Different effectiveness of closed embryo culture system with time-lapse imaging (EmbryoScopeTM) in comparison to standard manual embryology in good and poor prognosis patients: A prospectively randomized pilot study

Yan Guang Wu, Emanuela Lazzaroni-Tealdi, Qi Wang, Lin Zhang, David H. Barad, Vitaly A. Kushnir, Sarah K. Darmon, David F. Albertini, Norbert Gleicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Previously manual human embryology in many in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers is rapidly being replaced by closed embryo incubation systems with time-lapse imaging. Whether such systems perform comparably to manual embryology in different IVF patient populations has, however, never before been investigated. We, therefore, prospectively compared embryo quality following closed system culture with time-lapse photography (EmbryoScope™) and standard embryology. We performed a two-part prospectively randomized study in IVF (clinical trial NCT92256309). Part A involved 31 infertile poor prognosis patients prospectively randomized to EmbryoScope™ and standard embryology. Part B involved embryos from 17 egg donor-recipient cycles resulting in large egg/embryo numbers, thus permitting prospectively alternative embryo assignments to EmbryoScope™ and standard embryology. We then compared pregnancy rates and embryo quality on day-3 after fertilization and embryologist time utilized per processed embryo. Results: Part A revealed in poor prognosis patients no differences in day-3 embryo scores, implantation and clinical pregnancy rates between EmbryoScope™ and standard embryology. The EmbryoScope™, however, more than doubled embryology staff time (P<0.0001). In Part B, embryos grown in the EmbyoScope™ demonstrated significantly poorer day-3 quality (depending on embryo parameter between P=0.005 and P=0.01). Suspicion that conical culture dishes of the EmbryoScope™ (EmbryoSlide™) may be the cause was disproven when standard culture dishes demonstrated no outcome difference in standard incubation. Conclusions: Though due to small patient numbers preliminary, this study raises concerns about the mostly uncontrolled introduction of closed incubation systems with time lapse imaging into routine clinical embryology. Appropriately designed and powered prospectively randomized studies appear urgently needed in well-defined patient populations before the uncontrolled utilization of these instruments further expands. Trial registration:NCT02246309Registered September 18, 2014.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalReproductive Biology and Endocrinology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Closed incubation systems
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Embryo quality
  • Embryology
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Time laps photography

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