Cryopreservation refers the way of freezing human gametes, embryos and/or ovarian or, with a view to thawing the cells for use in assisted reproduction. It plays a major role in assisted reproduction and it increases the efficiency of infertility treatment.
How it works?
In order for cells to survive the cryopreservation process they must preserve movement of water inside the cell, across the cell membrane, during freezing. This movement allows cells to balance the outside pressure formed by the making of ice in the cryopreserving. The movement of water through the cell membrane is extremely reliant on the volume of free water in the cell (which contrasts liable on cell type), as well as other cell features. This means that the comparative efficiency, as well as the most suitable protocols for cryopreservation, is highly dependent on the cell type (e.g. sperm vs oocyte).
Usage of cryopreservation
Couples experiencing assisted reproductive treatment cycles typically cryopreserve gametes collected or embryos produced in one treatment cycle, for use in an upcoming treatment cycle. This is mainly true in cases where ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval are used, as these procedures are time consuming and usually produce more oocytes or embryos than can be used in a single treatment cycle.
Complete cryopreservation of embryos results in very high pregnancy rates post thawing and almost as good as a fresh cycle. It is significantly more effective than the cryopreservation of oocytes and it is therefore most common for oocytes to be fertilized in vitro prior to cryopreservation.
Reproductive outcomes following embryo cryopreservation depend on the stage of embryo improvement, both at the time of freezing and at the time of implantation (i.e. post thaw). Rates of implantation are significantly greater in embryos frozen after growing to a size of 6 or more cells.
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