The Vitrification Evolution - Revolution
Vitrification, or the quick freezing of cells and tissue, has been available for almost two decades but its relatively recent application to human eggs and embryos has revolutionized the world of IVF. “Vitrification” from the Latin vitreumfor “glass” is the cryobiology technique that instantaneously turns a solution into a solid without ice crystal formation. Upon quick freezing, human eggs, for example, become glassy- like in appearance and can then be stored indefinitely in liquid nitrogen at -321⁰ F. Upon thawing, the survival rates are high, relative to older “slow freezing” techniques, due to the much lower risk of damage to the eggs or embryos from ice crystal formation. (A bit of science: Upon thawing, ice crystals actually expand before they contact back as a solution and this expansion can rupture cells.)
Vitrification has allowed for more “freeze all” IVF cycles in which all available oocytes or embryos are cryopreserved to be replaced in a subsequent cycle. The advantages of such an approach may be as follows:
In fact, this quick freeze technique has made oocyte banks possible.
Ask your Infertility specialist if vitrification may be appropriate for your case.