Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 1413–1426 | Cite as

Vitrification of human immature oocytes before and after in vitro maturation: a review

  • Mohammad Ali Khalili
  • Abbas Shahedi
  • Sareh Ashourzadeh
  • Stefania Annarita Nottola
  • Guido Macchiarelli
  • Maria Grazia PalmeriniEmail author


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.


Oocyte 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.

Author contributions

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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research and Clinical Center for InfertilityShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  2. 2.Department of Life, Health and Environmental SciencesUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Anatomical SciencesShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  4. 4.Afzalipour Clinical Center for InfertilityKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran
  5. 5.Department of Anatomy, Histology, Forensic Medicine and OrthopaedicsUniversity of Rome La SapienzaRomeItaly

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