Human embryo morphokinetics correlation with obstetric outcomes and antepartum biomarkers

Patricia Rekawek, Frederick Friedman, Bertille Gaigbe-Togbe, Joseph Lee, Alan B. Copperman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the correlation between embryo morphology and antepartum biomarker levels and obstetric outcomes following single embryo transfers (SETs). STUDY DESIGN: In vitro fertilization patients who delivered at the study site’s partnering hospital were included. Embryo morphology was compared to antepartum biomarkers and pregnancy outcomes. RESULTS: At a single academic reproductive endocrinology/infertility center, 2,882 SETs (day 3, 5, or 6) were performed from July 1, 2001, to June 30, 2013. Embryologic, serologic, and obstetric outcomes were available for 78 patients (cleavage [n=23]; blastocyst [n=55]). Embryos with a lower quality inner cell mass (ICM) demonstrated higher second trimester maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (p=0.0241) and AFP multiple of median (MoM) (p= 0.0036). After adjusting for age, body mass index, parity, and smoking status, this statistical significance remained (p=0.0319 for AFP; p=0.0026 for AFP MoM). CONCLUSION: Embryo morphokinetics did not correlate with perinatal outcome or a majority of placental biomarkers. A low ICM score was associated with higher second trimester maternal serum AFP values. This warrants further investigation, especially due to the risks of potential adverse obstetric outcomes associated with high AFP levels. Despite these findings, no difference in obstetric outcomes between low and high ICM scores was observed after controlling for maternal confounding variables. Patients should be reassured that embryo implantation, regardless of morphological score, results in similar obstetric outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of reproductive medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Antepartum biomarkers
  • Embryo morphology
  • Fetal development
  • Pregnancy outcome
  • Single embryo transfer


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