Deciding to start or grow your family now or in the future is an important and very personal choice. If you are preserving your eggs or embryos because you are not quite ready to start a family, or because you are facing a diagnosis or medical treatments that may compromise your future fertility, preserving your ability to have a family later can simplify difficult decisions. There is also an element of trust in this process - trust in the freezing of your eggs and embryos, and trust that they will be preserved. Protecting your future family plans is a responsibility we do not take lightly. That is why we do everything we can to keep our facilities, our procedures, and the eggs and embryos in our care as safe as possible.
The Process Doesn’t End At Freezing
At Laurel Fertility Care, we vitrify - or fast freeze your eggs or embryos. This technique to freeze eggs and embryos results in better success when thawing in the future. With this process, the mature eggs are identified from the group after they are extracted. When freezing embryos, the eggs are fertilized and cultured in the lab for 3 – 6 days. The mature eggs or the good quality embryos are then;
- Exposed to a cryoprotectant solution to help survive freezing
- Rapidly immersed into liquid nitrogen for incredibly fast freezing
This fast-freezing technique eliminates ice crystal formation, which can damage the egg or embryo, and leads to improved survival and pregnancy rates.
But the process doesn’t end there. To ensure the safety and viability of the eggs and embryos entrusted to our care, we take every precaution possible and consistently improve our technology and practices.
There are two main ways that eggs and embryos are kept frozen:
- liquid nitrogen
- liquid nitrogen vapor
Liquid nitrogen vapor storage allows greater ease in moving and working with the frozen material but comes with some challenges. Samples stored in this way need to be continuously monitored because these types of tanks need to be refilled more frequently to maintain the vapor.
At Laurel Fertility Care, we use the liquid nitrogen preservation method. The vials of eggs or embryos are stored directly in the liquid nitrogen within the tanks. We prefer this method because the liquid nitrogen evaporates more slowly from the covered tanks and allows a greater margin for safety due to thawing prematurely.
Safety and Security of Frozen Eggs and Embryos
A major concern that all patients have about their frozen eggs and embryos is how they will be kept safe from thawing or other damages. Liquid nitrogen tanks, like the ones that we use, are not reliant on electricity to function. Instead, the level of liquid nitrogen determines the temperature and the continued preservation of the material stored within.
We take the safety of the eggs and embryos in our care seriously. In our facilities, we go above and beyond in the preservation, monitoring, and fast reaction time for our tanks. The staff in our labs monitor the tanks in-person daily. We have also installed an alarm system to detect any change in temperature - this system calls all embryologists and alerts them to the change. Should the temperature in a tank increase, these alerts will give us extra time that will be critical to refilling the tanks or moving the frozen eggs and embryos to alternate storage before any thawing has occurred. While we have never experienced any failures in our equipment, we continue to look for system redundancy opportunities and keep abreast of technology updates as they may occur.
We have always used the highest standards to regularly maintain our equipment, and that will always be the case. The safety and viability of the eggs and embryos entrusted to our care are of the utmost importance to all of us at Laurel Fertility Care. We are committed to providing a safe environment for your future family planning.
If you want to know more about this or any other of our fertility treatment options, we are always here to answer your questions.