News & Resources

Ultra-Rapid Embryo Freezing | Vitrification | REACH

May 30, 2014
By Dr. Jack Crain

This is a fascinating story of a relatively new fertility technique and its far-reaching impact. In the summer of 2009, REACH first employed embryologists who were experienced in a method of embryo freezing called vitrification. This ultra-rapid freezing technique has dramatically changed how we help families grow. At first, the goal was to improve the efficiency of freezing multiple embryos. As more and more embryos survived, the process quickly proved successful and frozen embryo transfers were found to be equal in quality to that of fresh transfers, all resulting in healthy babies.

The next step was to protect over-responsive patients against complicated hospital stays by deferring embryo transfer and pregnancy.  The successful outcome led us to conclude that most patients who were responding normally could defer transfer with improved results.  By 2012, unfertilized mature eggs could be safely saved for future use, establishing vitrification as a tremendous asset to fertility preservation.  Cancer patients , such as those scheduled for chemotherapy, find this process especially beneficial to their situation, allowing them to still hope and plan for a family in the future.

In 2014 we saw a shift as some insurance companies began to accept oocyte oncofertility cryopreservation (cryopreserving for Cancer patients) as no longer experimental.  Now a universally accepted procedure, SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) has decided to change transfer efficiency documentation, whether fresh or frozen, to “1sttransfer of either.”  Along with the positive reception from insurance companies, future transfer success will be further enhanced by affordable genetic screening for single gene diseases and/or normal chromosome count, moving towards single embryo transfers.  It is this progress that allows us to continue to provide our patients with not only hope, but viable fertility solutions as well.

Our Partners: