Wednesday, 23 September 2015

To Freeze Or Not To Freeze

As stated in the article ‘A precursor to abortion’ by Arthur Galea Salomone (September 14), the Prime Minister is on record saying that he is “resolute on the introduction of embryo freezing”.
Well let’s consider some facts about the freezing of embryos.
Often, when undergoing IVF treatment, people have a number of unused embryos and some choose to freeze them. The couple must decide how long the embryos will be stored (usually 10 years).
The chances of becoming pregnant with a thawed frozen embryo are not affected by the length of time during which the embryo has been stored. But not all embryos will survive freezing and eventual thawing. Occasionally, no embryos survive. Only embryos of suitable quality will be frozen, the rest are destroyed.
What is the chance of having a baby using frozen embryos? Due to the freezing and thawing process, the chances of having a baby using a thawed frozen embryo are lower than with a fresh embryo.
What about costs? In the US, it cost about $10,000 to harvest eggs from the ovaries. The eggs need to be frozen and stored, at a cost of about $500 a year. Each time eggs are thawed, fertilised and transferred to the uterus via IVF it costs about $5,000.
IVF helps thousands of infertile couples. The freezing of embryos entails many issues, as outlined. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of embryos have accumulated in fertility clinics throughout the US, some awaiting transfer but many literally frozen in time as parents ask themselves questions few among us ever consider with such immediacy: when does life begin? What does ‘life’ mean, anyway?