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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1985;442:195-204.

Culture factors affecting the success rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.


The development of one-cell mouse zygotes to the blastocyst stage in vitro has been used as a quality control for the media and handling procedures employed for human in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF/ET). One-cell mouse zygotes were placed in culture in medium containing bovine serum albumin. Aliquots of the same batch of medium containing female patients' homologous serum were used for the fertilization and culture of human oocytes. The following procedures were associated with high rates of mouse embryo development and human pregnancies following IVF/ET: adequate gassing and equilibration of the medium, double-rinsing of pipets and catheters used to handle embryos, use of a HEPES-buffered medium for manipulating embryos in the absence of an atmosphere containing 5% CO2, control of excessive temperature in the vicinity of the embryos, and ET using medium containing 50% patient's serum. The institution of these procedures gave more consistent pregnancy rates. However, there was no obvious association between fertilization and cleavage of human oocytes and the quality of the medium ascertained by the mouse embryo development test. In a continuing trial, we are comparing two culture media (modified Tyrode's and a medium formulated on the composition of human fallopian tube fluid [HTF]) and two culture techniques (culture in medium under oil in petri dishes and in loosely capped tubes). Significantly more mouse zygotes developed in HTF medium compared to Tyrode's medium. In a randomized 2 X 2 factorial trial with human IVF/ET, the highest pregnancy rate occurred when fertilization and culture were carried out in HTF medium under oil, but numbers are not yet sufficient to show any statistical difference between treatments.

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