Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 1449–1456 | Cite as

Fertility preservation for trans men: frozen-thawed in vitro matured oocytes collected at the time of ovarian tissue processing exhibit normal meiotic spindles

  • S. LiermanEmail author
  • K. Tilleman
  • K. Braeckmans
  • K. Peynshaert
  • S. Weyers
  • G. T’Sjoen
  • P. De Sutter
Fertility Preservation



At the moment of sex reassignment surgery (SRS), the ovarian tissue is sometimes cryopreserved as fertility preservation option for female-to-male trans men, also called trans men. During this preparation, cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs) can be found and in vitro matured. It is not known if these oocytes are developmentally competent. In order to use these oocytes for fertility preservation and subsequent fertilization, a normal spindle structure before and after vitrification is necessary.


A total of 680 COCs were collected from trans men (n = 16) at the time of SRS and after testosterone treatment. The COCs were subjected to in vitro maturation and those that reached the metaphase II stage (MII) were collected and split into two groups; group 1 was immediately fixed for spindle staining and group 2 was first vitrified and warmed followed by spindle staining. Statistical analysis was performed by Fisher’s exact test.


After 48 h in vitro maturation, 38.1% of COCs were at MII stage. Those oocytes were split in two groups: (1) 126 MII oocytes in the noncryopreservation group and (2) 133 MII oocytes underwent cryopreservation through vitrification. The oocyte survival rate, after 2 h warming, was 67.7%. Both the noncryopreserved and the vitrified group showed comparable results concerning normal spindle structure and chromosomes alignment, 85.7% vs. 92.2% (P = 0.27).


Spindle structure analysis and chromosomal alignment after vitrification seem normal in in vitro matured COCs collected during the tissue processing of ovaries in trans men at the time of SRS. The MII oocytes do not seem to be morphologically affected by prolonged testosterone treatment.


Human ovarian medulla tissue Metaphase II oocytes Vitrification Spindle structure In vitro maturation 



This work is supported by the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) TBM T001816 N and the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Author disclosure statements

No competing financial interests exist.

Supplementary material

10815_2017_976_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Lierman
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Tilleman
    • 1
  • K. Braeckmans
    • 2
  • K. Peynshaert
    • 2
  • S. Weyers
    • 3
  • G. T’Sjoen
    • 4
  • P. De Sutter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for Reproductive MedicineGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutics, Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical PharmacyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of GynaecologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Endocrinology and Centre for Sexuoloy and GenderGhentBelgium

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