Temperature-sensitive poly[ (2-diethylaminoethyl methacrylate) -co- (N,N-dimethylacrylamide)] [P(DEAEMA-co-DMAAm)] hydrogels with five different DMAAm contents were synthesized with and without the addition of sodium carbonate as porosity generator. The synthesized hydrogels were characterized with dry gel density measurements, scanning electron microscopy observation and the determination of swelling ratio. The influence of the pore-forming agent and content of DMAAm on swelling ratio and network parameters such as polymer-solvent interaction parameter (chi), average molecular mass between crosslinks ((M) over bar (c)) and mesh size (zeta) of the cryogels are reported and discussed. The swelling and deswelling rates of the porous hydrogels are much faster than for the same type of hydrogels prepared via conventional methods. At a temperature below the volume phase transition temperature, the macroporous hydrogels also absorbed larger amounts water compared to that of conventional hydrogels and showed obviously higher equilibrated swelling ratios in aqueous medium. In particular, the unique macroporous structure provided numerous water channels for water diffusion in or out of the matrix and, therefore, an improved response rate to the external temperature changes during the deswelling and swelling processes. These properties are attributed to the macroporous and regularly arranged network of the porous hydrogels. Scanning electron micrographs reveal that the macroporous network structure of the hydrogels can be adjusted by applying porosity generation methods during the polymerization reaction. (C) 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.