Anyone who’s struggled with infertility knows the anxiety associated with that ever-present threat of the “ticking clock”. There are many reasons women delay pregnancy these days, be it for a career, relationships, or illness. We’ve been told numerous times by doctors (and nosy family or friends) that after age 35 fertility declines at an accelerated rate. And while sperm cryopreservation successfully freezes sperm for later fertility treatments, early attempts at freezing eggs proved difficult because the slow method at which they froze could result in damaging ice crystals in the egg. However, a newer rapid freezing technique called vitrification may not only improve the way egg donations are stored, but it may also help patients who have chosen to delay motherhood until a later date, but who would like to use their own eggs. Park Avenue Fertility offers this new fertility preservation option as one of our many advanced treatment methods for infertility.
What is Vitrification?
Vitrification is a freezing technique that allows for more rapid freezing than traditional oocyte (unfertilized egg) freezing. During vitrification, the oocyte (unfertilized egg) is placed in a water bath containing low levels of an anti-freeze substance and sucrose to draw a small amount of water out of the egg (to prevent crystallization). Then the egg is placed in a high-concentrated bath of anti-freeze and instantaneously frozen within one minute. The eggs may successfully be stored until the patient is ready to thaw the eggs for a fertility treatment.
Who Would Benefit from Vitrification?
Because traditional methods of freezing eggs produced low fertilization and pregnancy rates, many patients opt to freeze an embryo, rather than a single egg. In cases where the patient is young or has not met her partner but does not want to worry about age-related infertility, vitrification can provide a fertility-extending option for pregnancy at a later date. Vitrification may be an excellent option for cancer patients whose fertility may be damaged with needed radiation or chemotherapy treatments, as well as for patient’s who are experiencing premature menopause.
Vitrification is a new technology, but has already shown success in short to moderate periods of time between freezing the egg and successful pregnancy. Fertilizing vitrified eggs is performed through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure that injects a sperm directly into the egg. The egg is then planted in the patient through in vitro fertilization (IVF). To learn more about assisted reproduction at our Connecticut fertility center, please call us at 1.855.901.BABY (2229) or contact us online.