4. In vitro fertilization with single blastocyst-stage transfer
Single-embryo transfer has been recommended to reduce the incidence of multiple gestations when in vitro fertilization is performed in women under 36 years of age. A prospective, randomized, controlled trial was designed to determine whether there were any differences in the rates of pregnancy and delivery between women undergoing transfer of a single cleavage-stage (day 3) embryo and those undergoing transfer of a single blastocyst-stage (day 5) embryo. Infertile women under 36 years of age (n=351) were studied who were randomly assigned to undergo transfer of either a single cleavage-stage embryo (176 patients) or a single blastocyst-stage embryo (175 patients). Multifollicular ovarian stimulation was performed with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist and recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone. The study was terminated early after a prespecified interim analysis (which included 50 percent of the planned number of patients) found a higher rate of pregnancy among women undergoing transfer of a single blastocyst-stage embryo (P=0.02). The rate of delivery was also significantly higher in this group than in the group undergoing transfer of a single cleavage-stage embryo (32.0 percent vs. 21.6 percent; relative risk, 1.48; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.04 to 2.11). Two multiple births occurred, both of monozygotic twins, both of which were in the group undergoing transfer of a single cleavage-stage embryo. These findings support the transfer of a single blastocyst-stage (day 5) embryo in infertile women under 36 years of age. Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
Papanikolaou EG, Camus M, Kolibianakis EM, Van Landuyt L, Van Steirteghem A, Devroey P. In vitro fertilization with single blastocyst-stage versus single cleavage-stage embryos. N Engl J Med. 2006 Mar 16;354(11):1139-46.