Effects of cumulus cells removal after 6 h co-incubation of gametes on the outcomes of human IVF

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the effects of cumulus cells removal after 6 h co-incubation of gametes on the fertilization, polyspermy, multinucleation and clinical pregnancy rates in human IVF.

Methods

A total of 1,200 IVF-ET cycles undergoing 6 h co-incubation of gametes in 2009 were included in this study. Inclusion criteria were: female age <38 years, first IVF treatment, with bi-ovary and normal ovarian response, e.g., 4˜20 oocytes could be obtained. A 6 h period of co-incubation was applied in all IVF cycles. According to the history of infertility, cumulus cells were mechanically removed either 6 h post-insemination or 20 h post-insemination. For couples with primary infertility, or unexplained infertility, or mild oligospermia or asthenospermia, the cumulus cells were removed at 6 h of insemination for the polar body observation (6 h group, n=565). Of these, 80 cycles received early rescue ICSI due to fertilization failure or low fertilization rate at 6 h of insemination. For couples with secondary infertility and normal semen analysis, the cumulus cells were removed at 20 h of insemination as routine (20 h group, n=635). Of these, three cycles received late rescue ICSI due to fertilization failure at 20 h of insemination. Normal fertilization, polyspermy (≥3PN), multinucleation and clinical pregnancy rates were compared between the two groups (rescue ICSI cycles were not included in the comparison in both groups).

Results

Significant difference (P<0.05) was observed between the groups regarding polyspermy rates (7.48% in 6 h group and 9.22% in 20 h group). No difference was observed between the groups regarding normal fertilization rates (2PN rate) (64.89% in 6 h group and 65.74% in 20 h group). No difference was observed between the groups regarding multinucleation and clinical pregnancy rates (11.01% and 65.15% in 6 h group, 10.75% and 66.93% in 20 h group, respectively). The clinical pregnancy rate was 51.43% in cycles receiving early rescue ICSI, while no clinical pregnancy was obtained in cycles receiving late rescue ICSI.

Conclusion

The present results indicate that cumulus cells removal at 6 h of insemination is a relatively safe operation, which yielded comparable normal fertilization rate, multinucleation and clinical pregnancy rates compared with 20 h group. This protocol may be beneficial for early obsevation of fertilization failure and make early rescue ICSI possible.

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