Understanding Cryopreservation and Its Use in Fertility Treatment

Understanding Cryopreservation and Its Use in Fertility Treatment

Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) 0

Some of those who would love to have children are confronted with a dilemma when they are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatment often involves chemotherapy that can destroy eggs and sperms. However, this need not destroy the chances of a person having a biological child. Doctors have now found ways to preserve the harvested eggs, sperms, or embryos in such a manner that they can be used later to have a child.


Cryopreservation is a technique where live cells or tissue are frozen so that they are preserved without damage. The cells are frozen at below zero degrees Celsius and thawed when needed. However, the freezing has to be done carefully as the cells and tissues that are being frozen should not be damaged by dehydration or the formation of ice between the cells or within the cells. As such special liquid nitrogen freezers or freeze drying techniques are used. The cells are monitored throughout the freezing and thaw process to ensure that they are not damaged.


Cryopreservation can be used to preserve sperms, eggs, and embryos. For instance, when a young girl has been diagnosed with cancer and needs to undergo chemotherapy, her eggs can be preserved for up to ten years using this process. Similarly older women who are not yet married, want to wait a few more years to get married, or start their family can also use cryopreservation to ensure that their eggs are healthy when they are ready to have a child.

Men too can use cryopreservation techniques to preserve their sperm. Again, men who have been diagnosed with cancer or a similar disease and need to undergo chemotherapy can preserve their sperm for later use.

Women who have to undergo chemotherapy and then start a family can also have the embryo preserved using cryopreservation techniques.

Specialized Skills

Cryopreservation techniques are specialized skills that also require state of the art facilities and equipment. Whether you are planning to preserve the eggs, sperm, or embryo, you need to be assured that the doctor has the skills to harvest the cells safely without damaging them and then preserve them carefully.

For instance, if a person wants to have their eggs preserved, the doctor will first induce ovulation and then harvest the egg. This is then immediately handed over to the embryologist who will begin the process of freezing the egg and storing it for future use. The same procedure is adopted for preserving sperm

Advanced Facility

As such if you are worried about your future fertility and want to protect your ability to have a child later on, you need to ensure that you approach a fertility clinic that offers a combination of experienced gynecologist who can harvest the egg or sperm and an expert in cryopreservation who will be able to freeze the egg or sperm without damaging it.

Minimally Invasive Procedure

In most cases the doctor harvesting the egg or sperm uses a minimally invasive procedure. This enables the person to return home the same day. For women, the doctor typically uses a procedure that depends on an ultrasound guide to harvest the eggs. While most men are able to ejaculate the sperm needed for cryopreservation, the sperm can also be directly harvested from the testes if needed.

In the case of embryos, the egg is injected with the sperm in vitro or in the lab and the fertilized egg or embryo is then frozen. This ensures that the couple is assured that they have a fertilized embryo ready to be thawed after the woman has undergone chemotherapy.

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