Cryopreservation is a technique that involves freezing tissues. Embryo and sperm cryopreservation is a common fertility technique that preserve eggs (or oocytes) and sperm for infertility techniques and procedures. Embryo and sperm cryopreservation also is designed to preserve embryos in a frozen state for future use.
Couples attempting infertility treatments often utilize embryo and sperm cryopreservation. This is especially true for those who must undergo numerous cycles to achieve a viable pregnancy. Cryopreservation techniques are also beneficial to men and women who are undergoing medical treatments that may destroy their future potential for fertility, such as cancer treatments, or couples who wish to preserve eggs or sperm for pregnancy in the near future.
Cryopreservation cools sperm, eggs or embryos down into a subzero temperature range, typically in liquid nitrogen at -196°C for a specific period of time (as determined by clients for future use).
For women, in vitro fertilization or IVF techniques follow the freezing of fertilized eggs, giving them an opportunity to get pregnant following medical treatments, a long-term illness, or other scenarios. For in vitro fertilization procedures, the woman is treated with fertility drugs to increase development of eggs. The eggs are retrieved under a light anesthetic, and fertilized with her partner's sperm. Those eggs are then frozen for later use. The entire process takes between two and four weeks. IVF with cryopreservation of embryos has been utilized since the early 1980s. Eggs can be stored for years.
Men may also take advantage of cryopreservation of semen, which is especially recommended for those undergoing treatment for cancer, as cancer has been determined to reduce amount of motile or viable sperm. However, due to today's enhanced technologies, even men with very small number of motile sperm, and when coupled with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) techniques and IVF techniques, have proven effective. It is recommended for men to "donate" several semen specimens every two to three days for optimal results.
Cryopreservation, when utilized with other infertility treatments, has grown in popularity and scope in recent years. Numerous freezing protocols and storage of human tissues are observed during the cryopreservation procedure. Cryopreservation is commonly used in assisted reproduction technologies, as well as for future assisted reproduction treatment cycles. A number of protocols are followed and include aspects of storage temperature, following and freezing times, and the type of cells suitable for preservation, for example leukocytes versus sperm.
Today, it is common for couples who are undergoing any type of assisted reproductive treatment cycle to cryogenically preserve oocytes, sperm and embryos in order to produce beneficial and effective results and viable pregnancies.
An OB/GYN should be Board certified in his or her field in his or her country of origin, as well as in Reproductive Endocrinology in order to offer excellent and experienced reproductive and fertility treatment services. Physicians work in conjunction with highly trained clinical staff to complete the cryopreservation, IVF or ICSI process. Individuals seeking IVF or ICSI infertility treatments should ensure that everyone involved in the process has been trained and board certified to perform such procedures
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