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Hum Reprod. 2001 Mar;16(3):411-6.

Human oocyte cryopreservation: new perspectives regarding oocyte survival.

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IVF Center, Human Reproductive Medicine Unit, Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy.


The success of human oocyte cryopreservation depends on morphological and biophysical factors that could influence oocyte survival after thawing. Various attempts to cryopreserve human oocytes have been performed with contrasting results. Therefore the effect of some factors, such as the presence or absence of the cumulus oophorus, the sucrose concentration in the freezing solution and the exposure time to cryoprotectants, on human oocyte survival after thawing were investigated. The oocytes were cryopreserved in 1,2-propanediol added with sucrose, using a slow-freezing-rapid-thawing programme. After thawing, the oocytes were inseminated by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and the outcomes of insemination and subsequent embryo development were also recorded. The post-thaw cryosurvival rate was not different for the oocytes cryopreserved with their cumuli partially removed mechanically (56%) when compared with those cryopreserved with their cumuli totally removed enzymatically (53%). On the contrary, a significantly higher survival rate was obtained when the oocytes were cryopreserved in the presence of a doubled sucrose concentration (0.2 mol/l) in the freezing solution and the survival rate was even higher when the sucrose concentration was tripled (0.3 mol/l) (60 versus 82% P < 0.001). Furthermore, a longer exposure time (from 10.5 to 15 min) to cryoprotectants, before lowering the temperature, significantly increased the oocyte survival rate (P < 0.005). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection produced a good fertilization rate (57%) of thawed oocytes and a high embryo cleavage rate (91%) and a satisfactory embryo morphology was observed (14 and 34% for grade I and grade II embryos respectively).

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