Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Cryopreservation of tissue

The cryopreservation of entire bodies has never been proven to work. However, it is possible to cryopreserve smaller body parts and tissues. Unlike cryonics, cryopreserving other tissues does not promise resuscitation in the future, but could provide benefits to the life of the person donating the tissue and to other people. Tissues and cells that can successfully be cryopreserved include human eggs and sperm, early-stage embryos, blood and specific cells from the blood, ovarian tissue and samples or slices of other tissue. Entire human organs have not yet been successfully cryopreserved, but some researchers estimate it may be possible within the next decade.

Tissue can be cryopreserved for future use by the person who donated the tissue, as often happens with stem cells, as well as eggs, sperm and other reproductive cells and tissue. For information on cryopreservation relating to fertility treatment, please refer to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Some tissue may be preserved for donation to other people or use as a medical treatment. Cryopreserved tissues and cells may also be stored for scientific research purposes. Both of these areas are regulated by the HTA.

Cryopreserving tissue - is this different to cryonics? Can stem cells, eggs, sperm and other tissues be cryopreserved for fertility treatment?
Last updated on: 26 Sep 2018