Not many people work in a profession that requires them to dedicate their lives to helping others like the field of healthcare does. During national healthcare recognition, we have challenged people to sum up in a few words the impact their profession means to them and how important it is for their community.
When an embryo is cryopreserved, it is being frozen for future use by the patient. This is typically done about five or six days after the eggs have been fertilized, when the embryo has reached the blastocyst stage; this means that the embryo has begun some cell differentiation, making it more stable than younger embryos. In other instances, unfertilized eggs may be cryopreserved instead. An ultra-rapid freezing technique called vitrification is used that avoids the damaging formation of ice crystals. The embryos are then stored in a cryopreservation tank inside a laboratory that is filled with liquid nitrogen and kept at -321ºF. Once frozen in this way, the embryos can be safely stored for many years if needed, and they have an almost 100-percent survival rate once thawed. The chances of pregnancy when using frozen/thawed embryos are high enough that, for a variety of reasons, many patients electively freeze all of their available embryos before returning for a uterine transfer.
Scott Purcell, PhD, HCLD
Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center of Virginia
Charlottesville | 866.540.5190