Vitrification of the human embryo: a more efficient and safer in vitro fertilization treatment
The advent of vitrification of human embryos resulted in fundamental changes to in vitro fertilization treatment, making assisted reproduction safer and more efficient.
Volume 113, Issue 2, Pages 241–247
Zsolt Peter Nagy, M.D., Ph.D., H.C.L.D., Daniel Shapiro, M.D., Ching-Chien Chang, Ph.D., H.C.L.D.
Cryopreservation has become a central pillar in assisted reproduction, reflected in the exponential increase of “freeze all” cycles in the past few years. Vitrification makes it possible to cool and warm human eggs and embryos with far less cryo-damage than ‘slow-freeze’ and allows nearly intact survival of embryos with very high survival rates for eggs as well. This has resulted in a complete transformation how we manage treatment for in vitro fertilization patients. Fresh transfers can be avoided without compromising outcomes, and in fact, cumulative pregnancy/delivery rates may be improved by performing sequential elective “frozen” single embryo transfers. Some recent evidence suggests that previously vitrified embryos give better perinatal outcomes than fresh embryo transfers. Frozen embryo transfer, especially when coupled with preimplantation genetic testing allows for highly efficient single embryo transfers that translate to more singleton and therefore safer pregnancies, as well as healthier babies. Additionally, vitrification has also opened new options for patients, most notably fertility preservation (through oocyte cryopreservation), and donor egg banking.