Whether you are a woman that wants to focus on her education or career and think about getting pregnant later, or you are undergoing a treatment that can affect your fertility, Cryopreservation could be an excellent option for you. It is use to freeze eggs, sperm, and embryos. It can help you with the issues mentioned above and more.
In this article, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai from Bloom IVF Centre at Gurgaon sheds some light on Cryopreservation.
What is Cryopreservation?
Cryopreservation is a technique used to preserve the living cells and tissue at extremely low temperatures. Tissues can be preserved for a very long time in this technique. The science dealing with cryopreservation is known as cryobiology.
It is the process of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at very low temperatures to maintain their viability. The temperature at which these cells are preserved is -196°C/-321°F in liquid nitrogen. The preservation is in a frozen state.
The cryopreservation process helps freeze and thaw eggs, sperm, and embryos used in IVF or ICSI cycles. It entirely freezes all cellular activities. We can also employ these sperms in IUI fertility treatments.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai is a gynecologist at Bloom IVF Centre in Gurgaon. He has 35+ years of experience and has treated hundreds of patients successfully.
Who needs it?
According to Dr. Pai, the following are the reasons for which you can consider cryopreservation:
- If you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease like cancer, you should think about freezing your eggs if you are a female or sperm if you are a male. The reason is that cancer and cancer treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery can damage your ovaries or testicles.
- Suppose you are a woman who does not want to have children right now but is planning on doing so in the future. The reason could be anything like your education, career, etc. You can opt for egg freezing or embryo freezing.
- If you are older and plan to have children in the future, you can freeze your sperm to ensure your chances of having children.
- If you need or decide to get a vasectomy or any other surgery that may affect your fertility.
Types and Procedure
Egg freezing is a process that involves retrieving eggs from the ovaries and storing them unfertilized for future use. These eggs can later be fertilize using IVF, says Dr. Pai. Egg freezing is also called oocyte cryopreservation.
- Your doctor will give you medicine to encourage your ovaries to produce several eggs rather than a single egg.
- Doctors will perform blood tests to determine your reaction to the ovarian stimulation drugs.
- You’ll also need an ultrasound to view your ovaries and watch the development of the follicles where the eggs mature.
- After 10-14 days, when the eggs are ready to be retrieve, an injection or medicine is administer to help mature the eggs.
- Egg retrieval is accomplish with the help of anesthesia in a clinic or hospital. Commonly, an ultrasound probe is insert into your vagina to identify the follicles.
- A needle is send through your vagina into the follicle. A suctioning device connect to the needle removes the egg from the follicle, and multiple eggs are remove to have better chances of birth.
Sperm Cryopreservation or Sperm freezing
Sperm cryopreservation, or sperm freezing, is a simple and proven technique for storing sperm for future use. Sperm can survive indefinitely by freezing.
- The male provides the semen samples.
- These samples are analyze for sperm count, shape and movement.
- The samples are then separate into multiple vials and frozen by a lab technician to protect the sperm.
Embryo freezing is a process for conserving a couple’s fertility for later use.
- A process call vitrification is use to freeze the embryos.
- In vitrification, a cryoprotective agent (C.P.A.) is add to the embryos. C.P.A. is a liquid protecting cells from ice crystals.
- Then these embryos are place immediately into tanks of liquid nitrogen at -3210F or -1960C.
According to Dr. Pai, the following are the advantages of cryopreservation:
● You can preserve your eggs without fearing the risks of congenital deformities that may increase with your age.
● And you can store the eggs for IVF cycles.
● You can preserve your fertility for future uses.
● And You can take your time with your decision to become a parent.
● Embryo cryopreservation can give you a chance at pregnancy after you have failed your IVF cycle, eliminating the stress, time, and money of repeating the IVF treatment.
● If you are a woman, you can focus on your career, education, etc., and choose to get pregnant later.
Cryopreservation can almost eliminate your fear of becoming a parent later in your life. The egg, sperm, or embryo is freeze so that you can use it at any time. It can also help you with infertility issues.