The ability to cryopreserve human oocytes and store them indefinitely would be beneficial for cancer patients at risk of becoming sterile after therapy, allow women to delay reproduction, and alleviate religious concerns associated with embryo storage. In 1986, Chen was the first to report a pregnancy originating from a frozen-thawed human oocyte. Although over 100 babies have been born from oocyte storage since then, pregnancy rates remain unacceptably low. Adapting embryo cryopreservation techniques to oocyte storage has had limited success and new reproducible methods are needed. Problem areas other than intracellular ice formation and osmotic effects need to be identified. A broad approach of critical analysis should be conducted regarding the entire cryopreservation process from pre-equilibration and cooling, to thawing and step-out. All established facets deserve reanalysis in order to assess which aspects can be optimized or changed so that cellular demise can be avoided and cellular viability enhanced. New methods, including the use of choline-based media and vitrification have proven useful in increasing survival and pregnancy rates in some clinics. Other methods yet untested, such as injection of complex carbohydrates into the oocyte, deserve further studies. Vitrification research has led to the formulation of new ideas and has demonstrated the flexibility of cells to survive cryopreservation. Although successful, vitrification protocols are potentially harmful and technically challenging, due to elevated cryoprotectant concentrations and rapid cooling rates. Bovine embryo vitrification methods have been used to store human oocytes and embryos, particularly blastocysts with some success. Vitrification solutions containing high molecular weight polymers have also proved beneficial by reducing solution toxicity. In general, further advances are needed to improve human oocyte storage before widespread routine clinical use.
Stachecki, J. J. (2004). An overview of oocyte cryopreservation. In Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Vol. 9, pp. 152–163). Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1472-6483(10)62124-4