Embryo freezing offers potential for having children later in life.
Female fertility begins to decline as a woman enters her mid- to late-20s and decreases more rapidly after age 35. In men, sperm quality also worsens to some degree with advancing age. For these reasons, couples who are not ready to start their families may want to consider freezing embryos as a way to preserve their fertility so they can have the potential to have healthy babies later in life. The process of freezing embryos is identical to In Vitro Fertilization, which involves ovarian stimulation (fertility medications taken for 10-12 days), an egg retrieval (a minor transvaginal surgery to extract eggs from the ovaries), and fertilization of the eggs in the IVF laboratory (combining the egg and sperm). If the desire is to save the embryos for future use, the embryos (fertilized eggs) can be frozen and stored long term in liquid nitrogen tanks. Prior to freezing, the embryos can undergo testing for chromosomal abnormalities (preimplantation genetic testing) – these are maternal age-related abnormalities in the genetic content of the embryo (like Down’s Syndrome). This is one advantage of freezing embryos as opposed to freezing eggs since at this time such testing is not available for unfertilized eggs. The highest success rates are seen in women who have chromosomally normal embryos to freeze even if they do not choose to use the embryos for years.
Who should consider freezing embryos for fertility preservation?
Freezing embryos for fertility preservation can be an ideal option for a number of different scenarios. These are some common indications:
- Heterosexual couples who know they would like to have children together, but are not sure when
- Couples who are facing cancer treatments that may impact either partner’s future fertility
- Lesbian women who are ready to choose a sperm donor but are not ready to have a baby
- Single women who are ready to choose a sperm donor but are not ready to have a baby
Why should I freeze my embryos at California Fertility Partners?
When choosing a fertility clinic for embryo freezing, it is important to keep in mind three important factors that influence the chance that you will have a successful birth once you are ready to conceive: 1. Expertise and experience in the freezing process, 2. Skill and technology to optimize survival of the embryos when it comes time for unfreezing (thawing) 3. An excellent IVF laboratory to ensure optimal embryo growth after the eggs are combined with sperm. At California Fertility Partners, we are pioneers in freezing technology. In fact, the first baby ever born from a frozen embryo in the United States was achieved by our team way back in 1986. Since then, we have continued to be at the forefront of our field in advancing and refining freezing technology and with our current technology, achieve nearly 100% survival rates when thawing embryos.