Often, during IVF, expectant mothers encounter such a term as “vitrification”, but in most cases they do not even suspect what it is. But it is often thanks to the use of vitrification that it is possible to significantly increase the chances of pregnancy, simplify the infertility treatment regimen and give a happy married couple a long-awaited healthy child.
The problem of preserving living and functional cells outside the body is extremely important in modern medicine and affects many of its areas, however, this issue is most acute during in vitro fertilization, where cryopreservation is necessary not only for individual gamete cells, but also for the whole organism – the embryo, at the preimplantation stage of development. For what purpose? Firstly, this procedure allows patients with a low ovarian reserve to accumulate embryos, as well as save eggs in cases where, for personal reasons, a woman does not plan pregnancy in the coming years. Secondly, the use of cryocycle significantly reduces the risk of developing a severe complication of IVF – ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, as well as the onset of multiple pregnancies.And thirdly, the need to freeze oocytes and embryos arises when the first planting is unsuccessful. In order not to make a selection again, vitrified biomaterial is used.
Vitrification, which is gradually replacing the traditionally used slow freezing, is now the most promising and intensively developing direction in cryo-embryology. The essence of vitrification is the use of high concentrations of a cryoprotectant, due to which it is possible to avoid the formation of ice crystals – the main cause of intracellular damage that accompanied the previous method of freezing embryos. The main advantage of the new technique is the fact that, compared with cryopreservation, vitrification allows for a longer time to preserve germ cells without reducing their viability. In addition, this method practically reduces to zero the probability of damage to oocytes during freezing. At the same time, the effectiveness of artificial insemination programs does not decrease: after thawing, more than 95% of embryos and oocytes retain their viability and are suitable for use in the IVF program.
The use of frozen embryos in repeated treatment cycles is called a cryocycle. In such a cycle of treatment, stimulation of superovulation is not carried out, and the pregnancy occurs with a lower hormonal load on the body of the expectant mother. This significantly increases the effectiveness of pregnancy.
Cryocycle is recommended in the following cases:
- after an unsuccessful IVF attempt;
- if a married couple, planning the first IVF, already has plans for a second and third child;
- in the presence of an oncological disease, the treatment of which may affect the further ability to procreate;
- the presence of diabetes mellitus or azoospermia in men.
The use of cryocycle has a number of advantages for the patient, including:
- the possibility to postpone the implantation of the resulting embryo into the uterine cavity for the time necessary for the recovery of the woman’s body after hormonal hyperstimulation. By postponing embryo transfer for a month or more, doctors are able to stabilize a woman’s hormonal background, while the probability of success of the IVF program increases significantly.
- the opportunity to avoid one of the most dangerous complications of pregnancy in the IVF program – multiple pregnancy. The development of multiple pregnancies carries great risks for the successful development of pregnancy and the birth of healthy children.
- the possibility of carrying out the genetic diagnosis of the embryo by the NGS method – this method makes it possible to identify embryos carrying chromosomal pathology, and thus avoid the nature-caused refusal of the uterus to an unhealthy embryo in implantation.
- reducing the financial costs of patients in cases where the first IVF attempt was unsuccessful – the cryo cycle avoids repeated ovulation stimulation and the use of expensive drugs for this.
Please note that IVF in the cryo cycle at ISIDA has reached an extremely high level – in two years the efficiency has doubled, to 60% of successful implantations, thanks to the use of a modern method of embryo vitrification. Comprehensive IVF programs at ISIDA include embryo vitrification even when there is no need for embryo transfer to a later period. One of the resulting embryos is transferred, and the others are vitrified for possible pregnancy in the future.