The periconception period comprises the final maturation of sperm and the processes of fertilization and early embryonic development, which take place in the oviduct. The final goal of these important events is to lead to establishment of pregnancy leading to the birth of healthy offspring. Studies in rodents and domestic animals have demonstrated that environmental conditions experienced during early development affect critical aspects of future growth, metabolism, gene expression, and physiology. Similarly, in vitro culture of embryos can be associated with changes in fetal growth, gene expression and regulation, and postnatal behavior.In the oviduct, the cross talk between the mother and gametes/embryo begins after ovulation, between the oocyte and the female reproductive tract, and continues with the sperm and the early embryo after successful fertilization. These signals are mainly the result of direct interaction of gametes and embryos with oviductal and endometrial cells, influencing the microenvironment at the specific location. Identifying and understanding the mechanisms involved in this cross talk during the critical period of early reproductive events leading to pregnancy establishment could potentially lead to improvements in current in vitro embryo production systems in domestic mammals and humans. In this review, we discuss current knowledge of the short- and long-term consequences of in vitro embryo production on embryo development.
University College Dublin ->