Individual culture leads to decreased blastocyst formation but does not affect pregnancy outcomes in the setting of a single, vitrified-warmed euploid blastocyst transfer.

Glatthorn, HN, Hanson, BM, Kim, JG, Herlihy, NS, Klimczak, AM, Hong, KH, Seli, E, Scott, RT
J Assist Reprod Genet. Jun. 2021 doi: 10.1007/s10815-021-02252-8


Purpose: To evaluate embryology and pregnancy outcomes following individual and group embryo culture in the setting of contemporary laboratory practices and freeze-all cycles. Methods: Patients underwent ovarian stimulation followed by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Embryos proceeded through individual culture and then underwent preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) via trophectoderm biopsy. In a subsequent cycle, participants underwent single embryo transfer of a vitrified-warmed, euploid embryo. Outcomes were compared to controls undergoing group culture during the same time frame. The Mann-Whitney U test and logistic regression models were utilized. Results: Outcomes were assessed for 144 patients whose embryos underwent individual culture and 449 controls whose embryos underwent group culture. There were no significant differences in fertilization rates between groups (81.7% for individual culture vs. 84.1% for group culture, p = 0.22). However, individual culture was associated with a decreased rate of blastocyst formation compared to group culture (43.5% vs. 48.5%, p < 0.01). Following single, vitrified-warmed euploid blastocyst transfer, there were no significant differences between individual culture and group culture, respectively, in rates of positive βhCG (81.9% vs. 81.5%, p = 0.91), sustained implantation (63.9% vs. 65.0%, p = 0.80), biochemical miscarriage (16.7% vs. 12.3%, p = 0.18), or clinical miscarriage (1.4% vs. 4.2%, p = 0.13). Conclusion: While individual culture appears to negatively impact the rate of usable blastocyst formation compared to group culture, there were no significant differences in pregnancy outcomes following transfer of a single, vitrified-warmed euploid blastocyst. Keywords: Assisted reproductive technology; Embryo culture; Embryology; In vitro fertilization; Preimplantation genetic testing.