These days, the issues of infertility arise more than often. Even though the medical industry has done a lot to deal with the problem, new methods and techniques continue to emerge regularly.
These days, the issues of infertility arise more than often. Even though the medical industry has done a lot to deal with the problem, new methods and techniques continue to emerge regularly. Embryo vitrification is one of the most recent discoveries in the world of reproductive medicine.
As you might have already guessed that is precisely the topic we are going to discuss in this article.
Vitrification – What is it?
Just before we proceed with embryo vitrification, it should be explained what vitrification in general stands for. It is a technology that is used to freeze cells so that they could be stored and used later. The reason why it has become so popular is that frozen embryos, eggs, and other cells do not get damaged either during the process or after they are defrosted, or devitrified.
So, the chances that those cells can be successfully used are the highest.
To tell the truth, embryo freezing has been already used for a while. However, in many cases, the end result wasn’t satisfactory since the embryo somehow got damaged no matter how slow their cooling was.
With the introduction of embryonic vitrification, things changed for better fast. What makes embryonic vitrification different from classic freezing? Unlike with classic freezing, an embryo is deeply frozen within the shortest period of time. The main reason for using the slow method was to avoid ice formation within the cells since it would simply destroy them. Embryonic vitrification freezes the embryo so fast that ice has not a single chance to form.
When Should You Vitrify?
The reasons are highly personal. However, the vitrification is usually used when the number of received embryos is high. Some of them get transferred for the woman to get pregnant, while the others are vitrified and stored for later, in case something goes wrong.
If you wonder when it is possible to vitrify an embryo, the method is applicable to all stages up to blastocyst formation.
Storage of Vitrified Embryos
The lower is the temperature, the better it is for vitrified embryos. It is still not specified for how long vitrified embryos can be stored but is it safe to say that until a woman reaches the end of her fertile life phase.
In Ukraine IVF clinics offering vitrification keep the embryos for a year, and then they ask the donors whether they should extend the storage. In some cases, a donor may agree to give vitrified embryos to couples who struggle with the same fertility issues. The donation for the sake of science is also negotiable.
As it has been mentioned, vitrified embryos are stored at a very low temperature of -196ºC. In order for the embryo to become active, it needs to be brought up to the temperature of 37º C. Usually, devitrification is carried out on the day when the transfer is going to take place. There are also cases when the embryos are devitrified a couple of days before the transfer so that the doctors could make sure that the embryos are viable.
Taking all the stated information into consideration, it is safe to say that vitrification is a step forward in reproductive medicine, which offers high chances of getting pregnant.
Revision 2.5.2020 – dead link removed