MadSci Network: Development

Re: How long can a human embryo stay frozen and remain viable?

Date: Fri Jul 28 15:53:37 2000
Posted By: R. James Swanson, Faculty, Biological Sciences, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Old Dominion University
Area of science: Development
ID: 960754054.Dv

Dear Diedre,
 There is no known limit to viability in LN2 (liquid nitrogen) if the cells were 
viable when frozen and the protocol for thawing doesn’t do any damage to the 
cells.  This could be 20 minutes, 20 years, or 20 centuries as far as is known.  
The reason is that at –195.8 degrees centigrade, essentially all molecular 
activity stops so that the cell is very stable in storage over very long periods 
of time.  This assumes that the material is never allowed to come out of the LN2 
until time to thaw.
Dr. Swanson

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