Low feasibility of in vitro matured oocytes originating from cumulus complexes found during ovarian tissue preparation at the moment of gender confirmation surgery and during testosterone treatment for fertility preservation in transgender men

In vitro matured ovarian tissue oocytes show low developmental capacity in transgender men when collected under testosterone treatment.

VOLUME 116, ISSUE 4, P1068-1076


Sylvie Lierman, B.M.L.S., Annelies Tolpe, M.B.S., Ilse De Croo, M.B.S., Stefanie De Gheselle, M.B., Justine Defreyne, M.D., Ph.D, Machteld Baetens, M.B.S., Annelies Dheedene, Ph.D., Roos Colman, Ph.D., Björn Menten, Ph.D., Guy T’Sjoen, M.D., Petra De Sutter, M.D., Kelly Tilleman, Ph.D. 



To study the feasibility of in vitro maturation of ovarian tissue oocytes for fertility preservation in transgender men on testosterone treatment.


Cross-sectional study


University hospital


Eighty-three transgender men enrolled from November 2015 to January 2019


In vitro maturation of cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) harvested at the time of gender confirmation surgery, and fertilization through intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

In vitro maturation, fertilization, and blastulation rates; comparison of morphokinetics with vitrified-warmed oocytes; and analysis of the genetic profiles of embryos. Secondary outcomes: association between serum hormone levels; COCs’ morphologic characteristics, and vitrification rate.


All participants were on testosterone treatment for a median of 83 (64[Quartile 1]; 113.2[Quartile 2]) weeks. A total of 1,903 COCs (mean per participant, 23 ± 15.8) were collected. The in vitro maturation rate was 23.8%, vitrification rate was 21.5%, and survival rate after warming was 72.6% (n = 151). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection was performed in 139 oocytes. The rate of normal fertilized oocytes was 34.5%, and 25 (52.1%) embryos reached day 3. One blastocyst was achieved on day 5. Aberrant cleavage patterns and early embryo arrest were observed in 22 (45.8%) and 44 (91.7%) zygotes, respectively. Compared with vitrified-warmed donor oocytes, a delay was observed in pronuclei disappearance, t2 (time to reach 2 cell stage) timings, and CC1 (the duration of the 1st cell cycle) and SS3 (synchronization of cleavage pattern (calculated as t8-t5) time intervals. A normal genetic pattern was seen in 42% embryos. The proportion of vitrified oocytes was negatively associated with progesterone (odds ratio, 0.76) and positively associated with antimüllerian hormone serum levels (odds ratio, 1.23). The highest vitrification rate was achieved by the morphologic characteristic 344 at day 0 and by 433 at day 2.


Ovarian tissue oocytes matured in vitro show low developmental capacity in transgender men, when collected under testosterone treatment.