Vitrification of human immature oocytes before and after in vitro maturation: a review
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The use of immature oocytes subjected to in vitro maturation (IVM) opens interesting perspectives for fertility preservation where ovarian reserves are damaged by pathologies or therapies, as in PCO/PCOS and cancer patients. Human oocyte cryopreservation may offer some advantages compared to embryo freezing, such as fertility preservation in women at risk of losing fertility due to oncological treatment or chronic disease, egg donation and postponing childbirth. It also eliminates religious and/or other ethical, legal, and moral concerns of embryo freezing. In addition, a successful oocyte cryopreservation program could eliminate the need for donor and recipient menstrual cycle synchronization. Recent advances in vitrification technology have markedly improved the oocyte survival rate after warming, with fertilization and implantation rates comparable with those of fresh oocytes. Healthy live births can be achieved from the combination of IVM and vitrification, even if vitrification of in vivo matured oocytes is still more effective. Recently, attention is given to highlight whether vitrification procedures are more successful when performed before or after IVM, on immature GV-stage oocytes, or on in vitro matured MII-stage oocytes. In this review, we emphasize that, even if there are no differences in survival rates between oocytes vitrified prior to or post-IVM, reduced maturation rates of immature oocytes vitrified prior to IVM can be, at least in part, explained by underlying ultrastructural and biomolecular alterations.
KeywordsOocyte Vitrification In vitro maturation Ultrastructure Transmission electron microscopy
We are very grateful to Dr. Giovanni Coticchio for his valuable comments and for critically reviewing this manuscript.
MAK, AS and SA designed the study. MGP and MAK wrote the manuscript. SAN and GM critically revised the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version and submission of this manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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