A prospective randomized trial was performed to compare post-thaw development of murine blastocysts following programmable rate freezing and two methods of vitrification. Frozen 2-cell murine embryos (n = 429) thawed and cultured for 48 h, were randomly allocated by stage of development into four groups: control (not refrozen), programmable rate freezing (PR) in 0.25 ml straws, vitrification in flexible micropipettes by immersion in super-cooled (VSC) liquid nitrogen (LN2), and vitrification in flexible micropipettes by immersion in LN2 (VLN). Survival, development stage progression, presence or absence of an inner cell mass (ICM), and cell counts were recorded 24 h post-thaw. All measured outcomes were different between embryos from the control group and all freezing methods. Controlled-rate freezing resulted in the lowest total cell counts and fewest embryos with a distinct ICM. A higher percentage of embryos survied 24 h post-thaw, progressed to more advanced developmental stages and had higher total cell counts after VLN compareed with PR. Moreover, fewer embryos, frozen by either PR or VSC, contained a detectable JCM compared with VLN. These data demonstrate that vitrification may be a better method for freezing murine blastocysts than PR, and may prove to be a superior method for freezing human blastocysts.
Walker, D. L., Tummon, I. S., Hammitt, D. G., Session, D. R., Dumesic, D. A., & Thornhill, A. R. (2004). Vitrification versus programmable rate freezing of late stage murine embryos: A randomized comparison prior to application in clinical IVF. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 8(5), 558–568. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1472-6483(10)61103-0