Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Are your frozen IVF embryos alive after they have been thawed ?


Most patients are worried about the viability of frozen embryos . They believe the success rate with fresh embryos is better than with frozen embryos. After all, they know that fresh fruits are better than frozen fruits, and they confuse the two ! However, embryos are not fruits, because the freezing technology used is very different.

In the past, it is true that the pregnancy rate with frozen embryos was lower than with fresh embryos, because the traditional method of freezing embryos using slow freezing would often kill the cells in the embryo. This is because the water in the cells would form ice crystals, which would kill the blastomeres.

However, the with new technique of vitrification or ultra rapid freezing ( which is used routinely now), the damage rate is virtually zero , if done in a good lab by an experienced and expert embryologist.

Now it is true that vitrification is not an easy technique to master, and most embryologists are not good at being able to vitrify embryos. It requires a lot of skill and expertise and experience, and many junior embryologists kill embryos while vitrifying and thawing them, because they haven’t learnt how to do this well.

However, in a good clinic like ours, with an experienced embryologist like Dr Sai, we can confidently reassure our patients that our survival rate is 100% point .

The question patients want to know is – How do I know that my embryo is viable after it has been frozen and thawed ? One way is to take photos of the embryo after thawing and check this . Live embryos have clear cells; and if the blastomeres are dark, this means they have been killed by the freezing and thawing process.

An even better technique is to keep the thawed embryos in culture for a few hours before actually transferring them. After the thaw, a viable embryo will continue to grow, and you can see for yourself that is alive and viable. For example, a collapsed blastocyst ( which was frozen after collapsing) and remains collapsed when thawed, and which then expands after culturing it in vitro for a few hours , is clearly viable.

If your clinic has frozen your embryos on Day 3, tell them to thaw them, and culture them for another 48 hours to see whether they actually grow and become blastocysts. If they do not, and if they arrest in the laboratory after they've been thawed, there's really no point in transferring them back into the uterus , because this clearly means they're not viable , and there is no point in wasting your money on transferring dead embryos into your uterus.

Need help in getting pregnant ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you !

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