Effects of the embryo retrieval stages and addition of glutathione (GSH) on post-thaw development of mouse morula were evaluated in 2 consecutive experiments. In the first experiment, 1-, 2-, 3- to 4- and 5- to 8-cell stage embryos were collected and cultured to the morula stage in Whitten's medium containing 0.1 mM ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The development rate of 1-cell embryos to the morula stage was lower than that of the other stages (P<0.01). The post-thaw development rate of the morulae obtained from in vitro culture of 1-, 2-, 3- to 4-, and 5- to 8-cell embryos and from in vivo embryos (control) to the blastocyst stage was 55.5, 84.9, 87.4, 90.1 and 90.8%, respectively. The post-thaw development rate of morula obtained from in vitro produced 1-cell embryos was significantly lower than from the other stages or from the in vivo counterparts (P<0.0001). In Experiment 2, the impact of GSH supplementation of the culture medium in the presence or absence of EDTA was evaluated for embryo development to the morula stage and post-thaw survival, using in the 2 x 2 factorial design. Although EDTA supplementation increased development rates to the morulae (P<0.01) stage, GSH did not have an influence on morula development. However, the presence of either GSH or EDTA in the culture medium supported development to the blastocyst stage (P<0.01) of in vitro produced morulae. These data demonstrate that 1-cell embryos from a blocking-strain mouse cultured in vitro to the morula stage have a lower development rate following freezing and thawing than embryos collected at the 2-cell or later stages. Addition of EDTA or GSH, individually or in combination, to the culture medium may improve the development rate of morula to blastocyst stage following cryopreservation.