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Hum Reprod. 1998 Jun;13(6):1606-12.

Timing of oocyte activation, pronucleus formation and cleavage in humans after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with testicular spermatozoa and after ICSI or in-vitro fertilization on sibling oocytes with ejaculated spermatozoa.

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  • 1Centre for Reproductive Medicine, University Hospital, Dutch-speaking Brussels Free University, Belgium.


In the first study, we evaluated 101 oocytes [2, 4, 6, 8, 16, 18 and 20 h after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)] that had been microinjected with testicular spermatozoa. Of the 70 normally fertilized oocytes (69%) 30 (43%) had two pronuclei by 6 h after ICSI. Fifty-one (73%) by 8 h, 69 (99%) by 16 h and four of them by 20 h cleaved to the 2-cell stage. In the second study, 95 cumulus-corona-oocyte complexes (CCOC) were divided into two groups. Forty-seven CCOC were inseminated by conventional in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and 40 metaphase-II oocytes by ICSI. Oocytes were evaluated at 2, 4, 6 (only after ICSI), 8, 10, 12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 h after both ICSI and IVF. After IVF, 35 oocytes were fertilized normally (75%), four of which (11%) had two pronuclei by 8 h, 11 (31%) by 10 h, 27 (77%) by 12 h and 35 (100%) by 14 h. The first cleavages had occurred by 24 h after insemination (four oocytes, 11%). After ICSI, 34 oocytes were fertilized normally (79%), 13 of which (38%) had two pronuclei by 6 h, 27 (79%) by 8 h and 32 (94%) by 10 h. Three oocytes cleaved by 20 h after microinjection (9%) and 19 by 24 h (56%). Pronuclei developed asynchronously in six oocytes after ICSI (18%) as opposed to 16 oocytes after IVF (46%). The results of this study suggest that the timing of pronuclear formation is no different when a testicular spermatozoon is microinjected into the oocytes from when an ejaculated spermatozoon is injected. Secondly, pronuclear development and first cleavage generally take place 4 h sooner after ICSI than after IVF. On the other hand, a higher proportion of oocytes develop two pronuclei asynchronously after IVF than after ICSI.

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