What is a Cryobank?
The preservation of genetic material not only for procreation, but also for the fight against disease and aging is the goal of advanced cryotechnology. Solution of fertility issues, treatment of various types of oncology, medical research are already being successfully carried out with the help of cryobanks.
So, own or donor cryo-frozen eggs at Feskov Human Reproductive Group allow you to become parents of a healthy baby at any time. And this is just the beginning!
Cryobank - what is it?
A medical institution that is engaged in the extraction and storage of organic materials (cells and tissues of the human body) in a state of ultra-deep freeze is called a cryobank. Fast freezing process and saving at low temperatures, prevents sample deformation or deterioration.
Scientists are developing technologies of cryopreservation since the 1950s. Recent achievements in this direction allow modern doctors to preserve any amount of necessary materials.
Usually, tissues made of cryobanks are called “frozen”. Although, in fact, most of the methods used do not freeze, but quickly cool the materials, and then store them in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degrees. Since, during normal freezing, ice crystals form in the cells, which can ruin delicate tissues. Therefore, experts prefer to call samples not frozen, but cryopreserved.
Features of cryobank functioning
The first stage is the selection and preparation of samples for cryopreservation. In special laboratories, tissues and cells are carefully checked for the presence of infectious agents and compliance with medical requirements for sterility. Since the infected variants are not suitable for cryo procedure and further use.
The second stage is a special ultra-fast freezing process (vitrification), during which the water molecules in the cells do not turn into frozen crystals. This preserves tissues well without damaging cells, and contributes to their unchanged appearance when thawed. Freezing stops any metabolic activity and cell function. They seem to sleep until the required date, without changing their preserved shape and their inherent characteristics. Since samples of different structure require different cooling rates and different temperatures, the procedure is carried out by qualified personnel in compliance with special protocols.
The third stage includes placement and occlusion of cryopreserved materials in small plastic containers, which are immersed in large thermoses with liquid nitrogen - Dewars. The containers are stored in the cryopreservation unit of the cryobank and the materials from them are used as needed for research, reproductive or other purposes. This storage method provides not only high safety of the samples, but also prevents any bacterial or viral contamination of tissues.
Restoring materials after freezing is a very delicate procedure that requires compliance with sanitary and technological standards and the skill of specialists. In 99% of cases, tissues and cells remain the same as they were before the cryo procedure.
What can be stored in a cryobank?
Usually such cryostorage facilities are designed to ensure the preservation of:
- tissue samples (skin cells, bones).
Technologies of cryopreservation have proven to be excellent for storing materials containing a small number of cells. Human organs (heart, kidneys, lungs), which are more complex structures in terms of organization, are not yet able to be frozen and stored for a long time. Interestingly, some cryobanks successfully bin samples of various endangered coral species! This makes it possible for marine invertebrates to survive, and for people to preserve their species diversity.
The benefits of cryobank
There is an opinion that such institutions specialize exclusively in the treatment of infertility and storage of genetic material. However, the range of their services is expanding more and more:
- Fertility and family creation. Surrogacy, IVF, donation can no longer be imagined without the storage of sperm, eggs and embryos. If several attempts of “conception in a test tube” are necessary, the genetic material preserved in the cryobank will make it possible to reduce the time and effort required to continue the necessary manipulations. Wherein, frozen embryos, which can be transported from any country in the world for implantation into the uterus of an ordinary or surrogate mother, have already been tested for genetic pathology using the PGD method. For families who want to postpone the birth of a child indefinitely, this can be a guarantee of their future. Since the stored sperm, oocytes and embryos do not deteriorate or lose their qualities, the family can afford to choose the right time to replenish the family.
- Health. A new service, the so-called "bioinsurance", has replaced the simple storage of stem cells, which are present in the body throughout life. These biological structures are the non-specialized building blocks for every part of the human body. That is, they can be used to restore any organ or system of the body, in case of damage or as a result of aging processes. Young stem cells can be collected at any age. Regeneration and treatment of the skin, neurons, bones, capillaries and other parts of the body is a field of their use in medicine. Proactively collecting and storing these cells before they are needed will ensure better recovery from illness or injury.
- Special cases and preventive medicine. The uncertainty of the future for people in difficult life situations is an ordeal. Chemotherapy for oncology, vasectomy, tubal ligation, other invasive treatments - different things can happen. Therefore, it is advisable to preserve a certain amount of healthy genetic material in case the germ cells are damaged or a person changes his mind about procreation. And for military personnel or employees with a high degree of risk to life, freezing and storing their genetic material is an alternative in case something happens to them. Thus, the cryobank will contribute to the continuation of the family line even after their death.
As you can see, with development of cryotechnology, the scope of its application for the benefit of people is also expanding.
Cryobank - the choice of the future
Inspired by the current success and hypothetical prospects, scientists continue to work on the creation and discovery of new effective methods of using equipment with the prefix "cryo". They are warmed by the hope that someday, maybe even in the near future, many diseases can be eradicated from the face of the Earth (especially degenerative ones - Alzheimer's or multiple sclerosis). And disabled people will become healthy people with the help of frozen cells and tissues. Not to mention the birth of absolutely healthy, genetically and physically, children of any family.
Protecting human health and well-being from the uncertainty of the future - it's all cryobank!
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