In mammals, the total number of female germ cells is already established by the time of birth, meaning that no mitosis will take place in oogonias thereafter. Their cryostorage, therefore, depends on ovarian tissue manipulation. As an alternative to mature oocyte cryopreservation, the maintenance of inactive preantral follicles is a remarkable option because (i) their availability in the ovary is greater; (ii) as inactive and small structures, they show less sensitivity to cryoinjury and the toxic effects of cryoprotectants; and (iii) they are present in the gonads at all ages, allowing their retrieval from prepubertal individuals or even immediately postmortem. Nevertheless, some difficulties remain regarding their in vitro activation and development to the ovulatory stage. For this reason, the best option for their total development is transplantation back to the donor or between species, promoting follicle activation and development. This technique has proved its efficiency and led to several live births in both animals and humans. Since each species has its own particularities in terms of ovarian tissue composition, a number of protocols have been documented, which may be used for either isolated or in situ preantral follicles.
Part of the book: Cryopreservation Biotechnology in Biomedical and Biological Sciences