In-vitro maturation: its role in fertility treatment

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Purpose of review

In-vitro maturation of oocytes was primarily developed to make in-vitro fertilization safer and simpler for women with polycystic ovaries and high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In-vitro maturation has potentially many advantages over conventional in-vitro fertilization. A simple protocol with decreased or no hormonal stimulation before oocyte retrieval and thus lower cost of the treatment cycle are clear benefits. More importantly, the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is entirely avoided.

Recent findings

The clinical outcome has substantially improved in recent years with pregnancy rates between 20 and 54%. The birth of approximately 400 children has been reported in the literature, but about three times as many are known to have been born. The postnatal follow-up studies of the children have been reassuring.


Although good results have been reported by some clinics, in-vitro maturation has not yet become a mainstream fertility treatment. The most important reason for this is the lower chance of a live birth per treatment compared with conventional in-vitro fertilization. Several aspects of the clinical in-vitro maturation need to be improved to give in-vitro maturation a place among assisted reproduction techniques it deserves.

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