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VITRIFICATION (sperm ,ovum and embryo freezing)

  • This process cools the sperm and embryos very slowly to sub zero temperatures.
  • Cyropreservation is used to store semen and embryos for an indefinite period.
  • It is typically effective if men face a possibility of sterilization due to vasectomy, prostate or testicular surgery, radiation or chemotherapy etc.
  • At times semen is also frozen prior to IVF as back up, incase of difficulty in semen collection on the day of oocyte retrieval.
  • Vitrification is one of the latest advancements in fertility treatment.
  • The process refers to the freezing of eggs (also embryos) to store them for an indefinite period. Unlike sperms, unfertilized ova cannot be stored using the slow freezing technique.
  • Rather, vitrification works by using higher concentrations of cryoprotectants that ensure much faster cooling rates, and without the formation of ice crystals.
  • It is useful for women who face the possibility of sterilization in future.

Sperm freezing and storage

Sperm freezing and storage is the procedure whereby sperm cells are frozen to preserve them for future use. Sperm cells have been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years. By using special technology and then keeping sperm in liquid nitrogen at minus 196C, it can be stored for many years while maintaining a reasonable quality

Who may benefit from sperm freezing?

  • Men who work in high risk occupations, for example:
  • Men in the military have frozen sperm and completed posthumous use consent forms before
  • Deployment In case of their serious injury, or even death when on active service
  • Where there is a family history of premature andropause, especially in the man’s father, uncles or paternal grandfather
  • Men who are away from home for extended periods of time and whose wives or partners may require fertility treatment during their absence
  • Any man whose sperm counts are declining and there is concern that he could become a zoospermic

For whom is sperm freezing not suitable?

  • MFS is unable to register patients under the age of 18 years
  • Any man who is known to be azoospermic
  • Any man who has screened positive for a sexually transmitted diease

What is included in the sperm freezing treatment cost?

  • Routine infection screening
  • The laboratory analysis of the sperm sample(s)
  • Storage of the sperm sample for the first year

Embryo Freezing

In a typical IVF or ICSI treatment cycle, the woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce many eggs. Following fertilisation and embryo culture, the best embryos are selected for embryo transfer. For about 50% of couples, there will also be good embryos which are surplus to those required for embryo transfer. These embryos can be frozen at this point for future use.
Embryo freezing (cryopreservation) is a method of preserving the viability of embryos be carefully cooling them to very low temperatures (-196&degC). This is carried out in the laboratory using specialised freezing equipment and the embryos can then be safely stored in liquid nitrogen for extended periods.

Why do we freeze embryos?

Embryo freezing gives you more opportunities for a pregnancy for each hormone stimulation cycle and egg collection. If you do not become pregnant in that first cycle, we can transfer another embryo during a frozen embryo transfer cycle.

How does embryo freezing work?

Embryos can be frozen from Day 2 (four cell stage) to Day 5 (Blastocyst). They are placed in thin plastic straws, sealed at both ends, and labelled with your name and identification number.
They then go into a freezing machine, where the temperature rapidly drops to -150° Celsius. The straws are then placed in goblets, and put into tanks filled with liquid nitrogen, which keeps the temperature at -196° Celsius.

Success rates with frozen embryos

At Bliss IVF, many of our births, over many years, have come from the transfer of frozen and thawed embryos. On average the success rate is about 30%, but this mainly depends on the age of the woman’s eggs when the embryos are frozen.
So, if you were to freeze your embryos in your first IVF cycle at the age of 38, and then use them when you’re 42, your fertility chance will be relative to that of a 38-year-old woman rather than a 42-year-old.

What are the benefits of embryo freezing?

The main benefit of embryo freezing is the option to have frozen embryos thawed and transferred to the woman’s uterus in the future without having to undergo stimulation of the ovaries or egg retrieval. It is also possible that there may be enough frozen embryos for more than one subsequent cycle.

Oocyte cryopreservation

Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored. Later, when she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.


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