When and how should new technology be introduced into the IVF laboratory?

Hum Reprod. 2012 Feb;27(2):303-13. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der414. Epub 2011 Dec 12.


There are many examples in assisted reproduction technology, where new technology and methods have been introduced into the clinical setting without appropriate development and evidence-based medicine to show that the procedure is safe and beneficial to the patient. Examples include preimplantation genetic screening, assisted hatching, in vitro maturation, blastocyst transfer and vitrification. Changes to culture media composition, stimulation regimes and laboratory protocols are also often established internationally without adequate validation. More recently, novel equipment that needs to be validated before it enters routine clinical use is being developed for IVF. With technologies such as producing gametes from stem cells around the corner, it is vital to ensure that the necessary research and development is conducted before bringing new techniques into clinical practice. Ideally, this should include preliminary work on animal models, such as mice/rats/rabbits/larger mammals, followed by studies on human embryos donated for research and finally well-designed RCTs with a follow up of all children born from the procedure. If such preliminary studies are not performed and published, it is possible that technology bringing no clinical benefit or leading to adverse health outcomes in the children born by these practices may be introduced. All IVF clinics need to consider the safety and efficacy of new technologies before introducing them.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryopreservation
  • Culture Media / analysis
  • Embryo Culture Techniques
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / adverse effects*
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Infertility / therapy
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Oocytes
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Semen Analysis / methods
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic / adverse effects
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic / methods


  • Culture Media
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins