Embryo Freezing

How the Embryo Freezing procedure is performed?

The first baby of the frozen embryo was born in 1984. Thanks to the eggs collected from the expectant mother with the embryo freezing method, there is a chance to apply for IVF treatment again. If the embryos are of good quality and are collected when the mother’s age is appropriate, the chance of giving birth to healthy babies in the future increases. For this reason, one of the most curious subjects of couples is the question of “How is embryo freezing performed?”.

What are the advantages of embryo freezing?

Since the number of embryos transferred in IVF treatment is limited, the remaining qualified embryos are evaluated later. When the result is negative, there may be a chance to transfer an embryo again without new drug treatment and egg collection. In this way, the expectant mother gets less tired, the financial pressure on the couple decreases, and the chance of pregnancy increases. If the pregnancy results in a live birth, the frozen embryo can be used for the second child again in the following years without the need for drug treatment.

Especially in the case of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), hormones increase, and this increase can reduce the possibility of the embryo attaching to the mother’s womb when patients’ ovaries work too hard and produce more eggs than necessary. Or, excessive egg production may continue, leading to OHSS. In such cases, all embryos of our patients are frozen, and the general condition of the patient is delayed until they are ready for embryo transfer.

Endometrial thickness insufficiency may occur, an endometrial polyp may be detected, or vaginal bleeding may occur in the expectant mother during the IVF treatment process. In such cases, the embryos are frozen, and the transfer will be performed later.

Embryo freezing before cancer treatment or radiotherapy is important in terms of preserving the patient’s chance of becoming a mother after treatment.

How are the embryos frozen?

Embryos can be frozen at any stage because of the developing technological methods. After undergoing various treatments in a protective solution, the embryos are placed in special carrier apparatus. After this stage, embryos are frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196 ℃ and they are safely stored in the compartments specially allocated for each patient. When frozen embryo cells are to be thawed, they should be removed from liquid nitrogen. These cells are then thawed at appropriate temperatures and solutions. Then, the embryos are taken into a special culture medium and placed in special devices called incubators that imitate the mother’s uterus. If the embryo is in good condition, the transfer can be performed.

How long can human embryos stay frozen?

This period is different for each country. The storage period of frozen embryos in Turkey is 5 years, and those who want to extend the period must obtain permission from the necessary authorities.

What are the viability and pregnancy rates of frozen embryos after thawing?

If frozen embryos are thawed, the chances of maintaining their viability are quite high. The survival rate of embryos is up to 95%. In other words, 9 out of 10 embryos frozen have a chance of pregnancy. However, the reason for the low freeze-thaw rates in different centers is associated with the egg and sperm quality. In addition, insufficient laboratory conditions in the growth medium of embryos also affect this failure. If the embryos continue to develop well when thawed, pregnancy rates may be the same as fresh embryo transfer, or even higher in some cases.

How are the thawed embryos transferred?

To prepare the expectant mother for embryo transfer, it is necessary to first prepare the endometrium (uterus wall) and ensure that it reaches sufficient thickness. For this, it is preferred to prepare it with a natural cycle or a mild treatment with drugs containing oestrogen hormone.

Are babies born from frozen embryos healthy??

No risk was found in terms of any anomaly, mental retardation, or other problem in babies born from embryos that were frozen and then thawed. For this reason, no more risk is expected than the anomaly risks that may occur in pregnancies that occur through natural intercourse.

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