Frozen Embryos for Future Fertility
Embryo cryopreservation is a technique we recommend for fertility preservation to address the different needs of patients, including those below.
- When more viable embryos are produced than are used in a single IVF treatment cycle, transfer of a single embryo is generally recommended
- To provide another chance for pregnancy if the first IVF attempt fails, keeping the couple or individual from having to go through egg retrieval and embryo development again
- Preserving embryos before a woman’s upcoming cancer or other medical treatment that may damage fertility
- To donate extra embryos to others in need
With current technology, embryos generally have a greater thaw survival rate than eggs, and thus have a greater chance of resulting in a pregnancy in the future. Patients undergo a typical IVF cycle to create embryos.
Our embryologist’s culture embryos to the blastocyst stage (day 5, 6, or 7 after retrieval), and those embryos that meet quality criteria by microscopic evaluation are frozen. At this stage, we may recommend preimplantation genetic testing to identify embryos that have a normal number of chromosomes.
Embryos with an abnormal copy number of chromosomes result in either failed implantation, miscarriage, or babies born with chromosomal abnormalities (like Down syndrome). By identifying embryos that have a normal copy number, we can increase pregnancy rates and reduce miscarriage rates, as we have more information on which embryo to transfer.
The embryos remain frozen until the patient is ready to use them. Patients can also give extra frozen embryos to others through our embryo donation program.