Blastocyst & Embryo Freezing in IVF Treatmentby ivf iraq Doctor In in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual. Patients who undergo IVF may have several eggs collected. The eggs are then fertilized with a sperm and checked for fertilization. Fertilized eggs are called embryos. A patient may have multiple high quality embryos eligible for embryo transfer back to the uterus. A certain number of embryos are chosen for embryo transfer, and the surplus of high quality embryos can be cryopreserved for future use.
In an IVF cycle only an appropriate number of embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus. As a result, patient is left with extra embryos created at the time of ivf treatment. These additional embryos can be frozen (cryopreserved) and stored or may be discarded or donated as per the wish of the patient. Embryo freezing provides a patient with the opportunity to conceive more than once from a single egg recovery cycle.
The procedure of Embryo Freezing or Vitrification
After a fresh embryo transfer, good quality surplus embryos and blastocysts created during IVF or ICSI treatment may be frozen and stored for future use. Embryos can be frozen from Day 2 (four cell stage) to Day 5 (Blastocyst). They are placed in thin plastic straws, sealed at both ends, and labeled with your name and identification number. They are then frozen where the temperature rapidly drops to -150° Celsius. The straws are then placed in goblets, and put into tanks filled with liquid nitrogen, which keeps the temperature at -196° Celsius to suspend their development. Once frozen, they can remain in liquid nitrogen for many years without deterioration before being thawed and, if they survive and subsequently develop well, transferred to the woman’s uterus during a frozen embryo transfer (FET).
Usefulness of Embryo Freezing to patients: Embryo freezing provides a patient with the opportunity to conceive more than once from a single egg recovery cycle. Embryo freezing,or cryopreservation, adds an important dimension to assisted reproduction by:
1) Extending the possibility for pregnancy when fresh cycles fail or when couples want additional children after a successful embryo transfer.
2) Avoiding many ethical dilemmas by eliminating the need to dispose of embryos.
3) Offering an alternative to couples that might transfer too many embryos and risk a multiple gestation pregnancy.
4) Avoiding embryo wastage by freezing embryos individually for efficient use.
5) Studies have not shown any increased risk of birth defects in babies conceived using frozen embryos compared with those born of naturally conceived pregnancies from mothers of a similar age.
6) Age-related pregnancy success rates and birth defect risks correspond to the age of the eggs themselves (determined by the age of the patient when the eggs were fertilized) and not to the age of the patient when they were transferred into the uterus.
7) Freezing good quality embryos offers a chance of conceiving after an unsuccessful fresh embryo transfer, or even several years following a successful transfer and pregnancy.
Embryo cryopreservation is generally performed as a component of in vitro fertilization (which generally also includes ovarian hyper stimulation, egg retrieval and embryo transfer). The main techniques used for embryo cryopreservation are vitrification versus slow programmable freezing (SPF). Studies indicate that vitrification is superior in terms of survival and implantation rates. Vitrification is a new process for cryopreserving embryos. Many studies show survival rates of vitrified embryos to be far higher than survival rates of slow freeze embryos. Previously, embryos were cryopreserved using a slow freeze method. However, the survival rate of cryopreserved embryos with Slow Freeze method was only about 70%. Therefore new methods were developed to improve cryopreservation techniques.
After care in the process of frozen embryo transfer
The lining of the uterus is uniquely designed to enhance the process of embryo implantation. Special secretions of nutrients and cell adhesion molecules assist the embryo in the process of continuing development, attaching to the uterine wall and burrowing the placental cells into the uterus. The embryos are now safely housed within the walls of the uterus. For better or worse, there is very little you can do at this point to affect the chances of successful implantation. Whether or not the embryo or embryos implant in the uterus is primarily dependent on the health of the embryo.
After completing the transfer you will be repositioned very gently so your legs are together and slightly elevated. This position is recommended for a short period of time following transfer. It is important during this time that you remain relatively relaxed and comfortable. Usually you will remain at rest for 15 to 30 minutes after the transfer.
When you go home, take rest for 6 - 8 hours after the transfer. Avoid lifting weight. After 8-10 hours, you may increase activity but restrain from vigorous activities. Your ovaries will still be full of fluid from the effects of the stimulation and you may feel some bloating or pelvic discomfort at this time. Avoid any creams, lubricants, or spermicides. Avoid having sex for about a week after your transfer. If you have to travel, take extra precautions and avoid stress.
Embryo cryopreservation has been shown to increase IVF pregnancy rates by allowing exposure of more oocytes to sperm per treatment cycle, and allows for selection of the highest quality embryos for transfer. Currently, embryo cryopreservation is accepted as standard care and is considered an essential technology of most IVF laboratories. The beneficial role of this technique has even been emphasized by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) ethics committee. Embryo cryopreservation can optimize success rates, decrease multiple pregnancies, decrease costs of future treatment, and avoid the need for further injection in future stimulation cycles, as well as prevent embryo waste. Freezing good quality embryos offers a chance of conceiving after an unsuccessful fresh embryo transfer, or even several years following a successful transfer and pregnancy.
Vitrification, a cutting edge technology for cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos and eggs, is available at Al-Manar Fertility & Endoscopy Center in Basrah, Iraq. Our IVF laboratory maintains its gold standard. All egg retrievals and embryo transfers take place in the Al-Manar Fertility & Endoscopy Center. Our embryo identification procedure is meticulously performed by an experienced embryologist and is available at every critical step in embryology process transfer and cryopreservation.
For more information about IVF Specialist in Middle East and Embryo Cryopreservation in Basrah Iraq, please contact one of our physicians, or explore our web site at http://almanarfertility.com or at http://almanarfertility.com/services.php
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