Following embryo transfer in a fresh IVF / ICSI cycle, a couple may have additional embryos that are of good quality.
These embryos can then be frozen or ‘cryopreserved’, stored and thawed for use at a later date during a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) treatment cycle.
Embryo freezing is a well-established form of assisted conception treatment.
The first birth to result from this procedure occurred in 1984. Embryo cryopreservation allows multiple embryo transfers from a single egg collection.
Not all embryos are suitable for freezing. Embryos must be of adequate quality to endure the freezing and thawing process. Approximately 50% of patients undergoing IVF / ICSI at Merrion Fertility Clinic will have additional good quality embryos available for freezing.
Embryo freezing techniques have improved dramatically over the years. A major development has been the introduction of ‘Vitrification‘, a rapid freezing technique which has now replaced the old method of slow-freezing.
Vitrification works to minimize the amount of cell damage that can occur through ice formation. Instead, embryos are rapidly frozen in a glass-like state. With vitrification, survival rates of embryos have improved from ~70% to >90%.
Merrion Fertility Clinic were the first clinic in Ireland to be licensed to perform this technique.
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