Cryopreservation & Vitrification

Cryopreservation and vitrification are methods used for preserving human germ cells. Thanks to them, germ cells may be preserved in our cryobank for as long as several decades. The preservation period depends on the agreement with the client.
The difference between cryopreservation and vitrification is in the cell freezing rate.
Cryopreservation is a technique that utilises a special medium to allow preservation in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C.
Vitrification is a modern technique that rapidly freezes reproductive cells to a temperature of -196°C, literally within seconds. A special medium containing cryoprotectants is used during the process to protect the cells against damage.

Sperm Cryopreservation ...

Even though sperm cryopreservation is largely used for donation purposes, it is also vital for men who are scheduled for surgery or chemotherapy as a part of their cancer treatment, the side effects of which could inevitably result in the inhibition of sperm production. By cryopreserving their sperms, they get a chance of having children in the future after their successful cancer treatment. Upon request, the client may undergo an examination and have his sperms cryopreserved for later use. Sperm cryopreservation is less technically demanding and has a longer history than embryo cryopreservation. With a view to the high sperm count in a single ejaculate and the small size of sperms, their cryopreservation is highly effective. They are preserved in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C.

Embryo Vitrification ...

Vitrification is a very gentle method, which makes it particularly suitable for the preservation of embryos. Vitrification is used to preserve excess embryos. At present, the preferred practice is to transfer a smaller number of fresh embryos in the uterus to minimise the risk of multiple pregnancy. If the first transfer of fresh embryos is unsuccessful, another attempt may be made without the need to repeat hormonal treatment or to retrieve additional eggs. 

Vitrification plays a vital role in medium to severe cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In a certain number of cases (approx. 5%), ovarian hyperstimulation, i.e. excessive reaction of the ovaries to hormonal stimulation, occurs in women undergoing extracorporeal fertilisation. In such situations, it is not advisable to transfer fresh embryos due to safety reasons. Therefore, all embryos are frozen and transferred only after hyperstimulation has fully subsided.

Vitrification also plays a crucial role in egg donation.

Oocyte Vitrification ...

Vitrification of eggs (oocytes) has become a common part of infertility treatment. Oocyte vitrification is suitable in the following cases:

  • If there is a risk of ovarian failure.
  • If there is a risk of fertility loss due to cancer treatment. To women in fertile age scheduled to undergo cancer treatment, oocyte vitrification gives hope of future pregnancy after successful treatment.
  • In the event of an unexpected lack of the partner's semen during an IVF treatment cycle. If it is not possible to obtain semen from the client's partner on the day of egg retrieval (due to health, traffic, work-related or mental reasons), the retrieved oocytes may be frozen.
  • Oocyte vitrification is an option for young women in reproductive age who are currently single and are concerned that their fertility may be reduced at a later time when they have a partner and decide to become pregnant. Also women who are currently not planning a pregnancy and who are postponing conception due to study or career-related reasons may have their eggs frozen.

Cryopreservation, Vitrification