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Keywords:

  • assisted conception;
  • congenital anomalies;
  • oocyte cryopreservation;
  • oocyte donation;
  • pregnancy rates

Key content

  • • 
    Vitrified oocytes can retain a capacity for fertilisation and development which is similar to that of non-cryopreserved sibling oocytes.
  • • 
    More than 450 births have resulted from assisted conception with vitrified oocytes.
  • • 
    Controlled studies are required before the efficiency of vitrification can be fully assessed.
  • • 
    Aspects of methodology and safety still need to be resolved before vitrification is accepted unreservedly as part of conventional assisted conception.

Learning objectives

  • • 
    To understand what is meant by vitrification and how it is achieved in practice.
  • • 
    To learn about the advantages and drawbacks of oocyte vitrification.
  • • 
    To have an overview of the success of assisted conception with vitrified oocytes.
  • • 
    To appreciate where questions remain to be answered about the methodology, safety and clinical outcome of vitrification.

Ethical issues

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    Should assisted conception be offered with donor oocytes that have not undergone full quarantine similar to that required for donated sperm and embryos?