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Embryo Storage FAQs

embryo storage cryopreservation
For nearly 40 years, embryo storage has helped millions of people fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. Whether you are a single person, a childless couple, or a family yearning to have more children, embryo storage may be the golden lining you are searching for.

What Is Embryo Storage?

Embryo storage is the process of freezing embryos to be used at a later date. Commonly known as cryopreservation of embryos, this action entails removal of most of the cells’ water and replacing it with a cryoprotectant to properly retain the living cells and tissues. This will suspend the growth of the embryo until a time at which it will be transferred into a uterus.

How Long Can I Keep My Embryos in Storage?

A healthy embryo can be preserved in the freezing stage indefinitely. While most people choose to use stored embryos within 10 years, the longest recorded (successfully transplanted) embryo is 27 years. 

What Are the Payments for Storing My Embryos?

The payments may be partially covered by some medical insurance programs. Each individual accredited fertility clinic has its own payment plan. Costs associated with storing an embryo cover hormone treatment, egg harvesting, fertility, embryo culture, storage and freezing, and implantation.

Is Embryo Freezing Covered Under Funding Programs?

While the provincial government began the Ontario Fertility Program in 2015 to help eligible candidates, embryo freezing is not covered.

What Is Vitrification?

The freezing of an embryo may be done with the vitrification process. Unlike traditional methods of slow freezing of the cells, this procedure sees a rapid or flash freeze to prevent any ice crystals from forming. Vitrification is done to increase the chances of a viable embryo by lowering the risk of damage due to the freezing method.

How Many Eggs Are Removed from the Ovaries at a Time?

As individual as the fertility clinic itself, the number of eggs retrieved will be dependent on a number of factors. The eggs that are deemed viable (matured) will be removed from the ovaries, up to 15 per cycle.

How Is the Viability of an Embryo Decided?

With only mature or good-quality embryos to be used in the cryopreservation process, a grading system is done to determine which embryos are to be stored. They may be frozen at an early stage of being a single cell, during the two to eight cell stage, or in the later blastocyst stage.

How Many Embryos Can Survive Cryopreservation?

In most cases, more than 95% of frozen embryos survive both the freezing and the thawing processes. The embryos retrieved from a woman under the age of 35 years have a better chance of surviving the cryopreservation process.

Can Freezing Damage the Embryos?

In short, yes and no. While the survival number is high, there are some embryos that do not endure the freezing and/or thawing process. Furthermore, some of the surviving embryos may lose cells but continue to develop.

Are Frozen Embryo Transfers Successful?

Yes, according to the international Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, recent numbers from a 2022 study show more than 68% frozen embryo transfers resulted in a successful birth. The chance of a live birth slowly declines in women over the age of 40.

What Is Done in Case I No Longer Wish to Store My Embryos?

For many medical and personal reasons, a person may decide not to use the frozen embryos and want to discontinue with embryo storage. In these cases, the options depend largely on the jurisdiction of which the fertility clinic is regulated. For some, the options include donation to another person or for research purposes and training. The option to dispose of the embryos as medical waste is also available.

How Are Frozen Embryos Discarded?

As with any choice to stop future use of a stored embryo, all parties involved must agree and sign a consent form, which is legally binding. The related embryos are retrieved from storage and naturally left to thaw to room temperature without any medical interference. The embryos are then discarded in the clinic’s medical waste.

Contact ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo for Embryo Cryopreservation

ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo offers embryo cryopreservation as part of our fertility services. As with our evidence-based approach with our IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intrauterine insemination) services, we provide an individual plan for your embryology needs. Speak to our consultation specialists today to discuss how we can help you on your fertility journey or contact us to book a consultation with one of our esteemed fertility specialists.

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4271 King St East, Suite 200
Kitchener, ON
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