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Preservation of Human Oocytes: From Cryobiology Science to Clinical Applications

2009 Edition, August 27, 2009

Complete Document

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-0-203-09287-3
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2009 Edition, August 27, 2009
  • Published Date: August 27, 2009
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 324
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Human in vitro fertilization (IVF) has attained full potential and become widespread following the introduction of reliable ovarian stimulation protocols and methods for the storage and later use of surplus embryos. This has been made possible by the fact that human embryos can be cryopreserved with only limited loss in terms of post-thaw viability and reproductive potential. Embryo cryopreservation is not, however, immune to disadvantages of an ethical and legal nature. The cryopreservation of fully grown oocytes could represent a more widely acceptable option, but until recently it has been applied only sporadically. Efforts carried out in the late 1980s represented a valid proof of principle, but were unable to generate success rates that could justify the adoption of oocyte freezing as a routine procedure. Studies conducted in the last few years based on the use of novel cryopreservation protocols indicate that many of the problems that have originally affected the overall effi ciency of oocyte freezing have been solved. This has encouraged the adoption of such a strategy of fertility preservation. As a consequence, over a thousand babies from cryopreserved oocytes have been born so far. Apart from offering a possible alternative to embryo storage, oocyte cryopreservation also has the potential to provide a solution to the effects of changes in social attitudes, such as the increased expectations of women to achieve a full professional career. Those anticipations can involve a delay in the establishment of a family. In a number of cases, though, these women experience reproductive failure, a sort of "biological punishment" for having delayed their chances of conception to later in life. Therefore, storing oocytes can be a tangible possibility for extending the female reproductive life. Chemo- and radiotherapies can also compromise transiently or permanently the reproductively potential. Oocyte preservation can also be critical for young women who are destined to premature ovarian failure as an effect of genetic factors. More generally, gamete storage can be an answer for those women who, for diverse reasons, wish to preserve their reproductive potential for later use.

Despite this, probably the majority of IVF specialists have not yet had the opportunity to fully appreciate the clinical potential and current effi cacy of oocyte cryopreservation. Therefore, this text has been conceived with the aim of offering a comprehensive view of the state of the art in oocyte cryopreservation, especially following recent studies that have shown how oocyte cryopreservation is beginning to challenge the supremacy of embryo cryopreservation as the preferred form of fertility preservation in IVF treatment. The book includes chapters on fundamental concepts of low-temperature storage (controlled rate slow cooling and vitrifi cation), aspects of oocyte physiology relevant to the process of cryopreservation, essential biological and clinical evidence, and ethical implications of oocyte cryopreservation. The authors of the chapters are eminent authorities in their respective areas of interest, some of whom have collaborated with the editors over the last several years.