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Reprod Biomed Online. 2003 Dec;7(6):623-33.

Recent developments in human oocyte, embryo and blastocyst vitrification: where are we now?

Author information

1
University of Wuerzburg, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 4, Wuerzburg 97080, Germany. juergenliebermann@hotmail.com

Abstract

The target of any cryopreservation procedure should be to ensure high survival rates of living cells after thawing. Two important parameters determine the success of any cryopreservation protocol: the manner in which cells regain equilibrium in response to cooling, and the speed of freezing (cooling rate). Slow-rate freezing protocols result in the formation of ice crystals during cooling and warming. Vitrification, in which high cooling rates in combination with a high concentration of cryoprotectant are used, does not produce any ice crystals during cooling and warming. However, there is a practical limit to the attainable cooling speed, and also a biological limit to the concentration of cryoprotectant tolerated by the cells during vitrification. Although post-warming survival depends on the species, the developmental stage and the quality of the embryos being vitrified, it seems clear that vitrification methods are increasingly successful and might be a better method than slow cooling procedures in the field of cryobiology. Many of the potential problems and benefits underlying vitrification as a method of choice for embryo cryopreservation in clinical embryology will be discussed in this review.

PMID:
14748959
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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