The concept of fast freezing or vitrification was first described more than 80 years ago by Basile J. Luyet, the so-called Father of Cryobiology (Luyet, 1937). He showed that supercooled solutions could be solidified without crystallization, forming a glass-like state. Already then, the potential of the technique and the associated challenges were in the research spotlight. Today, we’ve managed to overcome all methodological-related issues of vitrification. It has evolved into a reliable and efficient method to freeze oocytes and embryos. Vitrification is used for medically assisted reproduction and fertility preservation: the goal is to ensure the maximum survival rate with the highest level of biosafety. In this blog post, we will compare closed and open carrier devices for vitrification.
Cryopreservation or cryostorage of gametes and embryos involves storage at ultra-low temperatures (under -140°C). The preservation refers to the ability to maintain cellular functionalities and viability after thawing or warming.
Liquid nitrogen is inert, odorless, colourless, non-corrosive, non-flammable, and extremely cold. It has been the substance of choice for cryostorage in most applications as it achieves temperatures of -196°C (-320°F) when materials are fully submerged.