There are several instances where it may become useful and important to cryopreserve, or freeze, sperm, eggs or embryos. Our care team, working together with our experienced laboratory team, can facilitate your journey through this process, helping you with your decision making as it applies to cryopreservation. We strive to provide state-of-the-art laboratory services in all areas of cryopreservation so that you will have the outcome that you desire.
Cryopreservation refers to the freezing and storage of a living organism at an ultra-low-temperature, so it may be restored to its living state at a later time. Recent studies reveal that cryopreservation of embryos or sperm has no detrimental effect on survival rates, or their ability to implant. At MCRH, we offer cryopreservation for both semen and embryos.
Though optimal fertilization results are obtained when a fresh sample is used, it is strongly encouraged to cryopreserve (freeze) an additional semen sample for "emergency IVF backup." This cryopreserved sample could be used if a fresh sample cannot be obtained, or it may be used to augment a fresh sample of poor quality semen.
Cryopreservation of sperm offers the opportunity for future fertility options for young men prior to beginning chemotherapy or radiation. For more information on cryopreserving sperm prior to starting oncology treatment, please see our Cryopreservation for Cancer Patients information.
At MCRH, every effort is made to encourage use of all embryos that may result from the IVF process. Typically, patients transfer one to two fresh embryos and cryopreserve the remainder. We strongly encourage freezing embryos which are not chosen for transfer with a fresh IVF cycle. These embryos are stored in the frozen state until patients elect to thaw the embryos for a subsequent embryo transfer. There are many options to using the remaining embryos, either adding to a patient’s family when successful or when faced with lack of success. It is also possible to donate cryopreserved embryos to other patients, in cases when the donating patients do not wish to extend their family further.
For storage information, please visit the Reprotech website.
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman's eggs are surgically extracted after a stimulation cycle(s) from a woman’s ovaries. If the eggs are mature they are frozen and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential in women. When a woman is ready to begin building a family, those eggs are thawed, fertilized and cultured in the IVF laboratory in preparation for transfer similar to a traditional IVF cycle.
It is not uncommon for patients in the reproductive age range to suffer from cancer. Many cancer treatments include radiation or chemotherapy, to optimize the chance of recovery. Unfortunately, these treatments often result in difficulties with conception. Education and understanding of reproductive challenges associated with cancer treatment is very important, including options for preservation of fertility. The team at MCRH can facilitate sperm cryopreservation, for men, as well as informative discussions regarding options for women.
We encourage you to make an appointment to review all options which may be available to you.