Embryo Warming

Embryo warming is the final step before a frozen embryo transfer

When you undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with more than one embryo. If this happens, your doctor will transfer one of the healthy embryos. As for the additional embryos, you can choose to freeze and store them to use for future pregnancy attempts. Once you decide you want to try to conceive again, the Ovation® Fertility embryologists will start preparation for the embryo warming process.

Each of our embryologists and laboratory directors is well-versed in freezing and thawing procedures. They will use the latest, proven techniques in our state-of-the-art IVF laboratories to increase the likelihood of you achieving your dream of parenthood with your frozen embryos.

How does embryo warming work?

When an embryologist thaws one or more of your embryos, they take them from a frozen state in preparation for your embryo transfer. This is a multi-step process that requires careful preparation and attention to detail.

Before starting the process, an embryologist will prepare a petri dish for each embryo to be thawed. This involves adding the proper culture media in the correct amount before covering it with oil to prevent evaporation.

Embryo thawing then begins when the embryologist removes the embryo from liquid nitrogen storage and verifies all the patient information. To ensure that the correct embryos are thawed, two people will check all the identifying information.

The rest of the embryo warming process involves the following steps in the IVF lab.

  • Placing the embryo freezing device quickly into a body temperature media for rapid thawing to prevent ice formation.
  • Moving the embryo(s) through dropwise thawing solutions to allow delicate equilibration to common media solution concentrations.
  • Transfer each embryo to a fresh dish to be rinsed in culture media

Finally, the embryologist documents everything and transfers the thawed embryo or embryos to an incubator to await the embryo transfer.

Is the thawing process safe and successful?

We understand that frozen embryos are precious, as they represent our patients’ future children. Many patients want to know whether the embryo warming process is safe. The answer is yes. The process typically causes no harm to frozen embryos. Additionally, there’s no evidence that children born from frozen and thawed embryos experience any health or developmental issues.

The other question that patients tend to have is how many embryos survive the thawing process and develop into a pregnancy when transferred. The answer depends in part on the quality of each embryo. This is determined by genetics and biology, which our laboratories cannot control.

However, another factor that determines the success of an embryo thaw is the experience and quality of the lab performing the procedure. Ovation laboratories have proven experience in freezing and thawing procedures, and they meet the highest industry standards. As a result, our labs have high thaw survival rates, which helps improve your likelihood of becoming a parent.

If you would like to learn more about IVF and conceiving with frozen embryos, contact us. You’ll see how putting science and patients first helps make parenthood possible.