The effect of two different methods of polar body biopsy followed by vitrification on the survival and development to blastocyst stage of mouse zygotes was examined. Prior to vitrification, a total of 119 and 124 mouse zygotes were subjected to polar body biopsy using either laser-assisted or partial zona dissection (PZD) techniques, respectively. Vitrification was also applied to 122 zona-intact zygotes that served as a control group. Following vitrification, no differences in the rate of zygote survival (95.8%, 91.9% and 94.3%) or in the rate of development to expanded blastocyst stage (82.3%, 79.8% and 82.0%) were observed between the two groups of biopsied zygotes, or between the biopsied zygotes and control zygotes. The mean total number of cells comprising the blastocysts of controls (77.1 +/- 4.7) was comparable to the mean cell number recorded in the laser (66.4 +/- 4.7) and PZD (69.7 +/- 5.3) groups. Blastocysts developed from laser-treated zygotes hatched much earlier than blastocysts developed from the control and PZD groups of zygotes (P < 0.001). The data obtained in the present study demonstrate that, irrespective of the biopsy method used prior to vitrification, mouse zygotes survive and develop to blastocysts upon warming in proportions similar to those of non-biopsied zygotes.