Vitrification-The latest freezing technology improves egg and embryo survival.At last, a breakthrough in freezing technology has improved IVF embryo survival rates and provided new hope for infertile couples.
But what is embryos or egg freezing? What is vitrification? Can it really bypass age or diseases related infertility?
If a young or single cancer patient wants to preserve her fertility, freezing fertilized embryos would only be an option if donor sperm is used to fertilize the eggs.
Typical IVF treatment involves stimulating a woman’s ovaries with hormones to produce eggs which are then collected and fertilised in the laboratory, with one or two embryos being transplanted into the womb two days later. The remaining embryos can be slow-frozen or vitrified, then stored, to be used later if the initial cycle fails.
New studies have provided further evidence that vitrified embryos may be better than fresh for IVF.
FROZEN embryos are more likely to produce successful, complication-free IVF pregnancies than those that are fresh, research suggests.
The studies indicate that using vitrified embryos rather than fresh embryos reduces the risk of stillbirth and premature delivery. The technique allows more embryos to survive the thawing process than the older and more widely used slow-freezing method.
It is unclear why this is the case; there are several theories. Some experts have suggested that when fresh embryos are used women may still be suffering from the effects of the powerful drugs that are used to stimulate the ovaries, temporarily disrupting any IVF attempt shortly afterwards.
The scientists think there could be two reasons for the results. One is that only prime quality embryos are likely to survive the freezing process. The other, more popular, theory is that the womb lining is allowed time to settle down and recover from the rigours of IVF hormone treatment.
Cryopreservation as a process can be divided into two methods: conventional freezing and vitrification.
There are 2 methods of Cryopreservation of your Embryos and Eggs:
Vitrification is fast Freezing and Slow Freezing. Understanding the pros and cons of these processes.
Vitrification is a newer technique which uses ultra-rapid cooling, together with a much higher concentration of cryoprotectants. Vitrification is used for cryopreservation of eggs and embryos , and does not cause damage due to ice crystal formation. Vitrification requires the addition of cryoprotectants prior to cooling. The cryoprotectants act like antifreeze: they lower the freezing temperature. They also increase the viscosity. Instead of crystallizing, the syrupy solution turns into an amorphous ice i.e., it vitrifies.
The three large, independent studies took place in Finland, Australia and the US. The Finnish study found that babies born from fresh embryos were 35 per cent more likely to be premature and 64 per cent more likely to have a low birth weight when compared to those born from vitrified embryos.
Two conditions usually required to allow vitrification are an increase in the viscosity and a depression of the freezing temperature.
At Rotunda Infertility Clinic, we have been using vitrification for a number of years to cryopreserve both embryos and eggs.
When it comes to embryo cryopreservation.
Vitrification has improved potential to successfully bank human eggs. We run a very successful Egg bank at Rotunda fertility Clinic.
Pros of Vitrification technique :
1.This ultra rapid process is so fast that it literally allows no time for intracellular ice to form. As a result, vitrification avoids trauma to the embryo.
2.Vitrified embryos have a better than 95% freeze-thaw survival rate, and a pregnancy generating potential that is comparable to fresh embryos.
3.High survival rate enables us to preserve eggs safely and reliably.
Vitrification is fast freezing and is superior to Slow Freezing of Embryos.
Slow Programmable freezing
1.It causes ice crystals to form within embryo's cells (blastomeres).
2.Unsatisfactory survival rate. Only 50 % of embryo survive.
3.All embryos do not survive the freeze-thaw, and those that do survive have less than half the likelihood of generating a pregnancy as do fresh embryos.
4.Very time consuming. Embryos are slowly cooled using a programmable freezer before they are actually frozen. It takes approx. 2 hours to freeze embryos using this technique.
1.No ice crystals are formed inside cells as freezing occurs ultra rapidly.
2.Optimal survival rate is achieved. About 95% of embryos and eggs survive.
3.Excellent survival of embryos and pregnancy generating potential that is comparable to fresh embryos.
4.Doesn't take much time with this technique. As the embryos are cooled ultra rapidly. It takes approx. 30 min to vitrify 10 embryos.
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Article By: cryotechindia