Cryopreservation of cells and even tissue is feasible. New exciting findings arise in the promising field of cryobiology, e.g. the cryopreservation of whole ovaries. Uterus cryopreservation would be advantageous not only for experimental biology, but also for transplantation surgery. The objective of this study was to evaluate various cryopreservation protocols as well as various storage temperatures in cryopreservation of whole swine uteri. The used freezing protocol was slow (0.2 degrees C/min) after arterial perfusion with 1%, 5% or 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solution for 10 min and equilibration in this solution for 30 min. Viability of the organs was tested by histological examination, biochemical parameters and by the capability of rhythmical contractions in a perfusion system. Eighty swine uteri were cryopreserved. All uteri that were frozen with 10% and 5% DMSO were viable after thawing for at least 1 h, whereas only 40% survived with the use of 1% DMSO and 0% with the use of 0.5% DMSO, respectively. There was no difference regarding the survival rates after various cryostorage periods for up to 16 weeks or after cryostorage for 2 weeks in -70 degrees C or -130 degrees C. The cryopreservation of a whole organ such as the swine uterus is a valuable method for the study of cryoprotective agents and freezing protocols. This study demonstrates clearly that the perfusion of the organ with cryoprotectants is the only factor which allows the uterus to contract.