The limitation in the supply of mature, fertilisable oocytes constitutes a major impediment to increasing the success of assisted reproduction, stem cell derivation and cloning in domestic species. Techniques are being developed to grow immature oocytes in vitro that have the potential to increase the supply of oocytes. Mouse oocytes can be cultured from initial stages of development to maturity, and live young have been produced, but for domestic species, such as cows, with long growth periods, in vitro systems that allow complete growth of oocytes contained within primordial follicles to maturity is technically challenging and has not yet been achieved. For cows, several culture systems have been developed that support specific developmental stages, but a multistep culture system will be required for complete growth in vitro. This review highlights the steps that will be required to achieve the goal of growing oocytes in vitro.
- assisted reproductive technology
- in vitro maturation