Emma Wren Gibson, frozen as an embryo in 1992, was born in 2017, more than 25 years later.Frozen embryo transfer is one of the procedures in invitro fertilisation(IVF).IVF is one assistive reproductive technology(ART) used to establish pregnancy.It involves retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in the laboratory. This fertilized egg known as an embryo can then be frozen for storage or transferred to a woman’s uterus. Emmas’s is the longest an embryo is known to have been frozen before being born as baby.
ART procedures and IVF
IVF is used in women experiencing difficulty to conceive.This may include male or female genetic defects,abnormal sperm production in male,ovulation problems in female among many.Major ARTs are In vitro fertilization (IVF),Intracystoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI),Gamete intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT),Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) and Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET).Most of these techniques relies on embryo transfer.
In Vitro Fertilisation involves uniting the ovum with the spermatozoon in vitro in order to obtain fertilised embryos for transfer to the mother’s uterus.First step to IVF is ovarian stimulation.Ovarian stimulation consists of the administration of daily injections which cause the ovaries, instead of producing a single ovum which is what they do naturally each month, to produce more oocytes so that a larger number of embryos can be obtained.
Multiple eggs are desired because some eggs will not develop or fertilize after retrieval.Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity to remove the eggs. Medication is provided to reduce and remove potential discomfort.The male is asked to produce a sample of sperm, which is prepared for combining with the eggs.In a process called insemination, the sperm and eggs are mixed together and stored in a laboratory dish to encourage fertilization.The eggs are monitored to confirm that fertilization and cell division are taking place. Once this occurs, the fertilized eggs are considered embryos.
The embryos are usually transferred into the woman’s uterus three to five days following egg retrieval and fertilization. A catheter or small tube is inserted into the uterus to transfer the embryos.If the procedure is successful, implantation typically occurs around six to ten days following egg retrieval.
Frozen Embryo Transfer
A frozen embryo transfer (FET) is a cycle where a frozen embryo from an earlier cycle is thawed and transferred back into a woman’s uterus. This means that woman has an egg or embryo ready for assistive reproduction procedure.She does not have to undergo a cycle of hormone stimulation and egg collection. Frozen embryo cycles can be undertaken on natural cycles or ovulation stimulation.
As mentioned earlier, during an IVF cycles more than one embryo may be created.But it is recommended to transfer only one and freeze others. This is due to the serious risks associated with multiple pregnancies if more than one embryo is transferred at a time.Once the embryo transfer has been made,remaining good quality embryos are vitrified so that they can be used in a later IVF cycles.
Embryo freezing gives you more chances for a pregnancy . If pregnancy is not achieved from the first transfer , we can transfer a frozen embryo during a frozen embryo transfer cycle.
This cuts down on the amount of time that is needed for each ART cycle. The quality of eggs deteriorates with age, leading to the possibility of having a more difficult time conceiving. The more quality of eggs, the better the chance that they will be of high enough quality to result in pregnancy. FET offers the patient the chance to use more quality possible eggs as this is vitrified during earlier ovulation cycles.
The biggest benefit of FET is fertility preservation.There can be cases where some have a serious illness such as cancer that will potentially risk damage to your eggs or sperm from chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other treatments, including surgery.This can affect the fertility in future. FET can also help those people who are not in a position to have a babies right now but would want later and also those who would like the opportunity to start a family beyond the age at which fertility naturally declines.
Fertility preservation options for women include egg freezing, embryo freezing and ovarian tissue freezing.
Embryo freezing is used when there is partner or donor .Frozen embryos can be stored for many years.
Egg freezing is a method of storing a woman’s unfertilised eggs. To obtain eggs for freezing, a woman would usually have hormonal stimulation for 10 – 12 days. Frozen eggs may be stored for many years without significant deterioration. When the woman is ready to use her eggs, they are warmed, and then fertilised with sperm.
Ovarian tissue freezing involves removing a small piece of ovarian tissue from one ovary, cutting it into tiny slices and then freezing it. Later, when you are ready to try to conceive, the ovarian tissue slices are grafted back into your pelvis. Around nine months later, the grafted ovarian tissue can start to produce reproductive hormones and follicular development. Pregnancy may be achieved either with ovarian stimulation and IVF, or perhaps even naturally. Moaza Al Matrooshi was born with a serious blood disorder.By the age of nine ,she needed chemotherapy treatment for the disorder. She is the first to give birth after having her fertility restored using ovarian tissue frozen before the onset of puberty.She delivered a healthy baby boy.
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