Effect of Group Embryo Culture under Low-Oxygen Tension in Benchtop Incubators on Human Embryo Culture: Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Ruiz, M, Santamaria-Lopez, E, Blasco, V, Hernaez, M J, Caligara, C, Pellicer, A, Fernandez-Sanchez, M, Prados, N,
Reprod Sci. Jul. 2020 doi: 10.1007/s43032-020-00150-5


To evaluate the efficacy of group embryo culture under low-oxygen tension in benchtop incubators on human embryo development in vitro. The study was designed as a prospective, patient blind, randomized, controlled trial of a complex intervention. One hundred forty-eight women undergoing IVF were recruited in our fertility practice and randomized into two groups: intervention group (study culture strategy) or control group (control culture strategy). Intervention group embryos were cultured grouped under low-oxygen tension in benchtop incubators while control group embryos were cultured individually under atmospheric oxygen tension in large-box incubators. Using the study culture strategy, there were a significantly higher implantation rate (65.1% vs 49.2%; RR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.17-1.73) and live birth delivery rate per embryo transfer (52.7% vs 39.5%; RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.02-1.75) with the first fresh embryo transfer. Cumulative implantation rate (56.7% vs 43.6%; RR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.05-1.62) and cumulative live birth rate per embryo transfer (47.4% vs 36.2%; RR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.01-1.69) were also statistically significantly increased in the study culture strategy. Human embryos exposed to our study culture condition strategy had statistically significant increased cumulative implantation rate and cumulative live birth rate per embryo transferred. Our findings suggest that this strategy specially favours poor quality embryos. Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT01904006.