Ooplasmic transfer in mature human oocytes

Mol Hum Reprod. 1998 Mar;4(3):269-80. doi: 10.1093/molehr/4.3.269.


Ooplasmic transplantation aimed at restoring normal growth in developmentally compromised oocytes and embryos was evaluated in seven couples (eight cycles) with multiple implantation failures. Two approaches were investigated to transfer ooplasm from donor eggs at metaphase II (MII) stage into patient MII eggs: (i) electrofusion of a ooplasmic donor fragment into each patient egg (three cycles), and (ii) direct injection of a small amount of ooplasm from a donor egg into each patient egg (five cycles). Some donor eggs were used multiple times. Donor eggs were divided into two groups, one being used for ooplasmic extraction and the other one for egg donation. Cleaved embryos resulting from the latter were cryopreserved, where numbers and satisfactory development permitted. A second control group consisted of embryos derived from patient eggs after intracytoplasmic sperm injection without ooplasmic transfer. This was performed when sufficient number of eggs were available (n = 5). Donor eggs (n = 40) were evaluated cytogenetically after micromanipulation in order to confirm the presence of chromosomes. One egg was anuclear and the recipient embryos were not transferred. Normal fertilization was significantly higher after injection of ooplasm (63%) in comparison with fusion (23%). Pronuclear anomalies appeared enhanced after fusion with ooplasts. Embryo morphology was not improved in the three cycles with electrofusion and patients did not become pregnant. An improvement in embryo morphology was noted in two patients after injection of ooplasm and both became pregnant, but one miscarried. A third pregnancy was established in the repeat patient, without obvious embryo improvement. One baby was born and the third pregnancy is ongoing with a normal karyotype. Two other patients with male factor infertility had poor embryos after ooplasmic injection, but the donor embryo controls were also poor. The patients did not become pregnant and had no donor embryos frozen. Ooplasmic transfer at the MII stage may be promising in patients with compromised embryos; however, evaluation of ooplasmic anomalies and optimization of techniques will require further investigation prior to widescale application.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Fusion
  • Cytoplasm / transplantation*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Oocyte Donation
  • Ovum / cytology*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Zygote / growth & development


  • DNA, Mitochondrial