Texas Fertility Center

Vitrification

Vitrification may increase your odds of bringing home a healthy baby

Our Austin fertility center utilizes the latest, proven techniques to help our patients become parents. That’s why we use vitrification to freeze eggs, sperm and embryos. This freezing technique has been revolutionary in the world of fertility. It has not only made egg freezing possible, but it’s also helping to improve in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates.

What is vitrification and how does it work?

Vitrification is a fast-freeze process that transforms the liquid inside of eggs, embryos and sperm into a glasslike state. Old freezing methods would slowly freeze these reproductive materials. This could lead to the formation of damaging ice crystals, especially in fragile eggs. However, because this new method is so fast, these ice crystals don’t have a chance to form.

When the embryologists at our Austin fertility center freeze reproductive materials using vitrification, they follow specific steps.

  • The embryologist places the eggs, embryos or sperm in a bath with a low concentration of cryoprotectant, or a special anti-freeze substance. This solution contains sucrose to draw water out of the reproductive materials.
  • The team then places the eggs, embryos or sperm in a bath that contains a high concentration of the solution for less than a minute. This instantly freezes the materials, which prevents ice crystal formation.

Eggs, embryos and sperm can last indefinitely once they are vitrified. When hopeful parents want to conceive, our embryologists will quickly warm and remove the reproductive materials from the solution. The thawed eggs, sperm and embryos can be used to achieve pregnancy using state-of-the-art treatment like IVF.

How successful is vitrification?

When compared to IVF cycles using fresh eggs and embryos, research suggests that frozen eggs and embryos may increase the likelihood of success. The reason for these increased success rates could be related to the use of medications for ovulation induction.

The hormones that women take to stimulate egg production are still in the body when doing a fresh embryo transfer. By freezing the eggs or embryos and waiting to do the embryo transfer, the woman’s hormone levels have time to return to normal. This is likely why frozen embryo transfers are often more successful.

While vitrification is a proven and very successful freezing method, it’s important to know that there are no guarantees in medicine. Not every frozen egg or embryo will survive the freezing and thawing process. Additionally, not every egg will fertilize and not every embryo will be healthy enough to transfer. However, this method of fast-freezing can help improve the odds.

Interested in exploring vitrification? Our Austin fertility center is happy to walk you through the process. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more.