embryo banking is a very similar process to egg freezing except instead of freezing unfertilized eggs, we will create embryos in the lab and then freeze those. this also involves a 10-14 day cycle in which your ovaries are stimulated to grow mature eggs. the eggs are then removed through a very short out-patient procedure. the eggs are fertilized with predetermined sperm to create embryos, and frozen for your future use. the egg retrieval process is exactly the same as the first 3 steps in egg freezing except your embryos are frozen instead of transferred.
all couples who are looking to genetically test their embryos must freeze them first. the embryologist will take a biopsy of the embryo and send it to our genetic partner lab for testing. we will only transfer healthy embryos. couples looking to get pregnant quickly and test their embryos will usually wait 4-5 weeks after their egg retrieval to undergo the embryo transfer. during this time we will get genetic testing results back and begin to prepare your body with hormones for an embryo. embryo freezing may also be a better option for certain groups, such as: people with genetic disorders that affect reproduction, people who will soon undergo chemotherapy, people who take medications that affect fertility, same-sex couples, and people looking to wait a while until having children.
there have been numerous studies showing no health differences of babies born from fresh embryos or frozen embryos. in fact, some studies actually show pregnancy rates are higher from frozen embryos instead of fresh embryos.
embryo banking vs. egg freezing
there are important considerations to take into account when deciding whether to choose embryo banking or egg freezing, mainly surrounding the use of sperm. egg freezing is going to give more options for women and transgender men down the line. because eggs are slightly more delicate than embryos, they are marginally more challenging to freeze and thaw. however, with modern technology and techniques used at mate clinics, the likelihood of egg and embryo survival are on par with each other.
for single women looking to preserve their fertility or women who aren’t confident their existing partner is the co-parent they want, embryo freezing (which requires sperm prior to freeze) isn’t practical. if you fall into this category, check out egg freezing. freezing your embryos means that you will have to make some co-parenting decisions now. for many, that is an easy decision to make, but for others, it isn’t. (either way is perfectly fine).
embryo banking process
the only difference between egg and embryo freezing exists in the lab. your embryologist will use sperm from your partner or a donor to fertilize your eggs. after 5-6 days, the mature embryos will be frozen and stored for later use. you may also want to biopsy and test these embryos for any chromosomal abnormalities. when you are ready to use these embryos they will be thawed and we will transfer one into your uterus (or into a surrogate) with hopes of achieving a pregnancy.
freezing and success rates
the process begins by using hormones and other medications to stimulate the ovaries and produce as many eggs as possible. a mate doctor will then retrieve your eggs, send them to the lab for fertilization and freeze the subsequent embryos. we freeze tissue using vitrification. in this process, eggs and embryos freeze so quickly that the water molecules do not have time to form ice crystals and damage the cells. we then put the tissue in liquid nitrogen. this protects the embryos and increases their rate of survival during thawing. babies born after cryopreservation from frozen embryos show no increase in developmental delays or abnormalities. in fact, theoretically, a correctly frozen embryo can remain viable for any length of time. there has been no statistical difference between the types of embryos, (fresh vs. frozen) in terms of pregnancy rates or fetal health.