The development of cryopreservation was prompted in part by a desire to provide a acceptable solution to the medical and ethical problems associated with the disposition of excess embryos created during the IVF process. Our Program offers patients the option of using cryopreservation to freeze excess embryos, which may result from in vitro fertilization procedures. The alternative to cryopreservation is anonymously donating unused embryos or limiting the number of eggs inseminated to the number of embryos to be transferred. One obvious benefit of embryo cryopreservation is the increased possibility for achieving pregnancy at a later date by using the cryopreserved embryos. Use of cryopreserved embryos reduces the cost and inconvenience of additional egg and sperm retrieval processes.
The first frozen embryo transfer (FET) was in 1989 at the ART Fertility Program and resulted in a healthy baby that same year, using an embryo frozen in 1987.
Cryopreservation is performed using a computer-controlled freezer. The embryos are then stored in separate containers emersed in liquid nitrogen until they are used. Prior to cryopreservation, a couple must be screened. This screening includes, but is not limited to, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, HTLV and Syphilis. These tests must also be repeated six months following cryopreservation. These tests are required for compliance with American Tissue Banking Standards.
Frozen embryos will be stored for up to five years and/or up to maternal age 50. A long-term storage cryobank is available to couples who choose to store embryos after this time. If a couple chooses to discard their excess embryos, they have the legal right and the option to do so. If a couple chooses to donate their excess embryos, the ART Fertility Program of Alabama, at this time, donates to infertile couples and not to scientific research.
Insurance coverage for any or all of the cryopreservation procedures may not be available and you will personally be responsible for all costs incurred for any related procedures.