Embryo Vitrification (Cryopreservation)
Vitrification is a "new" method of egg and embryo cryopreservation. We started to experiment with human embryo vitrification at Stanford University in the mid-1980s. More recently, this technique of embryo freezing has been perfected and is extensively used in advanced reproductive treatments.
When living cells are frozen, the water component of the cell forms ice crystals damaging the cell. The goal of successful cryopreservation is to eliminate such ice crystal formation.
Vitrification uses extremely high cooling rates. Water is transformed directly from the liquid phase to a glassy vitrified state. The definition of vitrification is the solidification of a solution at low temperature, not by ice crystallization but by extreme elevation in viscosity during cooling.
In the past, with "slow" freezing methods, about half of the embryos did not successfully survive the cryopreservation-thawing process. With vitrification, the embryo survival rate is close to 100%. At Bay IVF, we use the vitrification method exclusively for embryo cryopreservation.
If you have embryos intended for cryopreservation (IVF, Donor Egg IVF, Frozen Donor Egg IVF, Embryo Banking), they will typically be cultured to the blastocyst stage (day 5-7 embryos) and then vitrified.
Conceiving with your cryopreserved embryos will require the Frozen Embryo Transfer treatment. Embryo cryopreservation, thawing, and Frozen Embryo Transfer are very safe. Hundreds of thousands of babies have been born worldwide from cryopreserved embryos. There is no indication of any increase in the rate of birth defects.
Please use the following links for information about reproductive treatments at Bay IVF and to request a consultation.