Oocyte cryopreservation as an adjunct to the assisted reproductive technologies

Keith L Harrison, Michelle T Lane, Jeremy C Osborn, Christine A Kirby, Regan Jeffrey, John H Esler and David Molloy
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb00946.x
Published online: 2 April 2007

To the Editor: Cryopreservation has been an integral tool in the development of modern assisted reproductive technologies, beginning with sperm cryopreservation in 1953 and extending to embryo cryopreservation in 1983, with the evolution of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer as a major tool in the treatment of infertility.1 Until recent times, however, there has been a lack of reliable cryopreservation methods for human oocytes. The world’s first recorded pregnancy arising from frozen oocytes occurred in Australia in 1984,2 and although occasional live births following oocyte cryopreservation were subsequently announced,3 it was another 11 years before more reliable protocols were developed4 — hundreds of live births have since been reported.5 The most common protocol follows that of embryo cryopreservation, using slow freezing with propanediol as the cryoprotectant, although rapid vitrification methods are also being developed.

  • 1 Queensland Fertility Group, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Repromed, Adelaide, SA.
  • 3 Queensland Fertility Group, Toowoomba, QLD.


  • 1. Trounson A, Mohr L. Human pregnancy following cryopreservation, thawing and transfer of an eight-cell embryo. Nature 1983; 305: 707-709.
  • 2. Chen C. Pregnancy after human oocyte cryopreservation. Lancet 1986; 1: 884-886.
  • 3. van Uem JF, Siebzehnrubl ER, Schuh B, et al. Birth after cryopreservation of unfertilized oocytes. Lancet 1987; 1: 752-753.
  • 4. Porcu E, Fabbri R, Seracchioli R, et al. Birth of a healthy female after intracytoplasmic sperm injection of cryopreserved human oocytes. Fertil Steril 1997; 68: 724-726.
  • 5. Fabbri R, Porcu E, Marsella T, et al. Human oocyte cryopreservation: new perspectives regarding oocyte survival. Hum Reprod 2001; 16: 411-416.


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