Theoretical considerations for oocyte cryopreservation by freezing

Fahy, Gregory M.
June 2007
Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Reproductive Healthcare Limited;Jun2007, Vol. 14 Issue 6, p709
Academic Journal
Attempts to cryopreserve oocytes by freezing have, to date, been based mostly on empirical approaches rather than on basic principles, and perhaps in part for this reason have not been very successful. Theoretical considerations suggest some fairly 'heretical' conclusions, The concentrations of permeating cryoprotectants employed in past studies have probably been inadequate, and the choice of propylene glycol (PG) as a protective agent is questionable. The use of non-penetrating agents, such as sucrose to preshrink oocytes prior to freezing and which, therefore, exacerbate osmotic stress during freezing, may be inappropriate, yet may protect in part by reducing the concentration of PG during freezing. The methods used to add and remove cryoprotectant may be suboptimal, and may be based on an inadequate understanding of the cryobiological constraints for oocyte survival. Given these concerns, it is not surprising that fully satisfactory results have been elusive, but there is every reason to believe that greater success is possible using a more theoretically appropriate approach.


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