Freezing Sperm, Eggs and Embryos for IVF
Today’s sperm, egg and embryo freezing technology for IVF in Thailand has been developed to allow spouses to retain embryos and germ cells for future use by freezing methods (Cryopreserve). They can be stored for a long time by using a freezing technique called Vitrification. This is widely used today because it has very little effect on the embryo and germ cells, and it can achieve success in pregnancy. It offers the same rate of success as the use of fresh embryos or non-frozen germ cells. Patients undergoing IVF or ICSI, if stimulating a large number of eggs, can also produce embryos in greater quantities. The embryos that have not been moved into the uterus in the first round must be preserved by freezing. If the patient wants to do embryo transfer in the next cycle, the frozen embryo can be used without having to start the egg stimulation process. In addition, the frozen embryos, including germ cells (egg and sperm cells) can also be used in other cases where these cells must be stored first for future use. These include cancer patients who still want to have their own children in the future, but must receive treatment that adversely affects their reproductive cell formation, through surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
Sperm freezing may also be used to store sperm before being used for fertilization outside the body for patients with sperm production problems who may not be able to secrete sperm on the egg collection day. Some women who have not yet decided on marriage and having children may decide to put off childbirth for a while. If they want to have a child later in life, there may be a problem with poor ovarian function. By freezing their egg cells early on, they are sure to have enough viable eggs to enjoy a greater chance of conception.
Viable Sperm-freezing Candidates
- Those who are undergoing sterilization by cutting the sperm duct can have sperm stored if there is a desire to have more children in the future.
- Those who are going to be treated with chemotherapy or drugs that will have a negative effect on future sperm production.
- Those who have to be treated with testicular cutting.
- Fathers that have an abnormal Y-chromosome microdeletion. These cases will cause sperm production to decrease over time. They may consider sperm freezing while their sperm are still plentiful and of good quality.
- Couples who do not have the opportunity to have sex during the time when the eggs fall due to not being together. They may consider freezing male sperm to inject into the uterus of the female during ovulation.
- Spouses who are undergoing IVF, and are in a situation where the male cannot travel to collect the semen on the day that the eggs are collected from the female to fertilize. They may consider sperm freezing before the egg collection date.
- Spouses receiving treatment for infertility with the ICSI process using sperm that must be extracted from the semen tube or cut from the tissue of the testicles (PESA or TESE). Then the remaining sperm cells must be frozen. This will help avoid repeated sperm extraction from the semen tube or cutting the tissue from the testicles in the next treatment cycle.
- Spouses who need to use sperm donation. Freezing sperm from donors allows the detection of sexually transmitted diseases in donors such as HIV virus, and hepatitis B and C for 3-6 months after donating to confirm that there is no infection before the sperm is used. This reduces the risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases from the use of donated sperm.
Viable Egg-freezing Candidates
- Those who are going to be treated with chemotherapy or drugs that will have a negative effect on future ovarian function.
- Those who have a family history of menopause before the age of 40.
- Those who have religious restrictions and beliefs that do not allow freezing in the treatment of IVF. They may consider freezing the remaining egg cells from fertilization in the current treatment cycle for the next treatment cycle.
- Those who are undergoing IVF and cannot store the male sperm on the day of collecting eggs. They can freeze eggs to use in future treatment cycles without requiring egg stimulation again.
- Spouses who need to use donated egg cells may consider freezing eggs from donors. The eggs can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV virus, and hepatitis B and C, 3-6 months after donation to confirm that there is no infection before using the egg cell. This reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases from using donated egg cells.
- Women who do not have a family and want to maintain fertility for the future. The fertility of women often gets less and less with age. When the integrity of the ovaries is reduced, the ability to have children with their egg cells will decrease. For women who didn’t freeze their eggs while they were young, but still have high-quality egg cells, this is an alternative way to treat reproductive conditions in the future.
If you feel that egg, sperm or embryo freezing may be the right path for you at the present time, make an appointment for a consultation with a doctor at the VFC Center at Vejthani Hospital. They will inform you of the details of this type of program, including sperm and egg freezing costs and embryo storage costs.