Patients can expect different scenarios for the different freezing options. There are 2 main scenarios that one can expect are non-invasive and invasive treatment options.
Sperm freezing is the only process that is non-invasive. To freeze one’s sperm, a sperm sample needs to be passed at our clinic (in a private room), which is subsequently frozen on the same day within the laboratory by an embryologist.
Testis biopsy samples, eggs, embryos and ovarian tissue cryopreservation all involve different (but very similar) forms of invasive interaction. These treatments require light anaesthesia whereby the eggs are removed from the ovaries (in the case of egg freezing and the beginning stage for embryo freezing), testicular tissue is removed from testicles (in the case of a testis biopsy freezing) and ovarian tissue is removed (in the case of ovarian tissue freezing), respectively. For embryo freezing, the retrieved eggs then need to be inseminated and grown in the laboratory for 5-6 days in order for some to reach blastocyst stage. At blastocyst stage, the best quality embryos are then frozen. To use any of the frozen samples, a thawing procedure takes place whereby the tissue/gamete/embryo is thawed and then used to transfer back into the uterus (in the case of an embryo), inseminated and grown to blastocyst stage (in the case for thawed eggs), or processed and used for an insemination within an ICSI cycle (in the case of testis biopsy sperm), respectively. The use of thawed ovarian tissue is still in an experimental stage, however, there are a few exciting developments regarding the use of this tissue in the pipeline.