Women, nowadays, are delaying pregnancy & child birth due to multiple reasons mainly professional ambitions & late marriages or health issues. Egg freezing allows them to store their younger oocytes which can be used in the future when they are ready to have a child. Do you know that couples can also freeze fertilized eggs or embryos? Embryos from some patients undergoing in vitro fertilization are not transferred throughout the IVF round.
What is Embryo freezing or Cryopreservation?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process, in which eggs from a woman’s ovary are retrieved and mated with sperms to create embryos in a lab. These embryos can be frozen for couples who have extra embryos before an IVF procedure or wish to get pregnant at a later stage in life. The fertilized eggs, or embryos, can be placed in the uterus of either the patient or a third party (as a surrogate) after being thawed.
Type of Embryo Freezing Process
There are two different processes involved in the Cryopreservation technique. We are detailing each one by one.
1. Slow Freezing
The growth of ice crystals is a risk in freezing embryos. A substance known as a cryoprotectant is used to shield biological tissues against adverse effects of freezing. The delayed Embryo Freezing Process depends on low initial cryoprotectant concentrations. When the embryo is still experiencing the typical processes of live cells and is still at a reasonably warm temperature, a modest dose of cryoprotectant is injected. The majority of the embryo’s water will be replaced by the cryoprotectant, which will infiltrate and fill the embryo.
The embryo is then placed in a chilling chamber after being placed inside a tiny plastic container. The temperature is then gradually decreased to about -6°C by infusing very small volumes of liquid nitrogen into the cooling chamber. The cooling process is controlled by a computer. Up to 32 degrees Celsius lower is the current temperature. The embryo’s metabolism has slowed considerably by this point. The embryo vessel is subsequently submerged in liquid nitrogen, further lowering the temperature and completing the freezing of the embryo.
The Latin word for glass, ‘vitrum’, is the source of the English word “vitrification.” Vitrification is a process in which embryos are frozen so quickly that the water molecules don’t have enough time to form ice crystals; instead, these solidify instantly into a glass-like structure. Compared to earlier “slow freezing” techniques, this procedure is far more difficult yet has produced excellent results.
Why Women Plan to Delay Pregnancy or Why Must Working Women Consider Embryo Freezing?
Women choose to delay pregnancy and freeze embryos usually under three different conditions:
- Women with significant health issues:- Say for instance hernia surgery, chemotherapy, or cancer treatment, or are on some other medications which may interfere with their menstrual cycle, then they choose to delay the pregnancy. In this case, they can go for Embryo Cryopreservation of healthy embryos to have a safe pregnancy and healthy childbirth later.
- When women plan a career and are unable to think of taking a break for pregnancy, delivery, and dedicated child care, in that case also, to challenge the body clock they can go for Embryo Cryopreservation and later use them to get pregnant.
- Embryo Cryopreservation of extra healthy embryos can help women undergoing IVF plan a second child or donate the embryo to another childless couple.
Embryo Freezing Protocols
Embryos are often frozen the day after being fertilized with partner sperm, or donor sperm, or after they are around six days old and have developed into blastocysts.
Success Rate of Thawing Frozen Embryos
Embryo Freezing Success Rate and later thawing them depends on how they were frozen. In VITRIFIED embryos, the survival rate is typically about 95%. This is significantly higher than the slow freeze alternative freezing technique with 86% survival rate.
How long can embryos stay frozen?
At hospital facilities, generally an IVF lab, or at IVF facilities, frozen embryos are preserved and monitored. They can be kept for up to ten years without risk.
What are the advantages of Embryo Freezing?
Timelines shift, thus it’s critical to realize that cryopreservation can be advantageous for couples who are:
1. Postponing Parenthood
Majority of women who opt for embryo cryopreservation ate those who wish to become mothers in their late 30s or early 40s. After 30, women’s eggs start to deteriorate in terms of quality and quantity, making it harder to become pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Women who desire to postpone motherhood for personal reasons should save higher-quality eggs while they are in their 20s.
2. Genetic Preimplantation Screening
Before embryos are frozen, women who are concerned about transmitting specific genetic disorders to their offspring can have the embryos genetically tested. Then, embryos that are healthy genetically may be selected and utilized for uterine implantation.
3. Female Patients Needing Chemotherapy or Radiation
Male and female fertility will suffer as a result of cancer therapies. The DNA of egg and sperm cells is targeted by radiation and anti-cancer medications, greatly reducing the viability of these cells. Embryo Cryopreservation allows women (who desire to become pregnant but are told they require aggressive cancer treatment) to preserve eggs that can be utilized once their cancer treatments are finished.
4. Unused Frozen Embryos Offer Several Possibilities for Pregnancy
This is again among the top advantages of Embryo Freezing. Any more frozen embryos can be transplanted to boost the likelihood of pregnancy if the first transferred frozen embryo does not result in a pregnancy. A benefit exclusively offered by cryopreservation is the availability of many frozen embryos for usage over a prolonged period of time. You can also donate the extra ones to childless couples!
What is the Embryo Freezing Cost in India?
Embryo freezing cost in India ranges between 150000 and 170000 Indian Rupees (INR). This price includes the fees for the IVF protocol, which includes the costs of the medications and injections used to stimulate the ovaries as well as the fees associated with the egg harvesting and subsequent freezing procedures.
Men and women who want to plan a family later in life should consider embryo cryopreservation. If you want to learn more, call us or make an appointment here.