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The good news: some human cells can be stored for longer periods of time for future use using cryopreservation. These cells (egg cells, embryos, sperm cells or testicular tissue) are frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius (rapid freezing = vitrification) and stored in special cryotanks at the Kinderwunsch Institut Dr Loimer.

The possibility of cryopreservation of embryos offers the couple the following advantages:

  • If frozen embryos exist, they can be used for a frozen embryo transfer without undergoing hormonal stimulation. Frozen transfers are nowhere near as stressful as fresh cycles and have practically the same pregnancy rate. Thanks to the most modern freezing methods, the survival rate of these little ‘polar bears’ after thawing is 98 per cent.
  • Should the couple wish to have one or more children, the cryopreserved embryos can be used for future treatments. Incidentally, these can be stored for up to 10 years at the Kinderwunsch Institut Dr Loimer.

Testicular tissue or sperm can be cryopreserved after a testicular puncture (TESE) or before cancer therapy.

‘Social freezing’ is the freezing of female, unfertilised egg cells for later use. This is only allowed in Austria if the patient has a disease that could destroy the ovarian reserves (e.g. endometriosis).