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Cryopreservation or freezing of gametes (sperm cells and oocytes), embryos and ovarian tissue has become a significant part of assisted reproductive technology, because of the role it plays in enhancing success rate of IVF/ICSI programs.

Cryopreservation is achieved by first displacing the water content of gametes / embryos and replacing it with cryoprotectant that prevents ice crystal formation within the cell, thus making it possible for them to go through the freezing process. Cryopreservation has evolved significantly from the slow freezing method to the more advanced vitrification method, which gives better thawing rate and high pregnancy and live birth rates.

At JAFC, we use vitrification method for cryopreservation of embryos and oocytes because it offers better recovery rate and high pregnancy and live birth rates.

Sperm Freezing: Sperm freezing is done principally when the availability of the partner for subsequent treatment program is not guaranteed. Also, sperm freezing is done for donor sperm, before it is used to ensure infectious disease like HIV is excluded.

Oocyte Cryopreservation:

In the past oocyte cryopreservation proves to be difficult because of its poor post freeze recovery rate but the program has gradually gained ground with the introduction of vitrification, which offer great recovery rate after vitrification.

Oocyte cryopreservation can be indicated in females that have to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy as part of treatment for cancer. Oocyte cryopreservation can also be indicated in women who intend to start reproduction late for whatever reason. Oocyte vitrification is giving us great results.

Embryo Cryopreservation

The current understanding based on studies is that frozen embryo transfer gives better success rate than stimulated cycles with fresh embryo transfers, because several studies have reported significantly higher success rate with frozen embryo transfer, the ‘freeze all program’ is now being advocated. At JAFC, embryo vitrification is done regularly particularly when there are excess good quality embryos, in patients who developed ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or at great risk of developing it. It is also indicated in stimulated cycles where high doses of gonadotropin were used.

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