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Gynecol Obstet Fertil. 2006 Sep;34(9):760-9. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

[Cryopreservation of human embryos by vitrification].

[Article in French]

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Institute for reproductive medicine and endocrinology, Ramerstr. 2, Bregenz, Austria.


Vitrification is a cryopreservation strategy where cells are converted into a glass-like amorphous solid which is free of any crystalline structure. Such process is achieved by a combination of high concentration of cryoprotectant and an extremely high cooling rate. In the last years, survival rates of up to 80% after thawing and pregnancy rates of almost 30% could be achieved after transfer of vitrified embryos at the zygote, cleavage, morula and blastocyst stages. Also deliveries of healthy babies have been reported numerous times. To this day, a limited interest in this technique can be noted. The explanation may lye in the apprehension of many ART units regarding exposure of embryos to high concentrations of cryoprotectants and storage in non sterile conditions. The aim of the first part of this article, is to analyse if such fears are justified on the basis that vitrification mimics conditions already in use for many years in slow-cooling procedures where cells are plunged into liquid nitrogen at around -30 degrees C and secondly since storage of embryos are now possible in high aseptic conditions. In the second part, results on survival after thawing, pregnancy rates and baby take home rates of vitrified embryos will be presented and the problems associated with vitrification of blastocysts will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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