Freezing/Vitrification

Embryo freezing

Embryo freezing (vitrification) is a well established procedure. It allows us to freeze any good quality embryos that remain after embryo transfer. At GCRM-BELFAST embryos may be frozen at various stages of development; just after fertilisation (pronucleate stage), Day 2, Day 3 or Blastocyst (Day 5 or 6). The decision to freeze and at what stage, will depend on which day the embryo transfer takes place and the number and quality of the embryos available. The use of vitrified embryos produces success rates that are similar to those achieved with fresh embryos.

In certain circumstances, a decision may be taken to vitrify all the embryos rather than replace them in a fresh cycle. This is normally done to help prevent Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) or occasionally for other reasons. In these cases the embryos are thawed and replaced, free of charge in a subsequent cycle.

The cost of IVF or ICSI treatment at GCRM-BELFAST is fully inclusive of Embryo freezing and the first year's storage.

Egg freezing

Vitrification can also be used to successfully freeze unfertilised eggs. This is important for patients who would like to store eggs prior to chemo or radiotherapy. It is also utilised by patients who are not ready to start a family now but recognise the importance of storing eggs before their fertility declines. Egg freezing also plays an important role in the operation of the GCRM-BELFAST Egg Donation program with surplus donated eggs being frozen and stored in the GCRM-BELFAST ‘Egg Bank’. These can then be offered for use by patients requiring donor eggs.

Sperm freezing

There are a variety of reasons why sperm may need to be stored including:

  • Prior to cancer treatment
  • Prior to vasectomy
  • Prior to any surgery that may result in impaired fertility

Sperm that is donated for use by another patient also has to be frozen and quarantined. This allows the clinic to ensure that the appropriate donor screening tests are conducted. The sperm is not released for use until all test results are back and shown to be negative.

For further information on Embryo/Sperm freezing or any of the other treatment options above please Contact GCRM-BELFAST.