Embryo freezing, or "cryopreservation," is a recommended means of saving and storing surplus embryos after the transfer for use in future fertility cycles. Freezing embryos may start as early as one day and as many as six days after a successful IVF fertilization.
The cryopreservation procedure involves placing the embryos into a series of cryoprotectant solutions to assist with the removal of intracellular water. The cooling process takes place in a controlled environment of -196 degrees Celsius for freezing and storing the frozen embryos, which are monitored and housed onsite in secure containers. If and when couples choose to use the frozen embryos, the thawing and application to the uterus will occur via a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) procedure.
Montefiore's Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health also offers oocyte (egg) cryopreservation for those with a medical history of endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, genetic disorders, or early menopause, as well as those who are about to undergo radiation treatment or chemotherapy. Women in their early thirties may also wish to exercise the option of freezing their eggs for having children later in life. Likewise, couples who do not wish to have embryos frozen for ethical or religious reasons may also benefit from freezing eggs for future use.