Spoiler: your embryo can be frozen for years and years with no harm to the pregnancy rate.
You’ve probably seen those funny, though a bit mean-spirited, memes on-line about “Florida Man.” “Florida man” does reckless, silly or illegal things much more often than men from other parts of the world, it seems. Like “Florida man steals car in jail parking lot after being released on charges of stealing a car.”
Anyway, this past week, Florida man came up again but this time it was a real story and a good news one. A Florida man and his wife received a donated embryo that had been frozen for 15 year. After the embryo transfer, she had a successful pregnancy and birth of a healthy son.
Embryos, particularly those that are fast frozen or vitrified, can stay frozen in liquid nitrogen for years with no harm. A meta-analysis of studies examining the impact of duration of freezing on pregnancy outcomes was published in March 2021 which affirms this statement.
The authors of the analysis state that “…no dose-response association was found between duration of embryo cryostorage and survival rate, implantation rate, miscarriage rate, clinical pregnancy rate or congenital malformation rate.”
This is important for everyone with frozen embryos to know, particularly those people who do not plan to use their frozen embryo(s) for several months or years. Not just in Florida, but at every good IVF lab in the world.
Reference: Ma Y, Liu X, Shi G, Liu Y, Zhou S, Hou W, Xu Y. Storage Time of Cryopreserved Embryos and Pregnancy Outcomes: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2021 Mar;81(3):311-320.
Dr. Beth Taylor MD, FRCSC
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
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