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Reprod Biomed Online. 2006 Jan;12(1):60-5.

Early pregnancy loss is significantly higher after day 3 single embryo transfer than after day 5 single blastocyst transfer in GnRH antagonist stimulated IVF cycles.

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Centre for Reproductive Medicine, University Hospital, Vrije Universtiteit Brussel (Dutch-Speaking Brussels Free University), Laarbeeklaaan 101, B-1090, Brussels, Belgium.


The current study aimed to investigate whether single day-3 embryo transfer (SET) results in higher early pregnancy loss (EPL) than single blastocyst transfer (SBET). A total of 896 patients underwent 1103 IVF cycles with a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist protocol. In 603 cycles (D3 group) a single embryo on day 3 of the embryo culture was transferred, whereas in the remaining 500 cycles a single blastocyst was transferred on day 5 (D5 group). Multifollicular ovarian stimulation was performed with a GnRH antagonist protocol starting on day 6. SET resulted in 209 pregnancies (34.7%), compared with 221 pregnancies (44.2%) for SBET. Early pregnancy loss rate was significantly higher with SET compared with SBET (26.8% versus 17.2%, P = 0.017) and ongoing implantation rate was also significantly higher with day 5 compared with day-3 embryo transfer (OR:1.68, 95% confidence interval:1.31-2.18). Sub-optimal embryo selection for transfer on day 3, in addition to asynchronization between altered endometrium and early exposure of cleavage-stage embryos, might explain the above difference. Nevertheless, the higher implantation potential of the blastocyst questions the rationale behind performing single embryo transfer on day 3 of embryo culture in women under 36 years old.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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