Biological products like serum and BSA are routinely used in embryo freezing solutions. These products are undefined and can potentially expose the embryos to infectious agents. Therefore, this experiment was designed to evaluate in vitro and in vivo survival of mouse embryos frozen in solutions supplemented with a chemically defined macromolecule, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Morula-stage embryos from superovulated mice were collected, frozen by a rapid freezing procedure, and cryoprotectant diluted out (after thawing) in media supplemented with either 10% fetal calf serum (FCS), 0.1 mg/mL PVA, or a combination of 10% FCS and 0.1 mg/mL PVA. Frozen-thawed (good to excellent quality) and nonfrozen (control, collected in FCS supplemented medium) embryos were cultured in medium M16 (32) supplemented with either 4 mg/mL BSA or 0.1 mg/mL PVA for 72 h. Embryos frozen in solutions supplemented with FCS or PVA and nonfrozen embryos were transferred to pseudopregnant recipients. Recipients were humanly killed on Day 15 after transfer, and the rate of implantation and percentage of live fetuses were recorded. The supplementation of collection, freezing and cryoprotectant dilution solutions with FCS, PVA or FCS plus PVA did not influence (P > 0.05) the rate of survival and in vitro development of embryos to hatched/hatching blastocyst-stage. However, a higher (P < 0.01) in vitro development rate to hatching/hatched-stage was recorded when frozen-thawed embryos were cultured in medium supplemented with BSA than with PVA. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in the rate of implantation (68 vs 72%) or percentage of live fetuses (62 vs 60%) between pregnant recipients with embryos frozen in medium with FCS or PVA. The rate of implantation and development of embryos frozen in medium supplemented with PVA or FCS was comparable (P > 0.05) to that of nonfrozen embryos. It may be concluded that PVA can be substituted for FCS in medium for freezing mouse embryos; however, it can not be completely substituted for BSA in the in vitro culture of embryos to the hatched blastocyst stage.