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Leftover embryos from an ivf treatment can be frozen or cryopreserved if they are morphologically viable. The cryopreservation allows clinics to keep the embryos frozen for a long period of time without any effects on their quality. Vitrification is the method generally used for the embryo cryopreservation.
Only good morphologically embryos will be frozen as they would otherwise not survive the freezing process. However some frozen embryos may still not survive the thawing despite being morphologically correct.
Embryos are stored in special protected containers filled with liquid nitrogen at a steady temperature of -196 ºc. These containers, called embryo banks, have an accurate system of site and label identifiers of the stored samples.
Vitrified embryos can be thawed and transferred whenever patients wish. This allows them to make a new attempt to get pregnant without having to undergo a new in-vitro fertilization cycle.
In some cases embryo freezing may be recommended for women who are at high risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome following an ivf ovarian stimulation.