Objective evaluation of the viability of cryopreserved oocytes

De Santis, L.; Cino, I.; Coticchio, G.; Fusi, F. M.; Papaleo, E.; Rabellotti, E.; Brigante, C.; Borini, A.; Ferrari, A.
September 2007
Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Reproductive Healthcare Limited;Sep2007, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p338
Academic Journal
Recent studies of fundamental cryobiology, empirical observations and more systematic clinical experiences have generated a renewed interest in oocyte cryopreservation. Poor survival rate has long been the limiting factor which has prevented widespread adoption of oocyte storage. Slow-cooling and vitrification protocols developed in the last few yea~ have apparently solved this problem, ensuring high recovery of viable oocytes from liquid nitrogen storage. However, the definition of oocyte viability appears rather vague. In fact, post-storage survival as assessed on morphological criteria, indicated by the absence of overt cell degeneration, is not necessarily synonymous with viability. Despite its sensitivity to low temperatures, the meiotic spindle can be preserved after cryopreservation and its constitution after thawing can be monitored non-invasively through polarized light microscopy. Assessment of oocyte cryopreservation via clinical parameters is a daunting task. Most studies are small and difficult to interpret because of confounding factors, such as age, patient selection and quality and strategy of use of the cryopreserved material. Some progress has been made, however, as suggested by recent experiences in which the implantation efficiency of embryos produced from thawed oocytes approaches that reported using cryopreserved embryos directly.


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