What is cryopreservation

Equipment of slow programmable freezing. (Eugonia archive)

Equipment of slow programmable freezing. (Eugonia archive)

Cryopreservation is the preservation of cells, tissues or even organs at very low temperatures, with the intention of future use. At the temperature of -196oC, metabolism stops and the cells enter a state of suspended animation making it possible to store them for a long time. To achieve such a low temperature we use liquid nitrogen. The first successful cryopreservation was performed in frogs in 1945. The first animal sperm banks operated in 1949. The first successful inseminations I the human were reported in 1953 (preservation in dry ice, -70oC) and in 1964 in liquid nitrogen. Embryo cryopreservation was first performed in laboratory animals in 1972 and in human in 1984.

Today, cryopreservation is a routine method, allowing the storage of gametes and embryos for an extended period.