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Embryo, Egg, & Sperm Freezing

For people who need to preserve future fertility, there are a number of options, including freezing an embryo, eggs or sperm.

If you're facing cancer treatment or another life situation that makes it necessary to preserve fertility for a later time, the fertility specialists at UI Health will help you understand your options.

Embryo Freezing

Embryo cryopreservation is a method used to preserve embryos by cooling and storing them at low temperatures. They can then be thawed at a future date and transferred to the uterus, providing additional opportunity for achieving a pregnancy.

Worldwide, cryopreservation of human embryos has been shown to be a successful procedure, and there are no reports of increased birth defects in pregnancies achieved through this process.

Successful freezing of human embryos has been achieved for many years using a "slow" method. However, recent data have indicated that an "ultra-rapid" approach can further enhance embryo survival and pregnancy rates. The UI Health In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Laboratory has been using ultra-rapid freezing (vitrification) since May 2009 with great success and will continue to assess any future advances in the area of embryo freezing to provide the best service to our patients.

Egg Freezing

The UI Health IVF Laboratory offers a program of egg freezing for medical and non-medical reasons. The egg freezing program is offered as part of an institutional review board-approved research protocol to determine the long-term benefits and outcomes associated with the use of egg freezing.

Sperm Freezing and Sperm Bank Services

The UI Health Andrology Laboratory offers patient and/or sperm donor sperm bank services for long-term storage. Men may choose to use a sperm bank for reasons such as a reduction in fertility potential, prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for male oncology, or prior to vasectomy.

The patient sperm bank also is used to store sperm extracted from the testes in the operating room, a procedure referred to as TESE (testicular sperm extraction). Sperm from a TESE procedure can be stored short term or long term for subsequent use with the intricytoplasmic sperm inject in vitro fertilization procedure for pregnancy attempts.