Cryopreservation

If fertility issues have prevented you from having children, consider UW Health's Generations team of experts. Cryopreservation -- a technique for freezing sperm or embryos for future use -- is just one way that we can help improve your chances of building a family.
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Overview

Helping you preserve your future fertility

At Generations Fertility Care, we use cryopreservation to preserve your chance to have a baby. Cryopreservation refers to the freezing of sperm or embryos and storing them for future use.

About

What is cryopreservation?

We provide two ways of extending your fertility.

When you complete in vitro fertilization (IVF), many embryos are created. You will likely have enough embryos to get pregnant more than once. You can freeze some embryos for later pregnancies. Embryos can be stored for many years. More than half of your embryos will be healthy after thawing.

You can bank sperm for future use. Frozen sperm stay healthy for a long time. Once thawed, sperm can be used in fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination or IVF.

Who benefits from cryopreservation? 

Cryopreservation helps many people achieve fertility and get pregnant. You may benefit from embryo freezing if you:

  • Are approaching an advanced reproductive age and not yet ready to have children

  • Are part of a same-sex couple or other LGBTQ+ relationship and wish to have children

  • Have cancer and want to have children when you are cancer-free

  • Have a genetic disorder that affects reproduction

  • Plan future fertility treatments for additional children

  • Take medicines that affect fertility

  • Will soon undergo chemotherapy 

Sperm cryopreservation can help if you:

  • Have a condition that requires sperm be gathered through surgery

  • Will receive future cancer treatments

Evaluating embryos for freezing

The embryologist on your fertility team monitors and tests your embryos. The doctor selects the healthiest, strongest embryos for freezing.

Treatment process

How we freeze embryos and sperm

Similar methods are used for embryo and sperm cryopreservation.

Your fertility team stores your frozen embryos or sperm in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures until you need them.

Before you can freeze your embryos, they must be created. Here’s how the process works:

  • You take hormones and fertility medicines to help your body produce eggs.

  • Your doctor harvests the eggs.

  • Your doctor exposes the eggs to sperm.

  • If you choose IVF, sperm are placed with the eggs in a laboratory for fertilization to take place. The embryos develop for six days.

  • If intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used, your doctor injects one sperm into each egg. The fertilized eggs divide for six days.

  • Your fertility team chooses the healthiest embryos for freezing.

  • The doctor places the embryos in a cryoprotectant solution. The cryoprotectant replaces the water in the cells.

  • The doctor cools the embryos to a preservation state.

To freeze sperm, a method similar to embryo cryopreservation is used:

  • You provide a sperm sample.

  • The doctor places the sperm in a cryoprotectant solution. The cryoprotectant replaces the water in the cells.

  • The doctor cools the sperm to a frozen state.

Meet our team

Caring experts by your side

The fertility team at UW Health’s Generations Fertility Care includes experts in fertility, reproduction and embryology.

Our providers

Locations

Cryopreservation locations

We offer specialized fertility treatments at Generations Fertility Care in Middleton.

  • Generations Fertility Care
    Generations Fertility Care
    Generations Fertility Care
    • 2365 Deming Way / Middleton, WI
    • (608) 824-6160
    • Open now
    • At Generations Fertility Clinic, our reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists combine state-of-the art technology and compassionate, personalized care to serve couples who wish to become parents.

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      View hours, services and more

Awards

Nursing excellence

When you come to Generations Fertility Care, you work with highly skilled nurses and nurse practitioners. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) named us a nursing center of excellence. We earned this recognition because:

  • At least half of our nursing team completed ASRM’s intense training course

  • Our nurses have at least 2,000 hours of nursing experience 

  • Our nurses have 1,000 hours in women's health care experience

Only 8 percent of fertility care clinics earn the ASRM nursing excellence designation.