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Review
, 21 (1), 83-100

Embryo Culture Medium: Which Is the Best?

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Review

Embryo Culture Medium: Which Is the Best?

Michelle Lane et al. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol.

Abstract

With the growing move in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics to transfer fewer embryos to women, there is an increasing reliance on the IVF laboratory to maximize embryo viability. Subsequently, there is justified scrutiny on the culture system and the media used to sustain the human embryo in vitro. The transfer of fewer embryos to patients also creates an increased dependence on the ability to cryopreserve embryos successfully. Therefore, in addition to the ability of a culture system to produce a single top-quality embryo for transfer, it is also necessary to enhance the cryotolerance of sibling embryos so that they can survive freezing or vitrification. Therefore, when examining which culture media is the best, it is prudent to not only examine the ability of a culture system to produce a pregnancy with the one or two highest-grade embryos, but also to determine how many embryos from the entire cohort (both fresh and frozen embryos) are capable of producing a live birth. Additionally, research on animal models has demonstrated that stress, and the resultant adaptation to conditions during pre-implantation stages, can affect pregnancy loss and fetal growth. It is therefore important to understand the role of each medium component and to identify possible sources of cellular stress to the embryo that will ultimately affect the function and viability of the conceptus.

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