Cryopreservation of embryos is a process in which embryos (fertilized eggs) are
frozen and stored for later use. This technique is commonly used in assisted
reproductive technology (ART) procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and
intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
The process of cryopreservation involves cooling the embryos to very low
temperatures using liquid nitrogen, which preserves them in a state of suspended
animation. The embryos can then be stored for a period of time, usually several
years, until they are needed for implantation.
There are several advantages to cryopreserving embryos. Firstly, it allows couples
undergoing ART procedures to have more than one attempt at pregnancy using the same batch of eggs, which can increase the chances of success. Secondly, it can help to reduce the cost of treatment as the couple only needs to undergo the egg retrieval process once, and subsequent cycles can use the frozen embryos. Finally, it can help to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies as fewer embryos need to be transferred in each cycle.
However, there are also some potential risks associated with cryopreservation of
embryos, including the risk of damage to the embryos during the freezing and
thawing process. Nevertheless, the overall success rates for IVF using
cryopreserved embryos are generally comparable to those using fresh embryos, and the technique has become a widely accepted and effective method of assisted reproduction.