Vitrification is a relatively new method of freezing oocytes. The first baby from an egg that was preserved using this technique was born in 1999. Since then vitrified eggs have become an increasingly popular option offered by fertility clinics worldwide. Despite this, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept. Here at ManorIVF, we have set out to try and present the facts about the process:
- Cryopreservation has been around for a while. The first sperm sample was frozen in 1952 and the first embryo followed suit in the 1980s. Eggs, however, presented a harder challenge due to their high water content. Formation of ice crystals was a common problem that led to unsatisfactory thaw-survival rates.
- Vitrification is an advanced method of freezing biomaterial. It is done in three stages: First the oocytes are exposed to sucrose, which draws some of the water out. During the second stage they’re placed in a high-concentration cryoprotectant. Finally, they are flash-frozen with -196°C liquid nitrogen. Because it is an ultra-rapid process (resulting in a glass-like substance), ice crystals that can fracture and damage an egg do not have a chance to form.
- The thaw-survival rate of vitrified eggs exceeds 90%. This means the success chances of IVF/ICSI with thawed eggs are equal to fresh oocytes cycles.
- The likelihood of eggs displaying chromosomal abnormalities increases as a woman grows older. Vitrified eggs, however, do not “age”. When thawed they are as healthy as fresh oocytes from a young woman.
Vitrified Donor Eggs
- Vitrified eggs allow you to undergo treatment at the exact time that suits you. As donor oocytes are frozen, there are no schedules to coordinate, nor is there a need for cycle synchronization. Treatment can be started immediately.
- Vitrifying donor eggs allows us to provide you with as many eggs as you need, without you having to wait while donors are prepared for retrieval.
- Vitrification allows donated oocytes to be transported. This means you don’t have to travel to where the donor is at, saving you precious time and travel-related expenses.
As you can see, vitrified eggs offer many advantages for a couple in need of egg donation. Most importantly, vitrification has given many patients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to undergo treatment due to insufficient oocyte supply a chance at fulfilling their dreams. Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful egg donors. ManorIVF is forever thankful for their help.