Embryo freezing, also known as cryopreservation, is a process in which embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are preserved at very low temperatures for future use. The goal of this process is to preserve the viability and potential of the embryos for future pregnancy. The embryos are typically frozen at the blastocyst stage, which is several days after fertilization, and stored in liquid nitrogen until they are needed for transfer to a woman’s uterus. Embryo freezing is often used as a fertility preservation option for individuals or couples facing infertility issues, or for those who wish to delay starting a family for personal or medical reasons.
A frozen embryo, also known as a cryopreserved embryo, is an embryo that has been created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and then frozen at a very low temperature (typically around -196°C) using specialized equipment and storage containers. Cryopreservation of embryos allows them to be stored for extended periods of time and thawed later for use in future IVF cycles.
Frozen embryos can be used for various reasons, including:
- To preserve embryos for future use in case the current IVF cycle is not successful or if the individual/couple wants to have additional children in the future.
- To allow time for the woman’s body to recover from hormonal stimulation before attempting embryo transfer.
- To reduce the number of embryos transferred in a single IVF cycle to minimize the risk of multiple pregnancies.
Frozen embryos have been shown to have similar success rates in IVF as fresh embryos, and may offer some advantages such as allowing for better timing of embryo transfer or reducing the need for repeated ovarian stimulation.