A case of failed oocyte maturation in vivo and in vitro

Fertil Steril. 1999 Mar;71(3):567-70. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(98)00505-6.


Objective: To study a couple for whom all oocytes failed to mature during three attempts at IVF/ICSI treatment. Our aims were (a) to promote oocyte maturation in vitro and (b) to identify the stage of maturation arrest.

Design: Case report.

Setting: Infertility treatment center with academic research links.

Patient(s): Couple with unexplained infertility.

Intervention(s): Exogenous gonadotropin stimulation culminating in the retrieval of eight oocyte-cumulus complexes that were exposed to gonadotropins for 24 hours in vitro.

Main outcome measure(s): Observation of oocyte cumulus complexes, measurements of oocyte diameter, oocyte chromatin staining with Hoechst 33258.

Result(s): The cumulus complexes varied in appearance and expanded in vitro, but yielded immature oocytes. Germinal vesicle breakdown occurred in all oocytes and chromatin was consistent with arrest at entry into M-phase. The oocytes were of a size normally competent to mature.

Conclusion(s): Infertility in this couple was attributed to the failure of oocytes to enter M-phase. This was not overcome by exposure to gonadotropins in vitro nor associated with incompetence due to small oocyte size.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Cycle
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Gonadotropins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Oocytes / cytology*
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / ultrastructure
  • Oogenesis*


  • Gonadotropins