The aim of this procedure is to preserve the oocytes, sperm or embryos obtained in Assisted Reproduction processes so that they may be use in future attempts.
Testicular and ovarian tissue may also be cryopreserved in special circumstances.
All cryopreserved material is stored in liquid nitrogen at -196 ºC. The preservation containers used are special tanks designed for the preservation of biological samples which are located in an independent room fitted with the necessary equipment to guarantee the safe and correct preservation of the samples.
Advances are continually being made in cryopreservation techniques with the aim of improving survival and viability rates after thawing.
Up to a few years ago, the most commonly used method for gamete and embryo cryopreservation was a slow freezing method, also known as the conventional method. Over the past few years, a new ultrafast cryopreservation technique has appeared, called vitrification. This technique is gaining more widespread use as it is a more straightforward procedure and, in some cases, similar if not better results have been demonstrated.
The cryopreservation of semen is a very widespread technique as it largely facilitates intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF cycles. It allows sperm banks to be created and guarantees the preservation of valuable samples; due to scarcity of sperm in semen, due to risk of deterioration or due to the difficulty in obtaining a semen sample.