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Reprod Biomed Online. 2005 Sep;11(3):355-61.

Vitrification of hatching and hatched human blastocysts: effect of an opening in the zona pellucida before vitrification.

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Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Endocrinology, Bregenz, Austria.


Partially or completely hatched blastocysts were obtained from women with at least one previous cycle with failure of implantation. On day 5 after fresh embryo transfers, the remaining vitrification cycles (VC) were divided into three categories according to the types of blastocysts. The first group (20 VC) contained blastocysts (n = 38) with open zona pellucida (ZP), the second group of 34 VC contained blastocysts (n = 100) with both open and intact ZP, while the third group (14 VC) contained blastocysts with intact ZP (n = 39). Blastocysts were exposed to two mixtures of cryoprotectants. At 24 h after warming, survival rates of 82% (31/38), 72% (72/100) and 64% (25/39) were observed in the three groups respectively. Numbers of embryo transfers and blastocysts in the three groups respectively were 20, 31 and 13 transfers, and 31, 60 and 25 blastocysts, resulting in corresponding ongoing pregnancy rates per VC of 35, 26 and 21%. Blastocysts with a larger blastocoelic cavity survived vitrification better when they had partially or completely hatched. Survival rates significantly increased (P < 0.01) from 55 to 81% after warming expanded blastocysts with an intact ZP (n = 42) compared with an open ZP (n = 54) respectively. This study shows that partially or completely hatched blastocysts can be cryopreserved by a simple vitrification procedure using the hemi-straw as embryo carrier.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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