By Dr Ruby Sehra
Today’s progressive generation has transformed the idea of relationships and marriage institutions. As the responsibilities come along with children in the family, many couples find it better to delay the process as they remain busy with their career dynamics for a certain period of time or other responsibilities before they are mentally prepared to welcome a child. Many families are seen freezing their embryos in this regard.
Recently a news report about a baby born from 27 years old frozen embryo claimed to have set a world record for the oldest embryo ever. As the world is growing at a faster pace, childbirth also needs to be managed such that women need to be freer about their choices of motherhood and biological clocks. Freezing embryo adds to the relief of such women. At the same time, right information should be considered.
So, what exactly is frozen embryo?
It is a process in which an embryo is preserved for later use till the time a couple is ready for parenting as per their choice.
The couple should bear in mind certain pointers before going for it:
*Procedure is done for PCOS patients to avoid hyper stimulation syndrome
*Implantation and pregnancy rates are better with frozen embryos
*Chances of congenital malformations are not high
*It may include multiple visits to clinic
*Male partner’s presence is also needed for a couple of tests as he may also need to be examined for the purpose as per the case
*Treatment for IVF continues at the time of transfer
*Anaesthesia given at the time of retrieval of eggs may cause nausea, vomiting etc.
*The cost is high
Process of freezing embryo
On the first day of consultation, the concerned doctor may ask about menstrual cycle, medical histories and other reports of diseases the woman is already suffering from and suggest accordingly. Now during the process, medication for the stimulation of ovary can continue for the collection of suitable eggs. Eggs are retrieved through a process that may continue for a couple of days. After that, those eggs are exposed to the sperms in lab and left to develop embryo under certain chemical and medical conditions. Once the embryo develops, it is immediately frozen with vitrification, a process which actually has revolutionised the process of freezing embryos. Once the embryos are frozen, they are left under certain temperature for later use. It may or may not affect the menstrual cycle of a woman. At the time when woman is willing to get pregnant, she undergoes endometrium preparation and embryos are transferred in her ovary and examined for right progress.
The process of freezing embryo is entirely safe if it is done by a qualified team of doctors, suggestions and instructions of doctors are followed without fail and any negligence is best avoided. It would be better to freeze embryo before the age of around 36 years and avoid complications that rise when opting for the procedure around menopause.
Why to freeze embryo?
Freezing embryo allows a number of women to cope with their work and leaves them tension-free as they already have secured their right to choose motherhood.
The author is senior consultant, gyneacology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute