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Cryopreservation means preserving in a frozen condition. The best known cryopreservation is for semen. If extra embryos are left after an IVF / ICSI procedure they, too, can be frozen. Freezing spare embryos allows multiple embryo transfers from a single egg collection and improves the chance of live birth. Freezing is very cost effective, since transferring frozen embryos is much less expensive than starting a new IVF treatment cycle.

Not all embryos are suitable for freezing. The embryos can be frozen at the pronucleate, early cleavage or blastocyst stage. Overall about 50% of frozen embryos survive the thawing process.

Frozen embryos can be thawed and replaced in either natural or artificial cycles. The overall success rates after thawing and replacing frozen embryos is lower than that for fresh embryos.

Babies born following embryo freezing have the same risks of abnormalities as those born following IVF/ICSI i.e. the same as those conceived normally.


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