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Vitrification: the essence of the method and its advantages

Vitrification: the essence of the method and its advantages

Quite often, during IVF, future mothers hear such term as “vitrification”, but, in most cases, they have no idea what it actually means. And yet, exactly with the help of vitrification one can significantly increase the chances of successful pregnancy, simplify the scheme of infertility treatment and finally welcome long-awaited healthy baby.

The question of preserving living and functional cells outside the body is of vital importance in modern medicine and affects many of its area, but it is most pressing during in vitro fertilization, when cryopreservation becomes of special necessity for not only individual cells - gametes, but also for the whole organism in the preimplantation phase development - the embryo. With what purpose? First of all, this procedure allows patients with a low ovarian reserve to save embryos, and to save eggs if, due to personal reasons, woman does not plan her pregnancy in the upcoming years. Secondly, cryocycle lowers the chances for having a severe IVF complication - ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and an onset of multiple pregnancy. Thirdly, the need for oocytes and embryos vitrification emerges after the first failed transfer. In order to avoid repeated selection, vitrified biomaterial is used.

The most promising and rapidly developing area in cryoembryology is vitrification, which is gradually replacing the previous traditional method of slow freezing. Basically, vitrification consists of appliance of high cryoprotectant concentrations that further help avoiding the formation of ice crystals - the main cause of intracellular damage that happened with the previous method of embryo freezing. Germ cells can be preserved for a much longer time without reducing their viability – this is the main advantage of this new technique, compared to traditional cryopreservation. In addition, this method practically reduces to zero any probability of cells damage during the freezing process. At the same time, the effectiveness of IVF remains the same or becomes higher: after warming up, more than 95% of embryos and oocytes retain their viability and can be used in IVF program. 

Cryocycle means usage of frozen embryos in repeated treatment cycles. In a treatment cycle like this, the multifollicular ovarian stimulation is not performed, and this leads to alower hormonal influence on the organism of the future mother. This significantly increases the chances for pregnancy onset.

Cryocycle is recommended in the following cases:

  • after failed IVF attempt;
  • if the couple already has plans for the second and third child while planning their first IVF;
  • if there is a cancer condition and the upcoming treatment may affect further ability to reproduction;
  • in the presence of diabetes mellitus or azoospermia in men.

The appliance of cryocycle has a number of advantages for the patient, namely:

  • an opportunity to postpone the implantation of the embryo into the uterine cavity for the time needed for woman's body to restore after hormonal hyperstimulation. By postponing the embryo transfer for a month or more, doctors are able to stabilize the hormones, therefore the probability of successful IVF program increases significantly.
  • an opportunity to avoid one of the most dangerous complications of IVF program - multiple pregnancy. The development of multiple pregnancy has great risks for the successful pregnancy flow and the birth of healthy children.
  • an opportunity to perform genetic diagnosis of the embryo using NGS method, which makes possible to identify embryos bearing chromosomal pathology and thus prevent failed IVF due to the natural ability of the uterus to reject an unhealthy embryo.
  • reduction of financial costs of patients if the first IVF attempt failed - cryocycle allows avoiding repeated ovulation stimulation and using expensive drugs.

Note, that IVF with cryocycle in ISIDA has reached an extremely high level - in two years, the efficiency has doubled, up to 60% of successful implantations thanks to the use of the modern method of embryo vitrification. Integrated IVF programs in ISIDA include embryo cryopreservation even when there is no need for embryo transfer for a later period. One of the obtained embryos is transferred, and others are vitrified for a possible pregnancy in the future.