In vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes, is an alternative approach to the conventional methods of ovarian stimulation and culture. It involves a patient-tailored stimulation protocol in reproductive medicine for women with polycystic ovaries (PCO) and Onco-fertility patients.

IVM is defined as, retrieval of immature cumulus-oocyte complexes from antral follicles from either unstimulated, or mildly stimulated ovaries, and maturing them in vitro, followed by fertilizing them with the sperm to create embryos.

Fuelled by recent scientific reports of clinical data – pregnancy success accounting for 32- 44% and 25-35% delivery rates, there is an emerging interest in IVM as an alternative ART in high responders. 

IVM is recommended by the International PCOS Network as an option to achieve pregnancy and live-birth rates without the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) for women with PCOS.

Fertility Preservation in cancer patients:

IVM also has its applications in the field of fertility preservation, especially for those patients who are at a lack of time or in those patients where stimulation is contraindicated. 

Immature oocytes can be harvested either transvaginally or through extracorporeal ovarian tissue. During the process of ovarian cortex cryopreservation, slow freezing of the ovarian tissue is considered as a valid clinical procedure for fertility preservation, next to oocyte and embryo vitrification. The use of IVM as an appended technique in fertility preservation may increase the hope of delayed childbearing to young cancer survivors.

Advantages of IVM over IVF:

  • Eliminates or reduces the risk of OHSS
  • Eliminates side-effects of drugs 
  • Cost-effective cycle- due to no or reduced number of gonadotropin injections
  • Less requirement of stringent monitoring
  • The option of choice for fertility preservation
  • Patient friendly technique
  • Lesser drop out rates

Need to know about IVM:

Although IVM is not an option given for all patients, it is the need of the hour to be equipped with knowledge about this technique and its applications in ovarian tissue cryopreservation in the laboratory and in the clinic, in order to establish a fertility preservation program, to help patients overcome their fertility issues

We at OSHERM, provide state-of-art knowledge and tools on IVM, which is an integral part of our courses to assist embryologist and fertility clinicians, to thereby incorporate this patient- friendly technology in cases of PCO and for ovarian cryopreservation.