Cryopreservation is a term used to indicate the freezing of embryos, eggs or sperm, in order to preserve them for future use. Embryos are routinely cryopreserved during IVF when extra embryos are available. These embryos can be transferred later on if the first IVF cycle fails or ends in a miscarriage or the couple wants to have another baby. Some couples who want to defer a pregnancy due to personal reasons also opt for freezing of all their embryos for future use.
For men with low sperm counts, ejaculatory problems or for those who need surgical sperm retrieval, sperm can be frozen prior to IVF treatment. Sperms can also be frozen for couples not living together regularly, and these sperms can be used for IUI or IVF even when the husband is away.
Cancer treatments are now highly effective, and cancer survivors lead long & meaningful lives after conquering the disease. However, cancer treatments (including surgery, chemotherapy & radiotherapy) may damage the eggs & sperms temporarily or permanently, and it is advisable to preserve sperms/eggs/embryos before subjecting cancer patients to gonadotoxic treatments.
Social egg freezing
Women who want to get married or plan pregnancies later are at risk of infertility due to increasing age. These women can opt for freezing their eggs or embryos. Though this is not a sure-shot method to preserve fertility, it is a good option in unavoidable circumstances.