What is volume reduction in vitrification?

What is volume reduction in vitrification?

Vitrification is a cryopreservation technique used for freezing eggs/embryos. This is a revolutionary technique of achieving glass-like solidification of a solution by an extreme elevation in viscosity at low temperatures without the formation of intracellular crystals.

One of the main challenges faced in the cooling process is the ice crystal formation. Ice crystals can cause the cell membrane to shred or rupture. In order to avoid this, before freezing, the eggs/embryos are incubated in a solution known as the cryoprotectants which draw out the water from their cells.

Steps involved in vitrification:

  • Dehydration of the egg or embryo by exposing it to a high concentration of cryoprotectants
  • Loading the egg or embryo into a carrier system.
  • The egg or embryo in the carrier system is then rapidly cooled at a very low temperature.

In order to use these vitrified eggs/embryos, they must be dipped in a thawing solution for a few minutes and cleaned later on. This process is known as “warming”.

What is volume reduction in vitrification?

To decrease the probability of intracellular crystals, the volume of the cryoprotectants used while loading the eggs/embryos into the storage devices must be minimized. This will ensure proper vitrification of the eggs and embryos.

There are many storage devices available in the market. In order to protect the embryos/eggs of any kind of cryoinjury, it is best to choose a device that has low thermal mass and holds a low volume of cryoprotectants. We at Nova, use the cryotops that store eggs/embryos with extremely low volume of cryoprotectants and enable rapid cooling and warming process thus ensuring complete survival of the eggs and embryos.