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Hum Reprod. 1997 Apr;12(4):800-4.

The frequency and developmental capability of human embryos containing multinucleated blastomeres.

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S.T.A.R.T. Inc., In Vitro Fertilization Clinic, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The frequency of multinucleated blastomeres (MNB) in 2- and 4-cell stage human embryos was recorded immediately before embryo transfer using a high-power inverted microscope. About 44% of patients (150/338) possessed embryos exhibiting MNB. The appearance of this nuclear abnormality was not correlated with maternal age. Overall, 15% of the otherwise good quality embryos (274/1885) that developed after monospermic fertilization contained several multinuclei (from two to seven) in at least one cell. Quite often MNB were found within all cells of the embryo (50% in 2-cell embryos). Blastomere multinucleation was significantly higher in 2-cell than 4-cell embryos (P <0.0001). This suggests that a considerable number of human embryos become abnormal during the first embryonic division. The embryos containing MNB were usually excluded for uterine transfers, with the exception of 19 cases when only such embryos could be replaced (6%; 19/338 patients). The results demonstrated that embryos with MNB may implant (4/19 cases; 21%) and they can lead to both spontaneous abortions and the successful birth of healthy infants (two cases). The fact that in the successful cases, 2-cell stage embryos with a mononucleated and a binucleated blastomere were transferred also suggests that due to the cell totipotency, development of a healthy baby is possible from one normal blastomere. Since multinucleation in early embryos may reflect gross chromosomal abnormalities or development of mosaic embryos, it is advisable not to replace embryos with MNB. Occasional transfers, however, can be considered because defective embryos may sometimes develop normally.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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