Cryopreservation is the process of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at very low temperatures to maintain their viability.
Cryopreservation provides the ability to freeze and thaw Eggs/Sperm and embryos which is a great advantage in ART setting, because frozen tissue can be stored indefinitely in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. The freezing of human sperm is an old and well recognized procedure that has resulted in the birth of millions of children worldwide
Not only can partner or donor sperm be frozen for IVF or IUI at a later date, but sperm banking provides ART clinic and couple with a backup option if a sample cannot be collected on demand or if sample quality is poor on the day eggs are available.
The cryopreservation of human oocytes/eggs would be advantageous to the patient with ovarian disease or any other condition that limits egg production. Moreover, freezing oocytes circumvents the ethical issues associated with embryo freezing and is now very commonly done.
Embryo cryopreservation is an established procedure that has been employed successfully for nearly 20 years. Embryo freezing is used to provide alternatives for the ART couple for whom the risk of multiple pregnancy restricts the number of embryos that can be transferred during the treatment cycle.
Additionally, embryo banking is done when embryos cannot be transferred during the egg pickup cycle. Another advantage to embryo freezing is that embryo thaw and transfer can be conducted in a natural cycle when the patient has not been subjected to controlled ovarian stimulation with exogenous hormones and the concentration is solely on developing the Endometrial lining for transfer.