News Release

February 22, 2011

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services Announces First Births from Frozen Eggs

One of Select Few IVF Centers to Complete Study on Egg Freezing to Preserve Future Fertility

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services (CARS) at the University of Connecticut Health Center has just completed a clinical study to evaluate the efficacy of egg freezing in patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Egg freezing is a new technology that will allow patients the option of storing frozen eggs instead of embryos, eliminating some of the ethical and religious concerns that accompany embryo freezing, storage and disposal.

The research was conducted at CARS by Dr. Claudio Benadiva, director of the IVF Laboratory, and Linda Siano, chief embryologist, and they evaluated a method of rapid freezing of eggs called vitrification. According to Benadiva, “This new technology has the potential to revolutionize the field of reproductive medicine, offering a clinically viable alternative to women seeking to preserve fertility for medical reasons, or who are of reproductive age but simply not ready to start a family.”

Patients who volunteered to participate in the study had a portion of their eggs frozen during a process in which eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, frozen in a cryoprotective solution and then thawed. The thawed eggs were then warmed and fertilized with their male partner’s sperm through a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and used to obtain a pregnancy.

In this study, CARS found positive results. Preliminary data demonstrates a clinical pregnancy rate of 53.8 percent and a live birth/ongoing pregnancy rate of 46.1 percent. So far, six babies (one set of twins) have been born from frozen eggs to patients who participated in the study.

The CARS operational laboratory director Joni Stehlik says, “The results from this study show promise and are very encouraging. We will continue to analyze the data and refine our technique to provide patients with the absolute best chance for success.” In her previous position, Stehlik was responsible for the first birth in the U.S. from a frozen egg utilizing the vitrifcation technique in 2002.

At the present time, egg freezing is considered experimental by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. This is in part due to the fact that many centers around the country currently offering egg freezing have had a very low success rate regarding pregnancy. According to Benadiva, “We plan to begin offering egg freezing as a clinical option to patients sometime in the first half of 2011. We will be one of a select few centers doing so after having demonstrated measureable success under the auspices of an IRB approved clinical trial.” Candidates for this new technology will include patients desiring fertility preservation prior to undergoing cancer treatment or for other medical reasons, IVF patients who decline embryo freezing, as well as women seeking elective fertility preservation for other non-medical reasons.

According to the most recent data, it is estimated that close to 900 births have occurred worldwide from egg freezing with about 600 from the past three years.

The UConn Health Center was one of the first academic medical centers to establish an IVF program which started in the early 1980’s and has grown to be the largest fertility center in the state with nearly 1000 cycles completed in the last year. For more information about CARS or for more details on this study’s results, call 860-679-4580 or go to The Center’s website at

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