CT Fertility is now offering a breakthrough for fertility treatment, egg freezing using oocyte vitrification. Cryopreservation, (freezing of human eggs) is a relatively new, advanced technology designed to help extend human fertility for patients who are at risk for losing their ovarian function (prior to chemotherapy, for example) or who wish to "bank" their younger eggs for future use.
The advancement of vitrification goes a step beyond the slower freeze methods, which have been traditionally used to freeze sperm and embryos. The slower freeze methods have proven less desirable for preserving human eggs, because of the increased damage risk of ice crystals forming within the egg upon freezing. Vitrification is a "quick -freeze" technique that minimizes the formation of ice crystals. This is achieved by using high concentrations of cryoprotectorant with rapid freezing to solidify the cell. The frozen eggs are then flash-frozen in a tiny droplet of media on a very thin plastic stick.
For cancer patients, egg freezing offers the option to preserve fertility before undergoing oncology treatments. Major advances in chemotherapy and radiation over the past three decades have led to improvements in the cure rates of various malignancies occurring during the reproductive years. However, these treatments also have the potential to cause permanent infertility. A patient's eggs are retrieved prior to oncology treatments and cryopreserved. After completion of cancer treatments and the restoration of health, the eggs are thawed and combined with sperm to create embryos. The embryos are then transferred back to the uterus.
It is also important to note that in late 2012 the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and other researchers concluded that rapid egg freezing (oocyte vitrification) should no longer be considered experimental.