My embryos die during the thaw


Poor survival of vitrified cells can be the result of several things. Like all issues in the IVF lab, one has to troubleshoot in a calm controlled manner.

One issue that may arise is that the cells look great during the first part of the thaw and then become grainy and eventually die by the last step. These cells are, most likely, already dead upon thaw in the first solution, but due to the high osmolarity of the media, the cell appears alive and intact until the end of the washing steps. Adding more steps or longer times in the wash steps will not help. These embryos are poor to begin with and do not survive. If more than a few embryos die in this manner, then the problem is most likley procedural.

It is sometimes normal for some embryos, or some of the blastomeres, to become a bit "brown or dark" and/or "grainy" during the thaw procedure. They look perfect in the fist few solutions but then things change a bit. Most of these embryos/cells are still intact and capable of making a baby. As long as the embryo is not totally degenerate or disaggregrated it wil usually do well. Keep track of how often this occurs and track the pregnancies with these embryos to determine if there is a problem or not. Contact us if you have any further questions.

Sometimes a smal change or even using a different storage device can help push survival rates over 90% or even 95%.

Keep in mind, that there are over 35 clinics successfully using the ICE Vitrification system/media so we are confidant that there is nothing wrong with the media/system, and the problem lies elsewhere. Dealing with past issues has led us to realize that the main problems lie with either not following the protocol or poor embryo/egg quality to begin with. Remember that the ICE Vitrification system is very different than other vitrification systems, and different rules may apply.

Please contact us with any and all questions you may have about anything in the protocols. If you don't understand something we can help. A complete understanding of the protocol is the first step to obtaining great results.