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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2011 Dec 12;9:156. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-9-156.

Cryopreservation of human failed-matured oocytes followed by in vitro maturation: vitrification is superior to the slow freezing method.

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Reproductive Medicine Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, The People's Republic of China.



Oocyte cryopreservation is an important method used in a number of human fertility circumstances. Here, we compared the survival, in vitro maturation, fertilization, and early embryonic development rates of frozen-thawed human immature oocytes using two different cryopreservation methods.


A total of 454 failed-matured oocytes [germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase I (MI) stages] were collected from 135 patients (mean age 33.84 +/- 5.0 y) who underwent intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles between February 2009 and December 2009 and randomly divided into a slow freezing group [1.5 mol/L-1, 2-propanediol (PROH) + 0.2 mol/l sucrose] and vitrification group [20% PROH + 20% ethylene glycol (EG) + 0.5 mol/l sucrose].


The vitrification protocol yielded a better survival rate than the slow freezing protocol at each maturation stage assessed. Regardless of the maturation stage (GV + MI), the slow freezing protocol had a significantly lower survival rate than the vitrification protocol (p < 0.001). In addition, a significant difference was found in the survival rates between GV and MI oocytes regardless of the protocol used (90.1 vs. 64.7%, respectively; p < 0.01). We also found that the maturation rates of GV and MI oocytes from the slow freezing and vitrification groups were 16.7 vs. 24.4% and 50.8 vs. 55.4%, respectively. Regardless of the protocol used, the GV oocytes had significantly lower viability than MI oocytes after 36 h of in vitro maturation (21.2 vs. 54.0%, respectively; p < 0.01). In addition, the GV and MI oocytes from the slow freezing group had a markedly lower maturation rate than those from the vitrification group (33.6 vs. 43.1%, respectively), but no statistical difference was found between the two groups (P > 0.05). For the GV-matured oocytes, no fertilized eggs were obtained in the slow-freezing group, while a 19.0% (4/21) fertilization rate was observed in the vitrification group. For the MI-matured oocytes, fertilization rates for the slow freezing and vitrified groups were 36% and 61.1%, respectively, but no significant difference was found between the two groups (PIn the Methods section in the MS, all procedures were compliant with ethical guidelines, i.e. approved by the Ethical Committee of our university and Informed Consent signed by each patient. > 0.05). In the GV vitrification group, no embryo formed; however, in the MI slow freezing group, 12 oocytes were fertilized, but only two achieved cleavage and were subsequently blocked at the 2-cell stage. In the MI vitrification group, a total of 22 embryos were obtained, five of which developed to the blastocyst stage.


Vitrification is superior to the slow freezing method in terms of the survival and developmental rates for the cryopreservation of human failed-matured oocytes. In addition, GV oocytes appeared to be more resistant than MI oocytes to the low temperature and cryoprotectant used during cryopreservation.

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