What is Cryopreservation? 

Cryopreservation is freezing an egg, sperm, or embryo, effectively postponing pregnancy. The innovative assisted reproduction technology and a team of highly experienced professionals at Apollo Fertility help in successful cryopreservation for prolonging fertility.

ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) plays an important role that helps with fertility preservation for a longer duration by protecting sperm, eggs, embryos, and ovarian tissues.

Fertility preservation is an excellent assisted reproduction technique for anyone who is not ready to start a family but wants to later in life. As fertility declines with age, freezing eggs, sperm, or embryo help couple become parents even beyond the ripe fertility age. 

Why maybe Cryopreservation necessary? 

Cryopreservation of eggs, sperm, or embryos might be necessary for the following reasons:

  • Prolonging fertility 
  • For people in their 20s and early 30s planning pregnancy later
  • Before treating severe illnesses like cancer
  • For people who work in a high-risk environment like military 
  • For females with a history of early menopause   

It is ideal for people in their 20s and early 30s who want to become parents later in life. With declining fertility in the mid-30s, it is best to cryopreserve egg, sperm, or embryo if you wish to postpone parenthood until the late 30s or early 40s.

It is recommended for women who are at risk of premature ovarian failure. Women with a family history of early menopause might suffer from loss of ovarian reserve by their late 30s.

Medical condition – It is best to freeze the egg, sperm, or embryo before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation as it helps protect fertility. Cancer treatment is known to damage fertility; hence, it is best to preserve it to prolong fertility.

High-risk work– If an individual serves in the military or is deployed in a war zone, cryopreservation helps protect fertility, which might be impacted due to injury. For men, it is best to preserve sperm if one plans to opt for vasectomy.

What are the risk factors for Cryopreservation? 

Here are some of the risk factors for cryopreservation:

  • Cryopreservation of sperm samples might reduce the mobility of the sperm. 
  • There is a possibility that all the cells that are frozen might not survive the freezing process.

What happens throughout the Cryopreservation procedure?

Cryopreservation is the deep freezing of sperm, egg, testicular or ovarian tissues, and embryo in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C. The freezing is done by mixing the egg or sperm or the tissues with a cryoprotective agent that reduces the chance of the formation of ice crystals. The cryopreservation process makes procedures like in-vitro fertilisation, insemination, or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) possible later.

Here are different forms of cryopreservation performed as a part of assisted reproduction procedure:

Cryopreservation of eggs

This is the procedure for preserving eggs through medication-assisted induction during ovulation to ensure the eggs mature to a specific size. The doctor thoroughly assesses the ovarian reserve before ovulation induction. The onset of the cycle involves ovulation induction medication to stimulate the maturation of eggs. The doctors constantly monitor the size of the eggs through ultrasound and even determine hormone levels. Once the egg achieves the ideal size, the eggs are retrieved, and the embryologist freezes the eggs in the lab.

Cryopreservation of sperm

The procedure involves freezing the semen sample in the lab for future use. The patient must abstain from ejaculation two to five days before the collection of the semen sample to ensure a healthy sperm count. The semen sample collected from the patient is stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C. The sperm can later be retrieved for fertilisation with an egg.

Cryopreservation of embryos

It is the procedure involving freezing of the embryo that can be retrieved for use later. The eggs are retrieved from the woman and fertilised with the sperm to form an embryo in-vitro. The fertilised embryo is frozen in liquid nitrogen. The cryopreservation of the embryo is common during the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure. Cryopreserved embryo increases the chances of conceiving and can be transferred during cycles requiring minimal or no medication.

After Cryopreservation, what happens? 

After the cryopreservation process, the frozen egg, sperm, or embryo can be retrieved later for pregnancy. The frozen egg or sperm are thawed and fertilised to form an embryo in a lab and implanted in the woman's uterus. In the case of the frozen embryo, as it is already fertilised, it is thawed and implanted to help a couple plan their pregnancy. 

You can request an appointment easily at Apollo Fertility, Kondapur, for a consultation by calling 1860 500 4424.

1. How long does the embryo cryopreservation procedure take?

The whole process for embryo cryopreservation takes place around two to three weeks. This involves follicular stimulation, retrieval of the egg and sperm followed by IVF for formation of embryo.

2. Where are the eggs, sperm or embryo cryopreserved?

All the eggs, sperm or embryo are preserved in well-designed cryopreservation tanks that consist of liquid nitrogen.

3. Who performs the process of freezing and thawing embryos?

A highly skilled and professional embryologists perform the process of freezing and thawing the embryo.

4. I am in my early 30s. Am I an ideal candidate to preserve my eggs?

Yes, absolutely someone in their early 30s is an early candidate. This procedure helps in delaying fertility and the eggs can be retrieved later for fertilization.

5. How long is the viability of the cryopreserved eggs, sperm and embryo?

The viability is long enough and it stays viable for over 15 years, provided the procedure is properly done.

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