to preserve healthy embryos should they be needed at a later time. It's also possible for embryo cryopreservation to be performed prior to a surrogate carrier being found. A surrogate carrier is a woman who carries an embryo to term if the biological mother is unable to do so on her own because of potential health risks or a history of miscarriages.
Other Factors to Consider Regarding Cryopreservation
As with all fertility treatments, decisions regarding embryo cryopreservation should not be taken lightly. It's important that patients understand all of the risks and benefits of embryo cryopreservation before committing to it. During the consultation process, we'll be sure to go over all factors surrounding this process so you can make an informed decision about your options.
Learn More About Assisted Reproduction Treatments
If you would like to learn more about your may different options for effective fertility treatment, be sure to contact our Lubbock, TX fertility center today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the best possible results.