Purpose: To determine the vaginal microbiome in women undergoing IVF-ET and investigate correlations with clinical outcomes.
Methods: Thirty patients had blood drawn for estradiol (E(2)) and progesterone (P(4)) at four time points during the IVF-ET cycle and at 4-6 weeks of gestation, if pregnant. Vaginal swabs were obtained in different hormonal milieu, and the vaginal microbiome determined by deep sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene.
Results: The vaginal microbiome underwent a transition during therapy in some but not all patients. Novel bacteria were found in 33% of women tested during the treatment cycle, but not at 6-8 weeks of gestation. Diversity of species varied across different hormonal milieu, and on the day of embryo transfer correlated with outcome (live birth/no live birth). The species diversity index distinguished women who had a live birth from those who did not.
Conclusions: This metagenomics approach has enabled discovery of novel, previously unidentified bacterial species in the human vagina in different hormonal milieu and supports a shift in the vaginal microbiome during IVF-ET therapy using standard protocols. Furthermore, the data suggest that the vaginal microbiome on the day of embryo transfer affects pregnancy outcome.