Embryo freezing is the process of preserving embryos for future use. In many cases, people choose to freeze their embryos during a stimulated IVF cycle because they have more embryos than can be transferred at one time. In other situations, it may be recommended to do a “freeze all,” cycle so that one has time to better prepare their uterine lining for transfer. At other times still, many couples may choose to preserve their fertility outside of a traditional IVF cycle because they simply want to preserve their future fertility or because they are undergoing some life event where the fertility of one or both partners may be in jeopardy.
At CNY, we use a process of freezing or preserving embryos known as vitrification. During vitrification, embryos are immersed in a series of solutions which dehydrate the cells and replace the water molecules with cryoprotectant, thereby protecting the integrity of the cells during the freezing process. The embryos are then loaded into specially designed straws, and placed into liquid nitrogen tanks for long-term storage. These frozen embryos may be subsequently thawed and used for a future embryo transfer.
Interestingly enough, preserving embryos as compared to preserving eggs, offers a much more viable solution to preserving one’s fertility given the current technology available. The preservation of embryos has gotten so good that it is often recommended to transfer a frozen embryo over a fresh embryo. You may have even seen some remarkable stories of frozen embryos making healthy babies after a quarter of a century being frozen.
Generally, embryo preservation or embryo freezing can be looked at as the first half of an In Vitro Fertilization Procedure. As such, you will go through baseline testing, ovarian stimulation and follicular development, egg and sperm retrieval, and fertilization. After fertilization, your eggs will be allowed to develop until day 3 or 5. At that point, the embryos will undergo the vitrification process allowing them to be safely stored in liquid nitrogen for decades.
There are many reasons for freezing and preserving your embryos for future use. Of course, everyone has their own reasons, but many people choose to freeze their embryos for one of the following reasons:
- Preserving surplus embryos following embryo transfer which may be used in the future to achieve a pregnancy. By transferring frozen-thawed embryos into the uterus, it is possible to achieve 2 or more pregnancies in different years from a single egg retrieval.
- Preserving fertility in patients who must undergo medical treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer treatment which may affect fertility. By undergoing IVF with embryo freezing, the couple/individual may thaw and transfer cryopreserved embryos following successful treatment.
- Often times women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve may find it beneficial to do what is called banking cycles. Banking Cycles consist of repeatedly doing the first half of an IVF cycle resulting in frozen embryos until they have an adequate number of embryos to transfer. By staying in a stimulated state, many women with DOR have a better chance of successfully producing embryos. After several cycles have been completed, the woman can then focus on preparing her uterine lining with progesterone and estrogen for a FET.
Depending on how you are freezing your embryos, the price may be substantially different.
- For those freezing their embryos from an IVF Cycle, there is no additional cost and that includes storage for 12 months. Storage after the first 12 months is $350 per year.
- For those doing an embryo banking cycle, the fee is $3,900. Of course, like all of our treatments, you can finance with us allowing you to make smaller more affordable monthly payments of around $200/month.