In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most widely used assisted reproductive technique today in the face of sterility. The success of this fertility treatment will depend mainly on the origin of the eggs and the age of the woman, although there are also other prognostic factors.
In any case, there are many patients who think that IVF with frozen eggs has lower success rates than IVF with fresh eggs. This is not entirely true, as the egg freezing technique is optimized and offers a high survival rate.
Therefore, the vitrification of eggs allows to carry out new therapeutic options that have revolutionized the field of assisted reproduction.
Provided bellow is an index with the 6 points we are going to expand on in this article.
What is Vitrification of eggs?
Egg vitrification is a technique that allows the eggs to be stored for an indefinite period of time without altering their quality. It is commonly known as egg freezing and is used by many women who wish to delay their desire for motherhood. However, vitrification and freezing are two different terms.
Until recently, the slow freezing technique was used, but its main drawback was the production of ice crystals inside the cells, which compromised their viability.
For this reason, vitrification was developed, an ultra-fast freezing technique where cells go from room temperature to -196ºC in a very short time. Specifically, eggs obtained from follicular puncture are passed through different increasing concentrations of cryoprotectants before reaching cryopreservation temperature.
If you want more information about egg vitrification, you can continue reading the following article: What Is Egg Vitrification? - Advantages Over Freezing.
Frozen donor egg IVF
The main difference between IVF with frozen eggs and IVF with fresh eggs is that the oocytes are obtained in a previous stimulation cycle and are frozen by vitrification until the moment of fertilization and embryo transfer.
This IVF alternative can be considered as a continuation of a fertility treatment that started earlier.
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It is only necessary to thaw the oocytes a few hours before fertilization. In most cases, microinjection of the sperm into the egg, i.e. IVF-ICSI, is chosen. The embryos generated in the laboratory are incubated until the moment of transfer to the uterus or until they are vitrified.
IVF with vitrified eggs is necessary for all those who have frozen eggs. Therefore, what will have to be determined are the situations in which it is recommended to freeze the eggs to be used later in an IVF treatment.
We’ll show each of them below:
- Preservation of female fertility when a woman is going to undergo oncological treatment or wishes to delay her desire for motherhood for economic and/or social reasons.
- Cycles of oocyte accumulation due to low ovarian response.
- Problems obtaining spermatozoa on the day of the ovarian puncture.
- Avoid ovarian hyperstimulation.
- Ethical or moral issues.
On the other hand, egg vitrification is usually performed in cases of egg donation. Thus, IVF treatment with ovodonation will be simpler since it does not require synchronizing the menstrual cycles of donors and recipients. In addition, having donor eggs frozen in banks reduces the waiting lists for this type of reproductive treatment.
For more information on this, don't miss the following article: Donor-Egg IVF Procedure for Recipients - Protocol & Cost.
Advantages and disadvantages
IVF with vitrified eggs has the great advantage that it can be done at any time. What is really important is when the vitrification of the eggs takes place.
If the patient is clear that she does not wish to become a mother for the moment, it is best to preserve her fertility. Problems in So there will be no When the patient feels ready, it will only be necessary to thaw the eggs (which retain the same quality) and they will be fertilized with the sperm of the couple or a donor.
However, the vitrification of the eggs may involve the loss of some of them when they are thawed for fertilization. Although rare, the success rate of IVF treatments with vitrified eggs may be altered.
IVF with frozen eggs and pregnancy
In recent years, the technique of egg freezing has improved greatly. This means that about 90-97% of the eggs survive thawing.
For this reason, IVF with vitrified eggs offers high success rates, very similar to those obtained with fresh eggs. The results obtained in 2018 and published in the statistical registry of the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) are as follows:
- Gestation rate per transfer
- 35.6% when using fresh oocytes and 33.7% with vitrified oocytes.
- By transfer birth rate
- 25.8% when using fresh oocytes and 24.6% with vitrified oocytes.
However, these percentages are higher when donor eggs are used due to their normally higher quality. Specifically, the gestation rate with fresh donor eggs is 55.1% and with vitrified eggs 50.6%.
If you want to learn more about IVF success in general, you can continue reading this article: Problems in In vitro fertilization: Success Rates in Assisted Reproduction.
FAQs from users
Is IVF with frozen eggs better than IVF with fresh eggs?
Egg freezing and vitrification are techniques used to preserve eggs for an indeterminate period of time. Until relatively recently, slow freezing was the most commonly used technique, but it has now been replaced by vitrification.
Vitrification and devitrification procedures are standardised processes that allow the risks of survival of both oocytes and embryos to be reduced to a minimum. Although it is true that, as with all assisted reproduction techniques, there are associated risks, reduced to around 3% both in terms of survival and in terms of a decrease in the potential success of the embryos. It is important to bear in mind that the survival of the embryos may be affected by poor handling or acceptance of the oocytes to the cryoprotectants, which may result in the oocytes not being able to survive the technique.
The decrease in survival will be associated with starting the microinjection process with fewer oocytes than those previously vitrified, but those that are able to evolve have gestational success rates similar to those of fresh oocytes.
Apart from the oocyte quality, the usefulness of vitrified oocytes, especially from donors, lies in the possibility of better coordination of the cycle and even the possibility of carrying out the transfer in fresh and natural cycle.
In any case, what is really important is the achievement of a full-term pregnancy, regardless of the fresh or frozen origin of the gametes or embryos.
Is IVF with frozen eggs better than IVF with fresh eggs?
Ovodonation with vitrified eggs has very similar pregnancy rates to fresh eggs. The only difference may be in the number of eggs from which the eggs are retrieved. In addition, it is also vitally important to have the survival rate of devitrification of the eggs.
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Sociedad Española de Fertilidad. Registro Nacional de Actividad 2018-Registro SEF (ver)
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