In Vitro Maturation and Egg Freezing

In Vitro Maturation

(IVM) a better process for egg freezing? Ideally, mature eggs are retrieved and frozen. But what happens when immature eggs are retrieved? Scientists believe that IVM may be used prior to freezing eggs or upon thaw to coax them into maturity.

As published in the April issue of Fertility and Sterility, 71 patients who underwent an antagonist IVF protocol donated a total of 69 immature eggs between February and April 2009. One group used IVM before egg freezing, and the other group used IVM after eggs were frozen and thawed. The survival rate and maturation of eggs from each group was evaluated to determine the use of IVM in egg freezing.

There was a higher survival and maturation rate with eggs retrieved, matured, and then frozen compared to those frozen while immature. This suggests that fresh IVM protocols are more beneficial than freeze-thaw IVM cycles. This is likely due to exposure to mechanical, thermal, and chemical disturbances during development, which increases the risk of aneuploidy and compromises cell viability. Eggs retrieved when they were more fully developed had a greater amount of time for cell growth and healthy development.

April 18, 2012
Posted by Jennifer A. Redmond

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