Children born after cryopreservation of embryos or oocytes: a systematic review of outcome data


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Abstract

BACKGROUNDAn estimated 3.5 million children have been born to date using assisted reproduction technologies. We reviewed the data in order to evaluate current knowledge of medical outcome for IVF/ICSI children born after cryopreservation, slow freezing and vitrification of early cleavage stage embryos, blastocysts and oocytes.METHODSA systematic review was performed. We searched the PubMed, Cochrane and Embase databases from 1984 to September 2008. Inclusion criteria for slow freezing of early cleavage stage embryos were controlled studies reporting perinatal or child outcomes. For slow freezing and vitrification of blastocysts and oocytes, and vitrification of early cleavage stage embryos, case reports on perinatal or child outcomes were also included. Three reviewers independently read and evaluated all selected studies.RESULTSFor early cleavage embryos, data from controlled studies indicated a better or at least as good obstetric outcome, measured as preterm birth and low birthweight for children born after cryopreservation, as compared with children born after fresh cycles. Most studies found comparable malformation rates between frozen and fresh IVF/ICSI. For slow freezing of blastocysts and for vitrification of early cleavage stage embryos, blastocysts and oocytes, limited neonatal data was reported. We found no long-term child follow-up data for any cryopreservation technique.CONCLUSIONData concerning infant outcome after slow freezing of embryos was reassuring. Properly controlled follow-up studies of neonatal outcome are needed after slow freezing of blastocysts and after vitrification of early cleavage stage embryos, blastocysts and oocytes. In addition, child long-term follow-up studies for all cryopreservation techniques are essential.

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