Some useful information on Embryo freezing

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One of the advances in the area of assisted reproductive technology is Embryo freezing which is a procedure that enables the preservation of embryos for future use. In 1980, the medical world recorded the first successful pregnancy resulting from freezing a woman’s healthy embryos. Since then, several embryos have been frozen for future use and have also resulted in successful pregnancy and some failures as well.

There are many reasons the embryos may be frozen; to enable a future pregnancy, to donate to others, for medical research or for training purposes.
However, prior to freezing, there must be suitable embryos have to be produced in the laboratory after the eggs must have been harvested and fertilized.

The woman’s hormones must be adequately evaluated to ensure there will be proper ovulation. She is then given fertility medications to stimulate the number of eggs she produces. The eggs will be harvested in the hospital with the aid of an ultrasound machine to ensure accuracy. The eggs may be frozen or used at once.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure may be employed to fertilize the egg if the woman wishes to become pregnant immediately or frozen if she wants to delay being pregnant.

In the course of IVF, sperm is introduced to the eggs and the mixture is cultured in a laboratory. Fertilization takes between 16 to 20 hours. It is the fertilized eggs that are referred to as embryos.
It is the duty of the embryologist to monitor the development or progress of the embryos over the next 3 to 6 days, following which a suitable embryo may be chosen for implantation.

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With ICSI, once the eggs have been extracted, a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. This is needed in cases where there is a problem with the sperm or if past attempts at IVF have failed. The use of ICSI is to choose the best sperm cell to be injected directly into the eggs for possible fertilization.

In the event of multiple fertilization, only one embryo can be used for pregnancy except the couple requested for multiple pregnancy. In the absence of this request, other embryos may be frozen for later use.





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