Embryo freezing

Embryo cryopreservation (embryo freezing) is often utilised during IVF cycles as a way to preserve good quality, excess embryos, created during a fresh IVF cycle, for use in future frozen IVF cycles. Embryo freezing is also an effective method of fertility preservation.

Embryo versus egg freezing

The main difference between embryo freezing and egg freezing is the presence of sperm. In embryo freezing, eggs are retrieved and then fertilised by sperm to create embryos. They are then cryopreserved until ready to be used to attempt pregnancy.

Embryo freezing may be a good option for singles or couples who want to delay parenthood, or in cases where ovarian hyperstimulation is a serious concern.

Cutting-edge technology

Embryo cryopreservation represents the latest in cutting-edge technology for couples that are looking for the most effective, successful ways to delay childbearing and preserve fertility. The reasons for this choice are varied and can range from the pressures of furthering a career or education, to decisions driven by medical challenges.

Recent advances in embryo preservation mean that over 90% of embryos that have gone through the process have been successfully frozen and thawed, with many being successfully implanted and resulting in healthy pregnancies.

Embryo cryopreservation

While in the past the decision to delay pregnancy created a very real risk of future conceiving problems, embryo cryopreservation has eliminated these concerns. The technique utilises a fast freeze method, known as vitrification, that allows embryos and eggs to be preserved indefinitely for future use.

This means that women no longer need to fear the impact that aging may have on their ability to have healthy babies, as eggs for embryo cryopreservation can be retrieved early in her reproductive life and preserved for future use. Additionally, those embryos created as part of an IVF treatment can be saved for use for a future pregnancy, greatly reducing the risk of secondary infertility.

Explore more fertility treatments

Artificial Insemination (AI/IUI)

Artificial insemination brings healthier sperm closer to the egg by placing washed sperm directly inside the uterus.

Invitro Fertilisation (IVF/ICSI)

A technique to fertilise an egg with sperm outside the body, followed by transferring the embryo into the uterus.

Egg & Sperm Freezing

Egg and sperm freezing (cryopreservation) is the process of freezing for future use.

Every journey begins with a first step

Take the first step towards your future. Speak to a specialist or schedule a consultation today.

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Your IVF Fertility Journey

Scheduling a fertility consultation with one of our fertility expert gynaecologists:

  • Dr Richard Joubert 013 7457605
  • Dr Pieter Steyn 013 7552106
  • Dr Wilhelm Combrink 013 7457988
  • Dr Jean Nel 013 7458054

*Your fertility journey timescale might differ from the one described here.

  • 1

    The fertility specialist will do all necessary tests and evaluations on you as a couple in order to make a fertility treatment diagnosis.

  • 2

    To start the treatment program you will call the fertility specialists rooms on the first day of your next menstruation

  • 3

    You will see the fertility specialist on day 2 or day3 of your cycle for a sonar examination to determine the state of the ovaries and uterus before you start taking the medication. The specialist will explain how the stimmulation drugs are used henceforth on your own or with the help of your partner.

  • 4

    Your next appointment will be on day 8 or 9 of your cycle. Doctor will again do a sonar to see how your ovaries have responded to the stimmulation and he will start monitoring them in terms of count as well as diameter. You will also be send for bloodtests to correlate the hormonal value increase with the number of developing follicles on the ovaries.

  • 5

    Once the biggest follicle measures more than 20mm in diameter doctor will determine the day of aspirating the mature eggs and a trigger drug will be administered to mature the eggs.

  • 6

    In the mean time you will be referred to Surgiclinic Fertility to open your file and hospital admission. Your eggs will be harvested 36 hours after taking the trigger drug. This is usually scheduled for 9pm at night so we can do the harvest around 8am 36hours later. You need to be fasting from the previous night and report to Surgiclinic Private Hospital at 7am sharp to be ready for the aspiration procedure scheduled for 8am

  • 7

    The aneasthetist will give you consious sedation in order to not feel any pain or discomfort while the oocytes are harvested. This process is ecxatly the same as when doctor monitored your follicles in the rooms with the only difference that the aspiration needle is now attached to the sonar probe.

  • 8

    In the mean time your partner needs to be available on the day of aspiration to give a very much needed sperm sample. He is usually expected to have 3 to 5 days of sexual abstinance in order to give a good sample by means of masterbation. There is a special private faccility close to the IVF lab where he will find all that is needed to do his very important part in this procedure.

  • 9

    Once all the follicles are aspirated doctor will put a small armband around your wrist with the exact number of eggs retrieved written on it. You will be served some tea and toast once you wake up.

  • 10

    You should be ready to go home at around 10am. Try to rest at home and not to plan any other activities as you might not feel ready for that. There might be some lower abdominal discomfort as well as bleeding.

  • 11

    The embryologist will continue the preparation of both eggs and sperm sample to be able to do the fertilisation on the very same day the aspiration has taken place

  • 12

    Each morning the embryologist will evaluate the development of the eggs starting with fertilisation to embryo development. You will each day receive a Whatsapp picture to explain what they look like at that time.

  • 13

    The fertility specialist will decide when the embryo transfer will be, either day 3 or day 5 of development.

  • 14

    You and your partner will be expected to report to Surgiclinic Fertility an hour prior to embryo transfer.

  • 15

    Your partner will sit next to you while the embryos are transferred by sonar guidance. Doctor will give you a note then to do the pregnancy test, usually 14 days after the oocyte harvest took place. This is a bloodtest and all values above 25 are considered positive and repeated within 48hours to ensure an ongoing value

  • 16

    When your test is positive Doctors rooms will give you an appointment for the first scans at 7weeks pregnancy. Celebrate and rest a lot.