Cryopreservation of Embryos - All the Information You Need
Cryopreservation of embryos is an embryo preservation technique used as a form of assisted reproductive technology to assist infertile couples to become parents. Cryopreservation of embryos means freezing the embryo at extremely low temperatures, which prevents it from developing into further stages of embryonic development. Often times, other assisted reproductive technology methods, such as IVF or ICSI, produce more than one embryos that are not required at that time. Couples can choose to freeze, known as cryopreserving in medical terms, the embryos – sometimes for years – that can later be revived from their frozen state, implanted in the uterus and attain pregnancy. The long term embryo storage facilitates conception of a secondary ART procedure, should the initial one go unsuccessful for any reason.
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Is Cryopreservation of Embryos Worth It?
Individual couples who aspire to become parents have individual needs. While managing the finances may not be difficult for some, it can definitely be a hindrance for many others. Embryo freezing cost can range vastly based on various things such as time duration for which the embryo will be preserved, the number of embryos preserved and, other consultation charges. Nevertheless, the joy that a child brings is priceless and definitely outweighs any embryo freezing cost or other ART costs that you might incur in the process.
How Does the Cryopreservation Procedure Take Place?
In the cryopreservation technique, expert embryologists begin with adding a liquid known as cryoprotective agent (CPA) to the embryo which prevents formation of ice crystals inside the cells that can potentially damage the embryo. The next step in the process of cryopreservation involves adding the embryo into tanks containing liquid nitrogen which freezes the embryo at -196.1 degree celsius. However, some experts may opt for an alternative in which the cryoprotective agent is added in smaller doses to the embryo, which, in turn, is then slowly cooled down for about two hours before finally being added to the liquid nitrogen tank.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Cryopreservation
There are a great number of advantages that cryopreservation offers to couples that might be facing challenges in getting pregnant. Some of these advantages are:
- Successful pregnancy even with advancing age.
- Successful pregnancy despite life-altering treatments like chemotherapy.
While the advantages do sound to good to be true, there are definitely a few disadvantages to having your embryo cryopreserved. These may include:
- Damage to the embryos.
- Multiple births.
- Embryo rendered unviable for implantation.
- Unsuccessful pregnancy.