A prospective randomized trial of blastocyst culture and transfer in in-vitro fertilization

Hum Reprod. 1998 Dec;13(12):3434-40. doi: 10.1093/humrep/13.12.3434.


The effectiveness of blastocyst culture and transfer in human in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was evaluated in a prospective randomized trial in patients having a moderate to good response to gonadotrophin stimulation. Embryos were transferred either on day 3 after culture to around the 8-cell stage in Ham's F-10 medium supplemented with fetal cord serum, or on day 5 after culture to the blastocyst stage in the sequential serum-free media G 1.2 and G 2.2. The pregnancy rates after transfer on day 3 or day 5 were equivalent, 66 and 71% respectively; however, significantly more embryos were transferred on day 3 (3.7) than on day 5 (2.2). The number of blastocysts transferred did not affect the implantation rate, and pregnancy rates when either two or three blastocysts were transferred were 68 and 87% respectively. The implantation rate of the blastocysts (50.5% fetal heart beat) was significantly higher compared to the cleavage stage embryos transferred on day 3 (30.1%). The percentage of blastocyst development was not affected by the number of 2-pronuclear embryos, or by maternal age. Irrespective of the number of blastocysts formed, pregnancy rates were similar. Furthermore, the pregnancy rate following blastocyst transfer in patients with 10 or more follicles at the time of human chorionic gonadotrophin administration was not affected by patient age. More than 60% of patients having blastocyst culture and transfer had supernumerary embryos for cryopreservation. The establishment of a pregnancy following thaw and transfer confirmed the viability of cryopreserved blastocysts cultured in the absence of serum or co-culture. The ability to transfer just two blastocysts while maintaining high pregnancy rates will therefore help to eliminate high order multiple gestations and improve the overall efficiency of human IVF.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blastocyst
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Culture Media
  • Embryo Transfer / methods*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Prospective Studies


  • Culture Media