Egg and embryo banking: Essential elements for maintaining high rates of success

Zsolt Peter Nagy, Antonio Capalbo, Liesl Nel-Themaat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since the beginning of time, it has been the fantasy of men to freeze time. In no other field have we been closer to accomplishing this dream than in the cryopreservation of live tissues, gametes, and embryos. Cryobiology (the study of life at low temperature), as we know it today, has come a very long way to where we now have the ability to freeze and thaw living cells (basically freezing time) while maintaining viability, without any apparent detrimental effects. The first successful mammalian embryo cryopreservation occurred in the 1970s, while the first human pregnancies were achieved relatively soon thereafter, becoming just the ninth mammalian species with normal offspring following the transfer of cryopreserved embryos. Slow freezing is the original and most thoroughly studied method of cryopreserving gametes and embryos. In 1985, vitrification was demonstrated as an alternative to slow freezing in reproductive biology. Since then, there have been several reports of the use of vitrification to cryopreserve human and animal oocytes and embryos. The technique has evolved over the years, leading to the development of novel tools that allow the use of submicroliter volumes, significantly increasing the cooling and warming rates, and subsequently efficiency (see review by Vajita and Nagy 2006).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Oocyte and Embryo Donation
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781447123927
ISBN (Print)1447123913, 9781447123910
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Nagy, Z. P., Capalbo, A., & Nel-Themaat, L. (2013). Egg and embryo banking: Essential elements for maintaining high rates of success. In Principles of Oocyte and Embryo Donation (Vol. 9781447123927, pp. 253-276). Springer-Verlag London Ltd.