Cryopreservation (Freezing) Services

Galway Fertility Clinic provides a semen and embryo cryopreservation (freezing) service to clients.

Semen Cryopreservation

Semen cryopreservation is encouraged for men who have difficulty providing a semen sample on demand or whose semen parameters are in decline.  These men would still be asked to provide a fresh ejaculate on the day of treatment, keeping the frozen sample in reserve unless needed.  Semen cryopreservation is also advised prior to surgery or commencing a medical regime that may impact on sperm quality (such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy etc).   Freezing sperm in advance of a treatment cycle can also be arranged if the male partner is unable to attend the Clinic when his sperm would be required for treatment (IUI, IVF, ICSI).

There is a fee for semen cryopreservation and recent EU bioscreens must be up to date prior to freezing – this must be verified with the clinic.


Cryopreservation (Freezing) of Embryos

Galway Fertility Clinic offer clients the option to freeze excess, suitable embryos from the 2PN(day 1 post egg collection) to the blastocyst stages(day 5 post egg collection). Approximately 40% of all IVF cycles provide excess embryos that may be suitable for freezing. However all those that are frozen may not survive the thawing process , normally over 95% are expected to survive. All clients are given the opportunity to discuss the details of freezing with one of the embryologists at an early stage in their treatment, and again as your cycle progresses when we can advise if your embryos are suitable for freezing.


Why should I freeze my embryos?

Galway Fertility Clinic offers the opportunity to preserve embryos created during IVF or ICSI, using the vitrification method.

Cryopreservation makes future treatment cycles simpler, less expensive, and less invasive than the initial IVF cycle, since the woman does not require ovarian stimulation or Egg Collection and the man does not have to provide a sperm sample. Embryo cryopreservation enables you to have an additional chance(s) of pregnancy from the one egg collection, thereby giving a higher pregnancy rate per cycle.

Once frozen, embryos may be stored for prolonged periods, and do not deteriorate or age during this time. However, not all embryos survive the freezing and thawing process, and the live birth rate is lower with cryopreserved embryo transfer. At Galway Fertility Clinic over 85% of all cryopreserved eggs/embryos have survived the freeze /thaw process.

Pregnancy rates from fresh IVF cycles in Galway Fertility Clinic average at 50% where as we see 30% pregnancy rates from the FER cycles. This may well be because we select the best embryo(s) for the fresh transfer and freeze the remaining ones. Many of our clients use their frozen embryos for subsequent cycles when advancing age and declining ovarian reserve is reducing their chances of a successful pregnancy.


Medical reasons for cryopreservation of embryos

Embryo cryopreservation is also an option when a fresh embryo transfer cannot take place, as in the following situations:

For example:

  • If there is a risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), or OHSS-like symptoms are observed, the medical consultant may recommend not proceeding with the embryo transfer but rather freezing the embryos, for embryo transfer at a later date when the symptoms have abated.
  • If the endometrium is suboptimal during the IVF cycle.
  • An unrelated medical illness develops which might reduce your chances of pregnancy occurring.

There is a fee for embryo cryopreservation and recent EU bioscreens must be up to date prior to freezing – this must be verified with the clinic.