Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Meaning Of Embryo, How It Is Created

Embryo freezing is a procedure that allows embryos to be preserved for later use. The first successful pregnancy resulting from freezing a woman’s healthy embryos was in the 1980s. Since then, many embryos have been frozen for later use.

The embryos may be stored to enable a future pregnancy, to donate to others, for medical research or for training purposes.

The process begins by using hormones and other medications to stimulate the production of potentially fertile eggs. The eggs are then extracted from the woman’s ovaries to either be fertilized in a lab or frozen for later use.

Successful fertilization may lead to at least one healthy embryo, which can then be transferred to the woman’s womb or uterus. Hopefully, the embryo will develop and the woman can carry the developing infant through pregnancy to a live birth.

Since fertilization often results in more than one embryo, the remaining embryos can be preserved through freezing.

According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, an embryo is “a human offspring during the period from approximately the second to the eighth week after fertilization.”

Before freezing can take place, suitable embryos have to be created. To create an embryo in the laboratory, the eggs must first be harvested and fertilized.

First, the woman will be given hormones to make sure she ovulates correctly. She is then given fertility medications to increase the number of eggs she produces.

In the hospital, a doctor will extract the eggs, using an ultrasound machine to ensure accuracy. The eggs may be frozen or used at once.

If the woman wishes to become pregnant at once, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used to fertilize the egg.

During the process of IVF, the eggs are exposed to sperm and the mixture is cultured in a laboratory. Fertilization may take 16 to 20 hours. The fertilized eggs are called embryos.

An embryologist will monitor the development of the embryos over the next 6 days, after which a suitable embryo may be chosen for implantation.

In ICSI, once the eggs have been extracted, a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. This may be done if there is a problem with the sperm or if past attempts at IVF have been unsuccessful.

While one embryo can be used for pregnancy, others may be frozen.

How is an embryo frozen?

The main goal of embryo freezing is to preserve the embryo for later use. The biggest problem is the water within the cells. When water freezes, crystals can form. This expansion can burst the cell, causing it to die.

To prevent this happening, the water in the embryo’s cells is replaced with a protective substance called a cryoprotectant. The embryos are left to incubate in increasing levels of cryoprotectant before they are frozen.

Once most of the water has been removed, the embryo is cooled to its preservation state through one of two methods of embryo freezing:

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