Cryo-Preserving Embryos and Sperm

EMBRYO Cryopreservation

What is embryo freezing?

Embryo freezing is a method of preserving embryos for future transfer. Embryos are cooled and then stored at an extremely low temperature. Embryos can later be thawed and transferred to the uterus.

What is the purpose of embryo freezing?

Embryo freezing can increase the options available to IVF couples. The ideal number of embryos to transfer during an IVF cycle is usually two or three. Some couples have more than this number. Embryo freezing provides a method of storing the extra embryos so they can be used at another time.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

If successful in producing a pregnancy, this may save the woman from having to go through ovulation stimulation, egg retrieval and the costs associated with an IVF cycle. If spare embryos are considered to be of good quality, they will not have to be discarded. They can be saved and used during a natural or medicated cycle at a later date. We usually recommend the addition of medication during such a cycle.

What are the drawbacks of embryo freezing?

The main disadvantage of embryo freezing is that the success of establishing a pregnancy using frozen/thawed embryos is slightly lower. This is likely due to the fact that the best embryos are transferred during the original IVF cycle. There is also the possibility that the embryos may not survive the freeze-thaw procedure. Some embryos that do survive may be damaged and not suitable for transfer.

Is there any increased chance of birth defects with this procedure?

Embryo freezing is a fairly new procedure (since 1983) and the long-term effects on the embryo and any subsequent offspring is still unknown. However, to date there have been several thousand births reported as a result of this procedure and there appears to be no increase in birth defects or genetic abnormalities.

How long can frozen embryos be stored?

If stored properly, embryos can be stored indefinitely.


SEMEN Cryopreservation

When do men opt for Semen Cryopreservation?

There are many situations that may interfere with a man’s future fertility. Some are planned, some are accidental and others are due to complications of illnesses (ie. cancer) or their treatment. Regardless of their current situation, many men decide to freeze extra sperm as a safeguard against unforeseen future circumstances.

How do I arrange to freeze sperm?

Contact your family doctor or specialist to request a sperm-banking appointment with ONE Fertility. Be prepared to sign a request for service form and to undergo some tests for the freezing and storage of sperm. It is best to abstain from intercourse and ejaculation for two days before the first sample and for about one to two days between semen samples.

How long can the sperm stay frozen?

Indefintely.

What happens if I want to thaw and use the samples?

Patients should discuss their options with a reproductive specialist. If the sperm samples are of good quality, they can be used for intrauterine inseminations at the time of ovulation. However, if the sperm is of poor quality then IVF and ICSI may be indicated. The chance of pregancy is related to sperm quality. This will be discussed with one of our physicians when you sign your consent forms. Many men who freeze sperm have been ill and their sperm counts may be already reduced. They may only be suitable for use in the more complex therapies, such as IVF and ICSI.

Could there be a problem with the quality of sperm?

Yes, there may be a problem with the number and quality of the sperm, especially in men who are about to undergo cancer treatment. Their underlying illness may have caused a drop in the sperm count or in the motility (movement) of the sperm. Time permitting, it may be advisable to freeze even more specimens in such situations.