Single embryo transfer (SET) remains underutilized as a strategy to reduce multiple gestation risk in IVF, and its overall lower pregnancy rate underscores the need for improved techniques to select one embryo for fresh transfer. This study explored use of comprehensive chromosomal screening by array CGH (aCGH) to provide this advantage and improve pregnancy rate from SET.
First-time IVF patients with a good prognosis (age <35, no prior miscarriage) and normal karyotype seeking elective SET were prospectively randomized into two groups: In Group A, embryos were selected on the basis of morphology and comprehensive chromosomal screening via aCGH (from d5 trophectoderm biopsy) while Group B embryos were assessed by morphology only. All patients had a single fresh blastocyst transferred on d6. Laboratory parameters and clinical pregnancy rates were compared between the two groups.
For patients in Group A (n = 55), 425 blastocysts were biopsied and analyzed via aCGH (7.7 blastocysts/patient). Aneuploidy was detected in 191/425 (44.9%) of blastocysts in this group. For patients in Group B (n = 48), 389 blastocysts were microscopically examined (8.1 blastocysts/patient). Clinical pregnancy rate was significantly higher in the morphology + aCGH group compared to the morphology-only group (70.9 and 45.8%, respectively; p = 0.017); ongoing pregnancy rate for Groups A and B were 69.1 vs. 41.7%, respectively (p = 0.009). There were no twin pregnancies.
Although aCGH followed by frozen embryo transfer has been used to screen at risk embryos (e.g., known parental chromosomal translocation or history of recurrent pregnancy loss), this is the first description of aCGH fully integrated with a clinical IVF program to select single blastocysts for fresh SET in good prognosis patients. The observed aneuploidy rate (44.9%) among biopsied blastocysts highlights the inherent imprecision of SET when conventional morphology is used alone. Embryos randomized to the aCGH group implanted with greater efficiency, resulted in clinical pregnancy more often, and yielded a lower miscarriage rate than those selected without aCGH. Additional studies are needed to verify our pilot data and confirm a role for on-site, rapid aCGH for IVF patients contemplating fresh SET.
Most in vitro fertilization (IVF) programs employ embryo cryopreservation to enhance pregnancies from a single ovarian stimulation. More embryos are created, some of which are not transferred to the uterus immediately, generating a need for improved cryopreservation protocols. One protocol may involve growing embryos to a further stage of development, allowing only embryos with proven developmental capabilities to be cryopreserved. Here we examined thaw survival, implantation and live birth rates of embryos cryopreserved at different stages.
We examined thaw survival, implantation and live birth rates of embryos cryopreserved at the zygote, day 3 (D3) embryos or blastocyst stage.
SETTINGS AND DESIGN:
This is a retrospective study from a single academic IVF program.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A retrospective study of all patients who had frozen embryos transferred to their uteri from year 2002 to 2008 at a single academic IVF program was conducted.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED:
Analysis of variance followed by Fisher's Exact Test was performed to compare the survival after thaw, implantation and live birth rates between the three groups.
One thousand nine hundred and ninety-one zygotes, 2880 D3 embryos and 503 blastocysts were frozen using a slow freeze technique, thawed and transferred. Significantly more D3 embryos and blastocysts survived the thawing process compared to zygotes and significantly higher implantation rate per number of thawed blastocysts was achieved than that for zygotes. Live birth rates were similar between the three groups.
Growing embryos to blastocyst stage prior to cryopreservation is associated with fewer frozen embryos but does not appear compromise patients’ chance of achieving pregnancy
Blastocyst; embryo cryopreservation; frozen embryo transfer; implantation; in vitro fertilization; slow-freeze; zygote
Purpose: To evaluate the development of cryopreserved embryos when thawed and subsequently cultured to the blastocyst stage in comparison to transferring cryopreserved blastocysts.
Methods: In this retrospective clinical study, we have evaluated 170 cycles in patients undergoing IVF treatment for infertility. Cryopreserved embryos were thawed and were subsequently cultured and transferred at the blastocyst stage. Cryopreserved blastocysts (Day 6) were thawed and transferred immediately.
Results: Five hundred and sixty embryos and 444 blastocysts have been thawed. In the embryos group, the survival rate was 89% while in the blastocyst group the survival rate was 56%. In the embryos group the blastocyst development rate was 24.5%. The implantation rate in the embryos group was 20.6% per group blastocyst transferred compared to 5.3% in the blastocyst group.
Conclusions: The ability of cryopreserved embryos to develop to blastocysts and their implantation potential does not seem to be greatly affected by the cryopreservation procedure.
blastocyst; cryopreservation; embryos; implantation rate; pregnancy rate
Genetically modified (GM) animals are unique mutants with an enormous scientific potential. Cryopreservation of pre-implantation embryos or spermatozoa is a common approach for protecting these lines from being lost or to store them in a repository. A mutant line can be taken out of a breeding nucleus only if sufficient numbers of samples with an appropriate level of quality are cryopreserved. The quality of different donors within the same mouse line might be heterogeneous and the cryopreservation procedure might also be error-prone. However, only limited amounts of material are available for analysis. To improve the monitoring of frozen/thawed spermatozoa, commonly used in vitro fertilization (IVF) followed by embryo transfer were replaced with animal-free techniques. Major factors for assessing spermatozoa quality (i.e., density, viability, motility, and morphology) were evaluated by fluorescence microscopy. For this, a live/dead cell staining protocol requiring only small amounts of material was created. Membrane integrity was then examined as major parameter closely correlated with successful IVF. These complex analyses allow us to monitor frozen/thawed spermatozoa from GM mice using a relatively simple staining procedure. This approach leads to a reduction of animal experiments and contributes to the 3R principles (replacement, reduction and refinement of animal experiments).
cryopreservation; fluorescence microscopy; genetically modified (GM) mice; membrane integrity; 3Rs
Oocyte cryopreservation may avoid many complications of human embryo freezing and provide future fertility for women undergoing cancer therapy. The objective of this study was to explore the application of intra- and extracellular sugars in combination with small amounts of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) to human oocyte cryopreservation as an alternative approach.
Discarded human oocytes that were obtained from IVF patients under informed consent and IRB approval, were cryopreserved by slow cooling to −196°C after being randomly distributed into three groups: (i) DMSO control without intra- and extracellular sugar; (ii) extracellular sugar (raffinose) + DMSO; and (iii) intra- and extracellular sugar (trehalose and raffinose, respectively) + DMSO. Subsequently, all cryopreserved oocytes were thawed rapidly, and their survival was assessed by morphological criteria after 24 h of culture.
A total of 71 oocytes were evaluated in three groups with survival rates of 88.5% (23/26), 68.2% (15/22), and 52.2% (12/23) for intra- and extracellular sugar+DMSO, extracellular sugar+DMSO, and DMSO control groups, respectively.
These results support the use of intra- and extracellular sugars as an alternative approach for cryopreservation of human oocytes.
Cryopreservation; Human oocyte; Trehalose; Raffinose; DMSO
To assess cycle outcome among day 5 and day 6 cryopreserved frozen-thawed blastocyst embryo transfers (FBET).
Retrospective cohort study.
Military-based ART center.
One hundred seventy-two non-donor, programmed cryopreserved embryo cycles.
Fully expanded blastocysts on day 5 were cryopreserved on day 5 and those achieving this state on day 6 were cryopreserved on day 6. Leuprolide acetate was given for ovulation inhibition and endometrial supplementation was by oral and vaginal estradiol. Progesterone in oil was administered and blastocyst transfer occurred in the morning of the 6th day of progesterone.
Main Outcome Measures
Implantation, pregnancy and live birth rates.
Fresh and frozen cycle characteristics were similar between groups. Day 5 FBET had significantly higher implantation rates (32.2% vs. 19.2%; p=0.01) which remained significant even when adjusting for co-variates (OR: 1.91; 95%CI: 1.00, 3.67). Live birth rates trended towards improvement after adjusting for co-variates (OR: 1.18; 95%CI: 0.61, 2.30).
Cryopreserved day 5 blastocysts have higher implantation rates and trend toward improved pregnancy outcomes compared to cryopreserved day 6 blastocysts. This suggests that embryo development rate may, in part, predict implantation and subsequent FBET outcomes although embryos not achieving the blastocyst stage until day 6 still demonstrate acceptable outcomes.
frozen-thawed blastocyst cycle; embryo transfer; day 5 vs. day 6
The first Swiss human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line, CH-ES1, has shown features of a malignant cell line. It originated from the only single blastomere that survived cryopreservation of an embryo, and it more closely resembles teratocarcinoma lines than other hESC lines with respect to its abnormal karyotype and its formation of invasive tumors when injected into SCID mice. The aim of this study was to characterize the molecular basis of the oncogenicity of CH-ES1 cells, we looked for abnormal chromosomal copy number (by array Comparative Genomic Hybridization, aCGH) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). To see how unique these changes were, we compared these results to data collected from the 2102Ep teratocarcinoma line and four hESC lines (H1, HS293, HS401 and SIVF-02) which displayed normal G-banding result. We identified genomic gains and losses in CH-ES1, including gains in areas containing several oncogenes. These features are similar to those observed in teratocarcinomas, and this explains the high malignancy. The CH-ES1 line was trisomic for chromosomes 1, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20 and X. Also the karyotypically (based on G-banding) normal hESC lines were also found to have several genomic changes that involved genes with known roles in cancer. The largest changes were found in the H1 line at passage number 56, when large 5 Mb duplications in chromosomes 1q32.2 and 22q12.2 were detected, but the losses and gains were seen already at passage 22. These changes found in the other lines highlight the importance of assessing the acquisition of genetic changes by hESCs before their use in regenerative medicine applications. They also point to the possibility that the acquisition of genetic changes by ESCs in culture may be used to explore certain aspects of the mechanisms regulating oncogenesis.
To compare the IVF outcomes of vitrification-thawed blastocyst transfer cycles utilizing different endometrial preparation methods.
We retrospectively assessed IVF outcomes in 611 patients (648 cycles) who underwent blastocyst frozen embryo transfer (FET) between January 2007 and December 2009. All embryos had been cryopreserved by a vitrification method following a previous IVF cycle. Patients were prepared for transfer by using either the natural cycle (n = 310/Group 1), the natural cycle with ovulation induction employing human chorionic gonadotropin (n = 134/Group 2), or a hormonally manipulated artificial cycle with estrogen and progesterone supplementation (n = 204/Group 3).
Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed a significant difference in clinical pregnancy rate between Groups 3 (30.4%) and 1 (41.9%) (odds ratio [OR], 0.567; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.379–0.847, P = 0.006) whereas the difference between Groups 2 and 1 was not significant (41.8% vs. 41.9%; OR, 0.683; 95% CI, 0.435–1.073; P = 0.098). Other significant variables affecting clinical pregnancy rate were the number of embryos transferred, the grade of transferred embryos, and maximal endometrial thickness.
The results showed that, using vitrification-thawed blastocyst transfer, employment of natural cycles with or without hCG treatment was associated with better outcomes than was the use of hormonally manipulated cycles.
Cycle regimen; Vitrification; Embryo transfer; Blastocyst; In vitro fertilization
To review utilisation of elective embryo cryopreservation in the expectant management of patients at risk for developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), and report on reproductive outcome following transfer of thawed embryos.
Materials and methods
Medical records were reviewed for patients undergoing IVF from 2000–2008 to identify cases at risk for OHSS where cryopreservation was electively performed on all embryos at the 2 pn stage. Patient age, total number of oocytes retrieved, number of 2 pn embryos cryopreserved, interval between retrieval and thaw/transfer, number (and developmental stage) of embryos transferred (ET), and delivery rate after IVF were recorded for all patients.
From a total of 2892 IVF cycles undertaken during the study period, 51 IVF cases (1.8%) were noted where follicle number exceeded 20 and pelvic fluid collection was present. Elective embryo freeze was performed as OHSS prophylaxis in each instance. Mean (± SD) age of these patients was 32 ± 3.8 yrs. Average number of oocytes retrieved in this group was 23 ± 8.7, which after fertilisation yielded an average of 14 ± 5.7 embryos cryopreserved per patient. Thaw and ET was performed an average of 115 ± 65 d (range 30–377 d) after oocyte retrieval with a mean of 2 ± 0.6 embryos transferred. Grow-out to blastocyst stage was achieved in 88.2% of cases. Delivery/livebirth rate was 33.3% per initiated cycle and 43.6% per transfer. Non-transferred blastocysts remained in cryostorage for 24 of 51 patients (46.1%) after ET, with an average of 3 ± 3 blastocysts refrozen per patient.
OHSS prophylaxis was used in 1.8% of IVF cycles at this institution; no serious OHSS complications were encountered during the study period. Management based on elective 2 pn embryo cryopreservation with subsequent thaw and grow-out to blastocyst stage for transfer did not appear to compromise embryo viability or overall reproductive outcome. For these patients, immediate elective embryo cryopreservation and delay of ET by as little as 30 d allowed for satisfactory conclusion of the IVF sequence, yielding a livebirth-delivery rate (per ET) >40%.
Quality control programs are necessary to maintain good clinical practice. Embryo grading has been described as one of the external quality assurance schemes. Although the evaluation of embryos is based on the assessment of morphological characteristics, considerable intra- and inter-observer variability has been described. In this multicentre study, the variability in the embryo evaluation has been evaluated using morphological characteristics on day 1, day 2 and day 3 of embryo development.
Five embryologists of four different IVF centers participated in this study. Multilevel images of embryos were presented on a website at different time points to evaluate intra-and inter-observer agreement in the assessment of embryo morphology. The embryos were evaluated on day 1, day 2 and day 3 of their development and each embryologist had to decide if the embryo had to be transferred, cryopreserved or discarded.
Both intra-observer agreement and inter-observer agreement were good to excellent for the position of the pronuclei on day 1, the number of blastomeres on day 2 and day 3 and the clinical decision (transfer, cryopreservation, discard). For all other characteristics (size of pronuclei, presence of cytoplasomic halo, degree of fragmentation and size of blastomeres) the intra- and inter-observer agreement was moderate to very poor.
Mono- or multicentre quality control on embryo scoring by morphological assessment can easily be performed through the design of a simple website. In the future the website design can be adapted to generate statistical feedback upon scoring and can even include a training module.
The assessment of the embryo quality is crucial to maintain an high pregnancy rate and to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancy. The evaluation of the pronuclear and nucleolar characteristics of human zygote have been proposed as an indicator of embryo development and chromosomal complement. The aim of the current study was to assess the role of pronuclear morphology evaluation in vitro fertilization (IVF) / intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles.
Retrospective clinical analysis on 755 non-elective transfers of only one embryo (ET). Embryo assessment was performed in days 1 and 2. Clinical and biological data were recorded and analyzed according to embryo and/or pronuclear morphology.
Both pronuclear and embryo morphology were significantly related to clinical pregnancy and live-birth rates. No significant difference in clinical pregnancy and live-birth rates was detected when the pronuclear and embryo morphology assessments were combined. Embryo morphology and maternal age were the only independent predictors of favorable outcome by logistic regression analysis.
Pronuclear evaluation is effective to select the best zygotes if ET is performed at day 1, whereas it did not improve the clinical outcomes when combined with embryo morphology evaluation in day 2.
Embryo morphology; IVF; ICSI; Pregnancy; Pronuclear morphology; Live-birth
Purpose: In recent years the infertile population applying for IVF treatments was changed and so the indications for performing intracellular sperm injection (ICSI). The aim of this study was to analyze predicting factors of our thawing cycles.
Methods: From December 1998 to July 2001, 440 consecutive thawing cycles were performed. Patient characteristics were examined. The number of cryopreserved embryos, number of transferred embryos, the timing of cryopreservation (48 h vs.72 h), and embryo survival rate were analyzed as a possible predictor for pregnancies achievement.
Results: Conventional IVF patient's characteristic was significantly different from ICSI population and analysis has been performed for every population separately. In the IVF population the women age, the number of transferred embryos, and timing of cryopreservation were factors significantly influencing the pregnancy rate. Interestingly, in the ICSI population only the number of transferred embryos was found to be a predictive factor.
Conclusion: ICSI and IVF cycles should be analyzed separately. Not all the factors influencing the success rate in the conventional IVF population are valid in the ICSI population.
Cryopreservation; embryos; in vitro fertilization; predictive factors
Purpose: Evaluate IVF-ET outcome data for a unique culture and cryopreservation strategy.
Methods: Retrospective study of 92 patients. Embryos for day-3 transfer were selected at pronuclear-stage; all extra zygotes were cryopreserved at pronuclear-stage.
Results: Delivery rates for Anonymous Oocyte Donation (Group I), patients <35 years (Group II), and 35–38 years (Group III) were 52.9%, 61.5%, and 51.7% for fresh and 38.5%, 33.3%, and 40.0% for frozen transfer. Deliveries per retrieval were 82.3%, 71.8%, and 58.6%. Only 0.88, 0.80, and 0.61 more zygotes were cultured than what were used for fresh transfer. Singleton, twin, and triplet rates were 64.6%, 31.2%, and 4.2% for fresh and 69.2%, 30.8%, and 0% for frozen.
Conclusions: Selection of day-3 transfer embryos at the pronuclear-stage and cryopreservation of extra zygotes results in high delivery rates in fresh and frozen cycles. This approach optimizes deliveries per retrieval and provides many patients with more than one pregnancy per retrieval.
Embryo cryopreservation; embryo grading; IVF-ET; pregnancy rate; zygote grading
Purpose: To calculate the added benefit of a cryopreservation program to the cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate over a maximum of three cycles of IVF.
Methods: A total of 1251 couples beginning their first IVF treatment between January 1995 and December 1999 were evaluated. Ongoing pregnancies from fresh and subsequent cryopreserved embryo transfer cycles were analyzed. Pregnancies arising from the cryopreservation cycle were considered to augment the cumulative pregnancy rate when no ongoing pregnancy arose from the fresh embryo transfer cycle.
Results: The ongoing pregnancy rate per cryopreserved embryo transfer was 11.7%. The cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate following three successive started fresh IVF cycles was 42.5%. When pregnancies arising from the transfer of thawed cryopreserved embryos were included, the cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate increased to 43.8%, rising to 44.8% when extrapolated data from as yet unthawed embryos was included.
Conclusions: When analyzed in these terms, the supplementary benefit of cryopreserving supranumerical embryos appears limited.
Blastocyst; cryopreservation; embryo; ethics; health economics; IVF; minimal ovarian stimulation; pregnancy
Purpose:Anticancer treatment causes ovarian failure.
Methods:Some hormones may have a protective effect on the ovary. Cryopreservation (freezing) of oocytes has had very limited success, and therefore, currently its use before chemotherapy is not a feasible option. However, cryopreservation of embryos is possible. Another solution is oocyte donation followed by in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Results:Ovarian cortical slices containing primordial follicles have been cryopreserved successfully. To restore fertility, cryopreserved–thawed tissue taken from cancer patients before therapy could be replanted after recovery. The possible risk of malignancy restoration could be eliminated by obtaining unilaminar follicles from cryopreserved–thawed tissue and growing them in vitro, followed by routine IVF.
Conclusions:Although women who undergo chemotherapy face limited options for fertility preservation, intensive studies in cryopreservation and in vitro maturation of follicles harbor hope for brighter prospects in the future.
primordial follicles; chemotherapy; “protective” hormonal treatment; cryopreservation; in vitro maturation
Patients with unexplained infertility may have fertilization problems. Split fertilization (ICSI and conventional IVF on sibling oocytes) is often used to avoid poor fertilization. Our aim was to assess the ability of hyaluronic acid binding (HA-binding) assay to predict spontaneous fertilization during IVF.
Prospective, blinded, controlled trial. Patients undergoing their first IVF cycle for unexplained infertility were eligible. Split fertilization was used. IVF and ICSI fertilization rates and embryo development based on 3 HA-binding cut-offs (< 60%; 60–80%; >80%) were compared.
ICSI fertilization was higher than IVF, but none of the HA-binding cut-off levels predicted those cases where IVF was less effective, therefore ICSI only would have lead to improved outcome. Embryo development and morphology were similar in all cut-off groups.
HA-binding did not predict spontaneous fertilization in patients with unexplained infertility undergoing IVF treatment. When it was used for “screening” it did not help to select the method of fertilization.
Hyaluronic acid binding; Unexplained infertility; ICSI; Sibling oocytes; Fertilization rate
Purpose: To compare pregnancy rates of embryo transfers performed by a patient's own IVF physician to pregnancy rates of embryo transfers performed by other physicians on the IVF team.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study; University hospital.
Results: A total of 3029 embryo transfers were included. 434 patients (14%) had an embryo transfer by their own IVF physician. There was no difference in pregnancy rates comparing patients who had embryos transferred by a different physician than their own IVF physician when all cycle attempts were analyzed [Odds ratio (OR) 1.1; Confidence interval (CI) 0.9–1.4]. There was no significant difference between the groups' population characteristics. A subset analysis of 1st cycle only embryo transfers (n=1416) also revealed no difference in pregnancy rates [OR 1.1; CI 0.8–1.5].
Conclusions: Patients can be reassured that their chances of pregnancy are the same whether their embryo transfer is performed by their own physician or another physician in the practice.
Embryo transfer; Infertility; IVF; Physician-patient relationship; Pregnancy rates
Assessment of embryo viability is a key component of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and currently relies largely on embryo morphology and cleavage rate. In this study, we used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to compare the Viability Score (generated by metabolomic profiling of spent embryo culture media using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy) to morphologic grading for predicting pregnancy in women undergoing single embryo transfer (SET) on day 5.
A total of 198 spent embryo culture media samples were collected in four IVF centers located in the USA, Europe and Australia. First, 137 samples (training set) were analyzed by NIR to develop an algorithm that generates a Viability Score predictive of pregnancy for each sample. Next, 61 samples (validation set) were analyzed by observers blinded to embryo morphology and IVF outcome, using the Day 5 algorithm generated with the training set. Pregnancy was defined as fetal cardiac activity (FCA) at 12 weeks of gestation.
The Area Under the Curve (AUC) was greater for the metabolomic Viability Score compared to Morphology [Training set: 0.75 versus 0.55, p = 0.0011; Validation set: 0.68 versus 0.50, P = 0.021], and for a Composite score (obtained using a model combining Viability Score with morphologic grading), compared to morphology alone [0.74 versus 0.50, p = 0.004].
Our findings suggest that Viability Score alone or in combination with morphologic grading has the potential to be a better classifier for pregnancy outcome than morphology alone in women undergoing SET on day 5.
ROC analysis; Assisted reproductive technologies; ART; In vitro fertilization; IVF; Morphologic grade; Metabolomics; Viability Score
Purpose:Our purpose was to evaluate the effect of co-culture on preembryo development and clinical outcome.
Methods:Enrolled patients underwent a luteal-phase endometrial biopsy. The tissue was then enzymatically digested (collagenase) and the stromal and glandular cells were separated by differential sedimentation rates. These cells were cultured to confluence, released, and then cryopreserved until the patient's in vitro fertilization (IVF)–embryo transfer (ET) cycle. All normally fertilized oocytes were then placed on the co-cultured cells until transfer on day 3. Preembryo development on co-culture was compared to that in the patient's noncocultured previous cycle. Implantation and clinical pregnancy rates were compared to those in a control group of patients undergoing IVF during the study period who were matched for age, stimulation protocol, number of oocytes retrieved, and preembryos transferred.
Results:Twenty-nine women underwent 31 cycles of IVF-ET. On day 3 the overall mean number of blastomeres per preembryo on co-culture compared to that in the patient's previous cycle was 6.3 ± 1.8 vs. 5.6 ± 1.2 (P = 0.04). The average percentage of cytoplasmic fragments on co-culture compared to the previous cycle was 16 ± 9% vs. 19 ± 9% (P = 0.32). At transfer, after preembryo selection, the mean number of blastomeres per preembryo on co-culture compared to that in the patient's previous cycle was 6.8 ± 1.6 vs. 6.6 ± 1.3 (P = 0.5). The implantation and clinical pregnancy rates between co-culture and the matched control group were 15% (14/93) vs. 13% (16/124) (P = 0.79) and 29% (9/31) vs. 25% (10/40) (P = 0.45).
Conclusions:There was a significant improvement in the average number of blastomeres per preembryo on co-culture compared to that in the patient's previous noncoculture cycle. The overall implantation and clinical pregnancy rates between co-culture and a matched control group were not significantly different.
co-culture; endometrium; in vitro fertilization; embryo; morphology
Embryos and oocytes were first successfully cryopreserved more than 30 years ago, when Whittingham et al.1 and Wilmut 2 separately described that mouse embryos could be frozen and stored at -196 °C and, a few years later, Parkening et al. 3 reported the birth of live offspring resulting from in vitro fertilization (IVF) of cryopreserved oocytes. Since then, the use of cryopreservation techniques has rapidly spread to become an essential component in the practice of human and animal assisted reproduction and in the conservation of animal genetic resources. Currently, there are two main methods used to cryopreserve oocytes and embryos: slow freezing and vitrification. A wide variety of approaches have been used to try to improve both techniques and millions of animals and thousands of children have been born from cryopreserved embryos. However, important shortcomings associated to cryopreservation still have to be overcome, since ice-crystal formation, solution effects and osmotic shock seem to cause several cryoinjuries in post-thawed oocytes and embryos. Slow freezing with programmable freezers has the advantage of using low concentrations of cryoprotectants, which are usually associated with chemical toxicity and osmotic shock, but their ability to avoid ice-crystal formation at low concentrations is limited. Slow freezing also induces supercooling effects that must be avoided using manual or automatic seeding 4. In the vitrification process, high concentrations of cryoprotectants inhibit the formation of ice-crystals and lead to the formation of a glasslike vitrified state in which water is solidified, but not expanded. However, due to the toxicity of cyroprotectants at the concentrations used, oocytes/embryos can only be exposed to the cryoprotectant solution for a very short period of time and in a minimum volume solution, before submerging the samples directly in liquid nitrogen 5. In the last decade, vitrification has become more popular because it is a very quick method in which no expensive equipment (programmable freezer) is required. However, slow freezing continues to be the most widely used method for oocyte/embryo cryopreservation. In this video-article we show, step-by-step, how to collect and slowly freeze hamster oocytes with high post-thaw survival rates. The same procedure can also be applied to successfully freeze and thaw mouse embryos at different stages of preimplantation development.
Purpose: To verify a more effective dilution method that can be applied to human expanded blastocysts that are vitrified after artificial shrinkage.
Methods: Surplus expanded blastocysts that remained after embryo transfer (ET) in in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, were cryopreserved. The blastocysts were vitrified on EM grids following artificial shrinkage. After thawing the blastocysts, cryoprotectants were diluted using either a 6- or 2-step method. We examined the survival rate and clinical outcome of blastocysts of 151 patients in our ET program after thawing.
Results: The survival rate of blastocysts that were thawed using a 2-step method (91.6%, 239/261) was comparable with that of the 6-step method (89%, 186/209). The clinical pregnancy rate (45.9%, 39/85) and implantation rate (24.1%, 53/220) were slightly higher in the 2-step method than in the 6-step method (40.9%, 27/66; 19.4%, 33/170).
Conclusions: Our data indicate that the 2-step dilution method could be a simpler and more effective protocol for human expanded blastocysts that are vitrified using EM-grid following artificial shrinkage.
Artificial shrinkage; EM grid; human blastocyst; 2-step method; vitrification.
To assess the effect of wearing powdered gloves during embryo transfer as compared to un-powdered gloves on the pregnancy outcome of IVF cycles.
Patients, undergoing embryo transfer procedures, were prospectively randomized into two groups: In the first (group A, n=356) group embryo transfer was performed while wearing powdered gloves; in the second (group B, n=356) group embryo transfer was performed while wearing un-powdered gloves. The primary end point of the study was the clinical pregnancy rate.
The two groups were comparable with respect to the mean age, mean number of grade one embryos obtained, and the mean number of embryos transferred. The clinical pregnancy rates of the two groups were not different.
Powdered gloves, worn during embryo transfer, have no adverse effect on the pregnancy outcome of IVF cycles.
Embryo transfer; IVF; Powdered gloves
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of vitrification on the preimplantation developmental competence of mouse 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell stage embryos.
Mouse 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell stage embryos were cryopreserved using the cryotop vitrification method and subsequently warmed on a later date. The embryos were then assessed by their morphology, blastocyst formation and hatching rates. Additionally, trophectoderm (TE) and inner cell mass (ICM) cell numbers were compared in hatched blastocysts from the control and experimental groups.
Vitrified embryos at the 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell stages appeared morphologically normal after warming. The overall survival rate of vitrified embryos at various stages after warming was 96.7% and there were no significant differences among 2-cell stage (96.0%), 4-cell stage (96.8%) and 8-cell stage (97.1%) embryos (P > 0.05). The blastocyst formation rate (69.4%) and hatching rate (52.6%) of vitrified 2-cell embryos were significantly lower than that from the control group and vitrified 8-cell embryos (P < 0.05). In the vitrified 4-cell embryo group, the blastocyst formation rate (90.3%) was similar to the 8-cell group (91.2%), but the hatching rate (60.0%) was significantly lower than that of the non-vitrified control ( 84.1%) and vitrified 8-cell embryo (78.4%) groups (P < 0.05). When further development to the fully hatched blastocyst stage was compared, hatched blastocysts derived from vitrified 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell embryos had significantly lower cell counts both in the ICM and TE, as compared to fresh blastocysts (P < 0.05). Among the vitrified 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell embryo groups, there were no significant differences in the cell counts of ICM and TE (P > 0.05).
Although cryotop vitrification was suitable for the cryopreservation of mouse embryos from the 2-cell stage, 4-cell stage and 8-cell stage without significant loss of survival, vitrification had an adverse effect on the development of 2-cell embryos. Mouse embryos at the 8-cell stage had the best tolerance for vitrification and would yield the highest level of post-vitrification developmental competence among early cleavage stage embryos. Nevertheless, it is unclear how these findings can be extrapolated to human embryos.
Vitrification; Cleavage; Embryos; Development; Cryopreservation; Mouse
Purpose: To determine whether the relatively low implantation rate of cryopreserved Day 2 embryos with only 2 blastomeres can be increased as a consequence of increasing their blastomere content by extending the prefreeze culture time.
Methods: Of a total of 3480 Day 2 embryos studied, 1921 (55.2%) had reached the 4-cell stage by 40 h postinsemination (FAST) and were transferred or cryopreserved. The remaining embryos that underwent subsequent cell division by 46 h (INTERMEDIATE; 18.3% of total) or 66 h (SLOW; 20.3% of total) were also cryopreserved whereas the 6.2% that remained arrested at 66 h were discarded. Thawed embryos from each category were assessed for survival, postthaw cleavage, and implantation.
Results: The proportion of thawed embryos that survived, the proportion of surviving embryos that underwent postthaw cleavage, and the implantation rate of transferred embryos were all reduced in the slower growing cryopreserved embryos.
Conclusions: The growth rate, and not the number of blastomeres per se, is a critical factor in predicting the developmental potential of cryopreserved embryos.
blastomere number; cryosurvival; embryo cryopreservation; embryo growth rate; implantation rate
Objective:Our objective was to analyze the outcome of cryopreserved embryos obtained after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) in terms of survival rate, implantation rate (IR), total and clinical pregnancy rate (PR) in a retrospective, comparative study.
Methods:Three hundred seventy-five IVF and 463 ICSI surnumerary cleaved embryos, frozen on Day 2 with 1,2-propanediol, were thawed.
Results:Thirty-two percent of the thawed IVF embryos survived and 11 pregnancies (8 clinical) were obtained from 68 transfers (16.1%). Fourty-seven percent of the ICSI embryos survived, with 19 pregnancies (18 clinical) from 116 transfers (16.4%). The IR was 8.5% (8/94) in IVF cycles and 10.8% (20/185) in ICSI cycles.
Conclusions:A significantly better survival rate of ICSI embryos was observed but with no difference in PR, preclinical, and clinical abortion rate, or IR.
in vitro fertilization; intracytoplasmic sperm injection; cryopreservation; survival rate; pregnancy rate; implantation rate