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Selection of single blastocysts for fresh transfer via standard morphology assessment alone and with array CGH for good prognosis IVF patients: results from a randomized pilot study

Zhihong Yang1, Jiaen Liu2, Gary S Collins3, Shala A Salem1, Xiaohong Liu2, Sarah S Lyle1, Alison C Peck1, E Scott Sills1* and Rifaat D Salem1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology Research, Pacific Reproductive Center, Torrance, CA, 90505, USA

2 IVF Division, Beijing Jia En De Yun Hospital, Beijing, 100083, People's Republic of China

3 Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Wolfson College Annexe, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Molecular Cytogenetics 2012, 5:24  doi:10.1186/1755-8166-5-24

Published: 2 May 2012

Abstract

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.