Ironically, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) played a significant role in spurring the advances in egg freezing technology. As IVF became widespread, the need arose for freezing surplus embryos from the IVF egg harvest.
However, freezing surplus embryos created new problems like ethical concerns about discarding unused embryos, abandonment of embryos and legal dilemmas for fertility clinics. Egg freezing seemed like a viable alternative by storing unfertilized reproductive cells.
Working under Institutional Review Board (IRB), many series of experiments were designed to modify the many variables involved in developing an effective and practical system of freezing and thawing solutions.
Most importantly however, Dr. David Diaz and his team of scientists was dedicated to maintaining the integrity of oocytes by protecting the fragile organelles from the stress of supercooling and the toxicity of chemical solutions. These critical organelles control crucial functions such as coding for protein production, metabolism and the accurate replication of chromosomes.
We were able to show in our Spindle Study that when compared to non frozen eggs, the thawed eggs maintained the integrity of the spindle apparatus which replicated the DNA inside the egg.
Another remarkable discovery we made was that during the freezing and thawing process, certain physical changes occurred in the outer zona membrane of the egg, making it necessary to physically inject a single sperm cell directly into the egg cytoplasm which activated fertilization. This is known as ICSI. Without ICSI it would be difficult for the sperm to spontaneously push through the egg’s hardened outer membrane. Once this was mastered, our team was able to document an 85% fertilization rate.