Cryopreservation

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Embryos

Family Beginnings offers embryo cryopreservation to patients going through IVF. Generally, patients make more embryos than are recommended to be transferred during an IVF cycle. The remaining embryos are frozen through a process called “vitrification”, which is a way to instantly freeze embryos. Another reason for freezing embryos is if there are endometrial receptivity concerns. The embryos can be thawed at a later time when the uterine lining is ready. When vitrifying, embryos are moved through a series of cryoprotectants, then they are loaded onto a straw and submerged in liquid nitrogen (-196° C) and stored on-site in our lab. Whenever embryos are frozen, they are collapsed with the laser first. This is a form of Assisted Hatching.

Sperm
We offer sperm cryopreservation for patients in many different circumstances. The samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen (-196° C) and stored on-site in our lab. Sperm can be frozen before IVF treatment if the male partner will be out of town for the egg retrieval, or if he has a male factor contributing to the couple’s infertility. Samples can also be frozen if they are obtained through PESA or TESA. This allows the patient to go through another cycle without the cost of another PESA/TESA. We also offer semen cryopreservation and storage for patients undergoing chemotherapy – please call the office for more details.
Eggs

Our IVF laboratory has been successfully using the most advanced techniques of cryopreservation for over a decade, and we feel that we can help even more patients with oocyte cryopreservation.

Indications for oocyte cryopreservation per ASRM:

  1.  Patients that will receive chemotherapy or medications toxic to the ovaries for cancer or other conditions.
  2.  Patients that have genetic conditions that would place them at high risk for ovarian cancer, like BRCA mutations.
  3.  Patients that have diminished ovarian function due to conditions like endometriosis that are not in a relationship or ready to have children.
  4.  Couples that are unable or do not wish to cryopreserve embryos due to personal or religious convictions.
  5.  Failure to obtain sperm at IVF. On occasion, we may not be able to obtain sperm on the day of the procedure. Eggs can be frozen for later use.
  6.  Elective oocyte cryopreservation to delay childbearing.

What is the process?

For patients that will receive chemotherapy, an abbreviated IVF type of ovarian stimulation lasting one to two weeks depending upon where that patient is in menstrual cycle is used. This involves daily injections and ultrasound exams to monitor the growth of ovarian follicles that contain eggs. For patients without the time pressure of chemotherapy, more standard types of IVF ovarian stimulation are often utilized.

What is the cost?

The medications for cancer patients may be free from the drug manufacturers. We have spoken to the representatives of these companies and should be able to help get medications as needed. We understand that patients are very stressed at the time of cancer diagnosis, and the thought of fertility preservation adds to an already stressful situation. Please call the office for current pricing. 

Is egg freezing covered by insurance?

It’s possible that some insurance covers at least part of the process. Because egg freezing is now considered “non-experimental,” it’s possible that insurance companies may cover the cost. We will work with your insurance company to see what is covered.

My doctor wants to start medications soon due to chemotherapy; can the process be started more quickly than standard IVF?

Yes. Studies with cancer patients have shown adequate egg collection with non-standard IVF stimulation protocols that can be started mid-menstrual cycle.

When diagnosed with cancer, there is so much to think about so quickly. Can we get in soon to begin the process?

Yes! Our doctors are available and we can work with your physician to coordinate care and get the stimulation and procedure done as soon as possible. We work 7 days a week!