Practice Tip: Freezing matings with various stages/grades

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Published on: December 21, 2012

In our system we place straws containing embryos in Ethylene Glycol (EG) into the freezer 5 minutes after they are transferred into EG from holding media.  During this 5 minute equilibration time, the embryos are loaded into straws and sealed with plastic straw tops.  On larger double digit matings with embryos of various stages and grades, it can be a challenge to find, identify, and load each embryo into the corresponding straw within this time frame as the embryos spread out into “chaos” when they go into EG.  One efficiency trick our embryologists have found is to presort the embryos into stage/grade groups while still in the final holding well and load the transfer pipette in groups with a little fluid and/or air space separating each group.  This allows one to dispense the embryos into the EG dish one group at a time and in separate areas of the dish to keep embryos of the same stage/grade together.  Essentially, this takes the “chaos” out of the process and eliminates one from having to take precious seconds to decipher whether an embryo was a 5-1 or 5-2, etc.  It also reduces anxiety as the timer ticks away on its way to 5 minutes.

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