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Open Access Research

Optimized protocol for cryopreservation of human eggs improves developmental competence and implantation of resulting embryos

Cassie T Wang1, Lifeng Liang2, Craig Witz1, Dan Williams1, Jason Griffith1, Josh Skorupski1, Ghassan Haddad1, Jimmy Gill1 and Weihua Wang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Houston Fertility Institute/New Houston Health, Houston, TX, USA

2 Key laboratory of Major Obstetrics Diseases of Guangdong Province, the Third Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University, Guangdong, China

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Journal of Ovarian Research 2013, 6:15  doi:10.1186/1757-2215-6-15

Published: 13 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Successful egg cryopreservation has many potential benefits to a variety of patients. However, a superior standard protocol describing all aspects of oocyte cryopreservation has not yet been identified. Oocyte cryopreservation is still a technical challenge for many infertility clinics. To maintain satisfactory clinical outcomes, there is a need to develop an easy to use, yet efficient laboratory protocol. The present study was designed to examine if human embryos resulting from eggs frozen with an optimized vitrification protocol have similar developmental competence as those from fresh eggs.

Methods

Twenty recipients received donated eggs vitrified with a protocol in which short exposure time to the vitrification solution was used and 23 recipients received donated eggs and 6 patients had their own eggs vitrified with a modified protocol in which long exposure time to the vitrification solution was used. After warming, egg survival, fertilization, cleavage, blastocyst formation, clinical pregnancy and implantation rates were compared. The developmental competence of eggs vitrified with the optimized protocol was further compared with fresh eggs donated from the same donors.

Results

There was no difference in the oocyte survival, fertilization, cleavage, clinical pregnancy or implantation rates between the short and long protocol groups. However, blastocyst formation rate was significantly (P < 0.001) higher in the long protocol group (50.8%) than that in short protocol group (26.5%), resulting in more blastocysts being transferred and frozen. When frozen eggs vitrified with long protocol and fresh eggs from the same donors (12) were compared in 39 recipients, no differences were observed in terms of fertilization (86.4 vs 80.1%), blastocyst formation (50.0 vs 59.2%), clinical pregnancy (63.2 vs 60.0%) and implantation (41.7 vs 44.7%) rates. Four out of 6 patients had ongoing pregnancy after transfer of embryos from their own frozen eggs with a 46.2% implantation rate.

Conclusions

These results indicate that blastocyst development is an appropriate measure for egg survival after cryopreservation and frozen eggs have similar developmental potential as fresh eggs if they are frozen with an optimized method.

Keywords:
Blastocyst; Egg; Human; Implantation; Vitrification