Embryo freezing and egg freezing

What is embryo freezing?

Embryo freezing is a preservation process to obtain one or more embryos and preserve them for future use in an in vitro fertilization treatment. These embryos are the result of an egg and a sperm laboratory fertilization, which were previously treated and are ready to be implanted in a woman’s uterus.

 

How is it done?

Embryo freezing is a complex process, which requires professionals with a lot of experience as it requires a very careful manipulation since the embryos are immersed in a solution known as cryoprotectants, which avoids possible damage from freezing; subsequently, they are carefully placed in a support system in hermetically sealed straws, which is immersed in liquid nitrogen at -196°C where they will freeze in a matter of seconds. Once frozen, they are stored inside a liquid nitrogen tank for preservation where they can last indefinitely (the report with more years of freezing that gave a healthy baby at home is 30 years).

 

 

When is it optimal to consider doing it?

This procedure can be performed as an alternative to preserve fertility, for example in women with conditions such as cancer, in which treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and some surgeries carry the risk of infertility. Also, couples who want to delay parenthood for a few years later can go through the embryo cryopreservation process to ensure success when deciding to start a family.

In addition to the above, during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, ovarian stimulation, sperm freezing and egg fertilization are carried out to obtain several embryos, which develop in culture about six days, reaching the state of embryonic development known as blastocyst; from this day they can be frozen for future use.

It is important to clarify that only the embryos that are viable and of better quality are the vitrified ones since some do not survive long enough, or do not have the characteristics to go through the procedure and offer the possibility of a pregnancy.

When embryos are to be reused, they are devitrified by removing them from liquid nitrogen and placing them in an environment at 37 ° C (98.6 ° F) (room temperature); subsequently they are given a cell rehydration treatment, replacing the cryoprotectants with water. Before making the embryos transfer to the female uterus, their viability is confirmed.

 

Success rate

The pregnancy rate is 54.2% with frozen embryos and 44% with live births. This means that frozen embryo transfer provides a very high chance of getting pregnant. With a 95% cumulative pregnancy rate at the third pregnancy attempt.

However, the success rates are not yet clear as they change from year to year; The most recent studies reveal that the success rate in IVF with cryopreserved embryos is higher because ovarian stimulation (which is part of the process to obtain mature eggs) can affect the ability of the uterus to accept the embryo, and resorting to IVF a few years later, with the embryos frozen, allows a more “natural” environment for implantation.

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Pros and Cons

It was previously thought that this process carried risks, but the meticulous studies carried out on embryos make it possible to rule out those with a defect, or the probability of not surviving vitrification, thus increasing the chances of transferring healthy and strong embryos to the female body.

In addition, according to studies, the use of frozen embryos for IVF treatments entails fewer complications during pregnancy and delivery, both for the mother and the baby. This is due to the preparation of the female body and the selection of the best embryos.

As cons, we found that embryo freezing is a relatively little known method, and that IVF is usually performed with fresh embryos, even though cryopreserved eggs are used in the process. This situation reflects the complexity of the process, as well as the debate about the number of embryos that are obtained and what to do with those that the couple will not use.

 

Cost of embryo freezing in Mexico

The process of freezing embryos costs several thousand dollars in the United States, added to the cost of consultations, medications for ovarian stimulation, tests and the annual price to keep them frozen. For this reason, more and more couples choose to travel to Tijuana, Mexico where fertility treatments are given by professionals at a cost twice less.

 

What is Egg freezing?

Egg freezing, also known as egg vitrification, is part of the assisted reproductive techniques that allows women to preserve the reproductive potential by extracting eggs from the female ovary, which have not been fertilized, with the aim of being preserved for future use.

After some time, the frozen or vitrified eggs can be thawed and fertilized with a sperm in a laboratory to create an embryo and implant it in the female uterus through in vitro fertilization technique.

 

How is it done?

  • Ovarian stimulation. Once the woman has decided to keep her eggs, the specialist will administer hormones to stimulate the ovaries, mature several follicles at the same time and have a greater number of eggs. This process, which lasts about 10 to 12 days, is monitored through a vaginal ultrasound to determine if the necessary follicles are really being obtained and if their number and size is adequate.
  • Stimulation of ovulation. Through hormones, the specialist will stimulate ovulation preparing them for later extraction.
  • Egg retrieval. The specialist will extract the eggs by means of a puncture to later select the mature eggs.
  • The extracted eggs are dipped in a sucrose solution to eliminate the water they contain, preventing crystals from forming during freezing, which can damage the cells.
  • Immersion in liquid nitrogen. Once prepared, the eggs are placed in the tube-shaped container and then immersed in liquid nitrogen at -196 ° C (-320 ° F) to freeze them in a matter of seconds.

From the moment the eggs are frozen, they can remain in the laboratory until the woman decides what to do with them; either use them for herself or donate them. When the decision is made to use them for reproductive purposes, the reverse process of devitrification is performed and they are subsequently fertilized with sperm from the partner or from an anonymous donor.

 

When is it optimal to consider doing egg freezing?

  • Disorders that affect fertility. People suffering from autoimmune diseases, anemia, or experiencing gender diversity situations can freeze their eggs for future use.
  • Cancer treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation can affect fertility, so egg freezing gives women facing cancer a chance to get pregnant.
  • In vitro fertilization. Some women seeking in vitro fertilization choose to freeze eggs rather than embryos for particular reasons.
  • Decision to postpone motherhood. Many women decide to dedicate their youth to their academic and professional preparation, since they do not feel prepared to have children and plan to have a family later.
  • In these cases, women should seek egg freezing as soon as possible so that they can obtain the highest quantity and best quality for future use.

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How to prepare yourself?

The assisted reproduction specialist will indicate tests prior to the procedure, such as:

  • Ovarian reserve analysis to verify the quantity and quality of the ovules.
  • Blood tests to rule out diseases such as HIV; hepatitis B and C, diabetes, among other conditions.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound to determine ovarian function.

 

What is the success rate?

This procedure allows more than 90% of the cells to be kept intact, so there is a success rate similar to that of fresh eggs to perform the in vitro fertilization technique.

 

Cost of egg freezing in México?

In the United States, the price for this procedure is between 7,000 and 12,000 dollars without taking into account the tests, medications, specialist fees for each consultation, or the annual price for keeping them frozen. However, an increasingly attractive alternative among Americans is to travel to Tijuana, Mexico, where there are highly specialized clinics such as The Fertility Center, and with prices up to three times lower.

 

TREATMENT USA PRICES

(Other clinics)

MEXICO PRICES

(The Fertility Center)

SAVINGS
Egg Freezing  $15,000

*All-inclusive 

$6,600

*All-inclusive

56%

 

TREATMENT Egg Freezing
USA PRICES

(Other clinics)

$15,000

*All-inclusive

MEXICO PRICES
(The Fertility Center)
$6,600

*All-inclusive

SAVINGS 56%

*Prices in dollars (USD).

*Prices subject to change without notice.

 

The Egg Freezing Cost Includes:

  • Treatment (egg retrieval, monitoring, anesthesia and others).
  • Operating room (medication necessary for the procedure and medical fees).
  • Medications (these vary according to the level of ovarian stimulation that the patient needs).
  • Storage (annual).

 

Main differences between egg freezing and embryo freezing

Both techniques offer valuable options for preserving fertility and addressing various reproductive challenges. The choice between egg and embryo freezing depends on each patient’s individual situation and needs.

The key differences are:

  • Egg freezing is performed prior to fertilization, preserving a woman’s fertility for the future.
  • Embryo freezing occurs after fertilization, as part of an IVF cycle.
  • Egg freezing may be an option for women who wish to delay childbearing or who will undergo medical treatments that could affect their fertility.
  • Embryo freezing is common for couples facing difficulty conceiving and undergoing IVF treatments.

 

Frequent questions

How long can embryos stay frozen?

Like eggs and sperm, cryopreserved embryos can remain stored indefinitely as they do not expire or lose their quality during the process.

 

How many embryos must be frozen to ensure pregnancy?

Depending on the patient´s characteristics, scientific evidence has found that three embryos are sufficient to have a healthy living child at home, since a cumulative 95% pregnancy rate is reached at the third pregnancy attempt.

 

What happens to embryos that are not used?

The embryos that remain after IVF, and that the couple no longer require, can be donated to the clinic to put them up for adoption for other couples who are not candidates for processes such as cryopreservation of eggs or sperm and who long to have a child through the most natural methods possible.

If this is not desired, assisted reproduction clinics provide the option of discarding them by leaving them out of the incubator.

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How are embryos disposed of?

Regulations on this issue vary from country to country. In general, it is sought to cryopreserve only the necessary embryos and donate to the rest, however those that are abandoned should be discarded by leaving them at room temperature, immersing them in alcohol or hypotonic saline solution to create an osmotic shock, and subsequently sent them to an incineration furnace.

The Fertility Center is an Assisted Reproduction clinic in Tijuana, where you will find the specialists you need to make your dreams of starting a family come true; We have cutting edge facilities and technology, highly specialized doctors who continue to train in the most current treatments, as well as a long history of success stories with our patients. Schedule your assessment appointment through the means available on our website, we will gladly assist you.

 

How long can eggs they stay frozen?

They can last several years, without a time limit, since they do not “expire” or lose quality with the process.

 

How many eggs must be frozen to ensure a pregnancy?

The eggs are collected and frozen in groups of oocytes. As mentioned above, the female organism only releases one mature ovum, although in each menstrual cycle there are 20 to 50 oocytes, which remain stressful due to not being able to mature enough. This process seeks to recover as many oocytes before the body destroys them, obtaining 15 to 20 oocytes, although this depends on the age and ovarian reserve of the woman.

 

What is the best age to freeze my eggs and what happens if I have already reached this age?

Since female fertility decreases after 35 years, the ideal is to resort to egg freezing before that age, preferably before 30 since, according to studies, the quality of a frozen egg at 30 years is greater than that of a 35 year old.However, when women freeze their eggs after the age of 35, the success rates of fertilization treatments decrease since the natural stage of hormonal decline has begun.

 

Are there any risks?

Conditions related to the use of medicines. The hormones that stimulate the ovaries and ovulation can cause abdominal inflammation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to the possibility of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, however this risk is low because specialists constantly monitor the patient during the process.

Complications in the collection. Although the risk is low, there is a possibility that the aspiration needle used to retrieve the eggs could cause bleeding, infection, or damage to a blood vessel, bladder, or intestine.

False expectations. Although the success rates are encouraging, the reality is that there are no guarantees with assisted reproduction processes, especially in women over 40 years of age, who can suffer a spontaneous abortion due to the process of hormonal decline in their body.

 

*It should be noted that no research has found a risk of birth defects associated with this process.

 

Will the hormones I’m going to have to take drive me crazy?

They won’t drive you crazy, but they can cause symptoms similar to so-called premenstrual syndrome, which causes bloating, mood swings, and belly pain. Perhaps, during the process you´ll experience complex feelings, like when you go through menstruation, especially if you long for the arrival of a baby a lot.

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