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200 West 57th Street, Suite 1101
New York, NY 10019
212-810-2828

 

Our Process

Our Lab

Explore our lab step-by-step:

1

Workstation with pass-through window

The lab is connected to the procedure room, where the retrieval occurs, by a pass-through window. During the retrieval, the physician passes tubes containing the eggs through this window to the embryologist at this workstation. Here, the embryologist looks through a microscope to identify and isolate the eggs, and transfers them to dishes containing fresh media. Every surface of this station is warmed to 37º Celsius, or human body temperature, to maintain the quality of the eggs.

The lab is connected to the procedure room, where the retrieval occurs, by a pass-through window. During the retrieval, the physician passes tubes containing the eggs through this window to the embryologist at this workstation. Here, the embryologist looks through a microscope to identify and isolate the eggs, and transfers them to dishes containing fresh media. Every surface of this station is warmed to 37º Celsius, or human body temperature, to maintain the quality of the eggs.

2

Benchtop incubator

Next, the embryologist places the eggs into this specialized incubator for an hour and a half. Six small chambers in this incubator allow precise control and stability of temperature and pH levels. Each chamber contains only one patient’s eggs. This is a superior system to the box incubator used in many labs; a box incubator contains many patients’ eggs, experiences more extreme temperature and pH fluctuations whenever the door is opened, and takes longer to return to the optimal temperature and pH.

Next, the embryologist places the eggs into this specialized incubator for an hour and a half. Six small chambers in this incubator allow precise control and stability of temperature and pH levels. Each chamber contains only one patient’s eggs. This is a superior system to the box incubator used in many labs; a box incubator contains many patients’ eggs, experiences more extreme temperature and pH fluctuations whenever the door is opened, and takes longer to return to the optimal temperature and pH.

3

Return to workstation

After an hour and a half, the embryologist carefully removes the extra cells surrounding each egg. The bare oocyte can now be evaluated for maturity, a characteristic visible to the trained eye of an embryologist.

After an hour and a half, the embryologist carefully removes the extra cells surrounding each egg. The bare oocyte can now be evaluated for maturity, a characteristic visible to the trained eye of an embryologist.

4

Inverted microscope (high magnification)

The embryologist verifies the maturity of the eggs using this microscope, which allows detailed observation of the morphology (or form) of the egg. Mature eggs are those that have the potential to be fertilized; only mature eggs are frozen.

The embryologist verifies the maturity of the eggs using this microscope, which allows detailed observation of the morphology (or form) of the egg. Mature eggs are those that have the potential to be fertilized; only mature eggs are frozen.

5

Filling a container with liquid nitrogen

The embryologist fills a small container with liquid nitrogen and brings it to a second workstation, where the eggs will be vitrified.

The embryologist fills a small container with liquid nitrogen and brings it to a second workstation, where the eggs will be vitrified.

6

Vitrification process workstation

The embryologist begins the process of vitrification at the second workstation. The eggs are placed into a special solution that removes water and replaces it with a cryoprotectant to prevent harmful ice crystals from damaging the egg during freezing. Once the eggs are ready, they are carefully placed onto a small device called a “straw.” The straw is plunged into liquid nitrogen, immediately freezing the eggs into a glasslike state. All the straws containing an individual patient’s eggs are then placed into a container, called a goblet.

The embryologist begins the process of vitrification at the second workstation. The eggs are placed into a special solution that removes water and replaces it with a cryoprotectant to prevent harmful ice crystals from damaging the egg during freezing. Once the eggs are ready, they are carefully placed onto a small device called a “straw.” The straw is plunged into liquid nitrogen, immediately freezing the eggs into a glasslike state. All the straws containing an individual patient’s eggs are then placed into a container, called a goblet.

7

Labels are made for identification

All the dishes used during the laboratory process are labeled with the patient’s name, date of retrieval, and an unique code used by the laboratory team. A printed label is placed on the straw containing 5 identifiers: the patient’s name, date of birth, medical record number, date when the eggs were frozen, and the unique code used by the lab team; the label also notes number of eggs on the straw. The straws are then placed in a goblet, which itself has two forms of identification.

All the dishes used during the laboratory process are labeled with the patient’s name, date of retrieval, and an unique code used by the laboratory team. A printed label is placed on the straw containing 5 identifiers: the patient’s name, date of birth, medical record number, date when the eggs were frozen, and the unique code used by the lab team; the label also notes number of eggs on the straw. The straws are then placed in a goblet, which itself has two forms of identification.

8

Nitrogen tank for storage

Frozen eggs are stored in specialized liquid nitrogen tanks at a temperature of -196 degrees, a temperature that halts all metabolic activity (AKA aging). They’ll be stored in a nitrogen tank at this temperature until they’re ready to use!

Frozen eggs are stored in specialized liquid nitrogen tanks at a temperature of -196 degrees, a temperature that halts all metabolic activity (AKA aging). They’ll be stored in a nitrogen tank at this temperature until they’re ready to use!

The Egg Freezing Experts

Our lab is led by highly experienced and knowledgeable embryologists, scientists who specialize in human reproduction.

Meet the lab team.

How Frozen Eggs Are Used

If you freeze your eggs and decide later you’re ready to start a family, the eggs will be carefully thawed and fertilized to create embryos.

Learn More.

What is Oocyte Cryopreservation?

Oocyte cryopreservation—egg freezing—has been studied by physicians and other experts for decades.

See the research.

Get the FAQs.

You probably have questions—we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive FAQs, organized by topic. Something you don't see? Just ask!

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