This year we are seeing more news articles on the use of frozen embryos and the incredible benefits that they bring to IVF patients. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “New Strategy may Boost Fertility Clinic Success Rates”, highlights the benefits and success of embryo freezing. We have written many times about vitrification here in the pages of Fertility Flash, as PFC was an early adopter of the new vitrification technology and we have been using it exclusively for oocytes and embryos since 2007. Our success rates, shown below, speak for themselves.
Vitrification is the new technology that has changed embryo freezing dramatically. Vitrification allows embryos to better tolerate and survive a trip to the freezer. Better embryos mean higher implantation rates and more pregnancies, with reduced risk.
Embryo freezing is such a reliable process that we can now encourage more patients to transfer just one embryo at a time with the aim of establishing a safe singleton pregnancy, and reduce the significant medical risks that come with twins and triplets.
Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) is enabled by reliable vitrification. CCS of blastocyst stage embryos improves selection of healthy embryos for transfer. A biopsy from a well-developed embryo like this usually consists of 2-5 cells, enough for a very reliable genetic analysis. The biopsy is directed such that cells that are destined for the development of the placenta are tested, and not those that will make the fetus. After the biopsy, embryos are vitrified and the genetics lab performs their analysis. Embryos with a normal chromosome number are then thawed and transferred at a later date.
The incredible benefits of being able to vitrify embryos and keep them indefinitely in frozen storage are benefiting IVF patients every day at PFC. Pregnancy rates are wonderfully high after embryo freezing, and patients have the added advantages of being able to establish safe and healthy pregnancies.
- Joe Conaghan, PhD
PFC Lab Director