Embryo selection using time-lapse analysis (Early Embryo Viability Assessment) in conjunction with standard morphology: a prospective two-center pilot study

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

Does prospective embryo selection using the results from the Eava Test (Early Embryo Viability Assessment) in combination with standard morphology increase the pregnancy rate of IVF and ICSI patients compared to embryo selection based on morphology only?

SUMMARY ANSWER

Embryo selection using the Eeva Test plus standard morphology on Day 3 results in comparable pregnancy rates as conventional morphological embryo selection.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

Time-lapse monitoring of embryo development may represent a superior way to culture and select embryos in vitro. The Eeva Test records the development of each embryo with a cell-tracking system and predicts the likelihood (High, Medium or Low) that an embryo will form a blastocyst based on an automated analysis of early cell division timings.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION

This trial was designed as a prospective, observational, two-center pilot study with a propensity matched control group. The analysis involved 280 of 302 enrolled patients who were included in the Eeva Test group in 2013 and 560 control patients who were treated in the years 2011–2013. The majority of transfers (98%) were single embryo transfers.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS

Two academic hospitals (VUmc Amsterdam and UZ Gent) enrolled patients <41 years old, with <3 previous attempts and ≥5 normally fertilized eggs. Propensity matching was used to identify a propensity matched control group from a cohort of 1777 patients based on age, cycle number, oocyte number and number of fertilized oocytes.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

There was no difference in patient baseline characteristics between the two groups. The ongoing pregnancy rate (OPR) of patients enrolled in the Eeva Test group (34.3%; 96/280) did not differ significantly from the OPR in the propensity matched control group (34.6%, 194/560; P = 0.92). However, significantly less top quality embryos (eight-cell embryos with ≤25% fragmentation) were transferred in the Eeva Test group compared to the propensity matched control group (70.4% vs. 82.3%; P < 0.001). The transfer of Eeva High and Medium embryos resulted in a significantly higher OPR of 36.8% (89/242) compared to 18.4% (7/38) for Eeva Low embryos (P = 0.02).

LIMITATION, REASONS FOR CAUTION

This pilot study is limited by its nonrandomized design with a concurrent and historical control.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

Our pilot data did not reveal significant differences between time-lapse based and conventional embryo selection. Interestingly, the pregnancy rates were comparable in both groups even though the morphological quality of the transferred embryos was significantly lower in the Eeva Test group compared to the propensity matched control group. A sufficiently powered three-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a solid design should be performed to generate decisive evidence in the future.

STUDY FINDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)

Progyny Inc., formerly Auxogyn provided the Eeva scopes, software and technical support for this study. The funding sources did neither influence data collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data, nor the preparation of the manuscript.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER

ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01671644.

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