Cryobanking

Cryobanking is a highly demanded service in ART aimed towards preserving fertility. Dr Prem Demo3 takes pride in maintaining a vast cryobank of oocytes, embryos, sperms and other reproductive material for further use. During IVF, it is normal to get more than one embryo. But instead of destroying them, these are preserved in cryobank through a process called cryopreservation. These embryos also help in going for further attempts in implantation in case the first one fails or a couple wishes more children. The frozen embryos can be implanted into a surrogate through another surrogate maternity program.

Benefits Of Cryobanking

AVOID THE RISK OF OVARIAN HYPERSTIMULATION

Extracting eggs from a donor is fine but is not absolutely risk-free. Ovarian hyper stimulation is one of the potential risks involved in the process. Although a rare occurrence, it can often result in hospitalization and can be fatal as well. Despite taking all protective measures, no one can assure a 100% risk-free egg donation process. Once several eggs are extracted, these can be preserved in cryobanks.

PRESERVING FERTILITY FOR FUTURE

Many couples plan to have child later when they remain too busy with other important commitments. Some may have their fertility threatened owing to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They can preserve their respective reproductive gametes in cryobank for future use.

LOW COST

ART procedures are costly. No doubt in it. And success is mostly not achieved in a single IVF cycle. Repeated IVF cycles using cryopreserved and thawed embryos cost much less than a ‘fresh’ IVF cycle.

TAKES LESSER TIME

A typical egg donation and surrogacy program combined can run for a year. Cryobank helps in reducing the time through the preservation of retrieved oocytes.

TAKING CARE OF THE SURVIVAL CHANCES OF REPRODUCTIVE GAMETES

Cryopreservation in cryobanks needs special planning and procedures to increase the efficiency of the purpose. The gametes should be cryopreserved within strictly specified time limits after retrieval or formation. Reproductive outcomes depend a lot on the particular stage of embryo development that is during preservation and at the time of implantation. Blastocysts tend to create better outcomes than the embryo. This is because blastocysts have a greater survival rate than embryos. Blastocyst stage appears 5 days after the embryo formation and has more number of cells, hence the higher survival chance. Each embryo is preserved in a single medium to enhance the efficiency of embryo transfer.

CRYO EMBRYO TRANSFER

Now comes the most crucial part. There are several processes by which this transfer takes place. If it is done in the natural cycle, it would require monitoring of the growth of the dominant follicle and endometrium lining to determine the day of ovulation.

After ovulation, one has to wait for few days corresponding to the age of the frozen embryo. The embryo is then thawed and transferred to the uterus for conception. The natural process has a big advantage as it does not need any medication.

However, this natural transfer cannot be applicable to all. A modified cycle is initiated with hormone replacement therapy and then the embryo is transferred. In terms of effectiveness, both methods are same, the only difference being in the requirement of hormonal drugs.

The embryos after thawing undergo assisted hatching meant for releasing the embryo from the pellucid zone, the outer membrane which gets hardened owing to freezing. Not only this, assisted hatching improves the chances of fertilization. In most clinics, it is done with laser.

Both the spouses/partners have equal rights on cryopreserved embryos. It can be transferred only with the consent from both of them.

FREEZING PROTOCOLS

Cryobanking follows specific freezing protocols. The time taken to freeze tissues varies with the cryopreservant used and the nature of cells. Freezing protocols can be either slow or rapid. In the slow mode, the temperature of the reproductive tissue and cryoprotectants are reduced gradually at a specific rate to attain -7C. This rate is further reduced and again raised to attain -135C. Finally, the tissues are dropped into liquid nitrogen at -196C.

Rapid freezing also known as Vitrification is the most advanced cryopreservation technique. It enables a higher survival rate of embryos after thawing since high concentrations but lesser volumes of cryoprotectors are used that take lesser time to freeze. The higher concentration of cryoprotectors prevents the formation of ice crystals around the tissues. Intracellular ice crystals, in most cases, are responsible for causing irreversible cell damage.

The vitrification process ensures the survival rate of frozen embryos or oocytes by 80%. Even after thawing, these oocytes and embryos maintain qualities similar to those created fresh. The oocytes can be fertilized by sperms or the embryos can be implanted to achieve a successful pregnancy.