Our Fertility Center offers egg and sperm freezing services. Frozen egg and sperm are preserved in low enough temperatures to keep them healthy frozen in time to be used at a later date. Egg freezing procedure, if succesful, can provide a possibility for female patients to preserve their eggs for a longer period of time. Egg freezing, also known as vitrification of eggs is used to preserve fertility in young women who want to delay motherhood, and avoid age-related infertility in the future. As women get older, the risk that they'll have trouble conceiving increases. Because of that, vitrification is suggested to women who want to wait for motherhood, or don't have partners yet, do not seek a sperm donor, and are worried about their biological clock. It is also recommended for female patients who are required to undergo treatments that could negatively impact their fertility, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Frozen eggs, once thawed, can be used in IVF and other fertility procedures. Egg vitrification also creates a possibility to preserve additional and surplus eggs produced by the patients during the IVF treatment.
While embryo freezing is the standard fertility preservation procedure, our Fertility Center offers both egg and sperm cryopreservation procedures, depending on our patients' needs. Eggs and sperm frozen from the younger years, theoretically, could be used years later during IVF treatment, if age-related infertility strikes before the patient is ready to have kids.
Until recently, the only method for freezing unfertilized eggs (oocytes) was a slow-freezing method. Unlike sperm, eggs contain a great deal of water, which makes freezing more difficult. For this reason, vitrification process, similar to embryo cryopreservation, is used. Once liquid materials reach low enough temperature, miniature ice crystals begin to form. These crystals are the basic building blocks that make up ice. While a lump of ice might appear smooth and solid, miniature ice crystals have razor-sharp edges that can shred and destroy cellular material, such as female eggs.
To avoid that, surplus eggs are frozen with a technique known as vitrification. It is an ultra-fast freezing technique, that allows to bypass the formation of ice crystals, keeping the eggs intact and safe. Vitrification happens at a freezing rate larger than 10.000 degrees Celsius per minute. At freezing this rate, almost none to none damage is done to the embryos.
Vitrified eggs are kept in temperature of at least -196 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, all biological growth processes, including cellular multiplication, cease to happen. The eggs are then stored frozen in time at the moment of their fertilization until they are needed again.
Sperm can be preserved by freezing and used for infertility treatment at a later time. There are various reasons why the male patient may need to freeze your sperm, such as possibility of treatment like chemotherapy, which may result in infertility, or plans of having a vasectomy in the near future.