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J Assist Reprod Genet. 2013 Aug;30(8):1091-8. doi: 10.1007/s10815-013-0056-4. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Slow freezing and vitrification of mouse morula and early blastocysts.

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Repromed Department of R&D, 180 Fullarton Road, Dulwich, South Australia, Australia,



To assess the relative success of morula and early blastocyst slow freezing and vitrification in regards to survival and implantation rates utilising protocols which could be clinically implemented as a viable alternative to expanded blastocyst stage freezing.


Mouse morula and early blastocysts were either slow frozen/thawed or vitrified/warmed. Their subsequent survival, blastocyst development and blastocyst cell number and allocation to either the inner cell mass, trophectoderm or epiblast was assessed. In addition blastocysts were also transferred to pseudopregnant recipients and implantation and fetal development was determined.


Vitrification of both morula and early blastocysts resulted in significantly higher rates of survival and blastocyst development compared to slow freezing. In addition slow frozen early blastocysts had significantly reduced blastocyst cell number compared to control however vitrified morula and early blasocyts and slow frozen morula had equivocal blastocyst cell numbers. Transfer of blastocysts from both methods of cryopreservation resulted in similar implantation rates however the placentas created from slow frozen early blastocysts were significantly lighter than control (95.5 g ± 5.4 vs. 122.0 g ± 4.2 respectively).


Vitrification resulted in significantly higher rates of morula and early blastocyst survival and blastocyst development compared to slow freezing. In addition this study has validated the use of a closed DMSO free vitrification protocol which could then be investigated for use in the clinical setting as an alternative to expanded blastocyst freezing.

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