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Reprod Biomed Online. 2012 Oct;25(4):371-81. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Jul 7.

Timing of cell division in human cleavage-stage embryos is linked with blastocyst formation and quality.

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IVI Alicante, Alicante, Spain.


Noninvasive markers of embryo quality are being sought to improve IVF success. The present study aimed to discover possible associations between embryo division kinetics in the cleavage stage, the subsequent ability of human embryos to reach the blastocyst stage and the resulting blastocyst morphology. A retrospective cohort study analysed 834 embryos from 165 oocyte donation couples using a time-lapse monitoring system that allowed the recording of the exact timings for key events related to embryo development. Timing parameters were categorized into four quartiles. The probability of an embryo developing to a blastocyst was linked to a strict chronology of development. To further evaluate the relationships between these morphokinetic parameters and subsequent blastocyst formation, the ensuing blastocyst morphology was compared with a viability score based on a hierarchical classification of the cleavage-stage morphokinetic parameters. It is concluded that the kinetics of early embryo development and the potential for human embryos to develop to the blastocyst stage on day 5 are closely related and that time-lapse-based evaluation of the exact timing of early events in embryo development is a promising tool for the prediction of blastocyst formation and quality according to the proposed model.

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