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Sfontouris I.A.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Nastri C.O.,University of Sao Paulo | Lima M.L.S.,University of Sao Paulo | Tahmasbpourmarzouni E.,Tehran University of Medical Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2015

STUDY QUESTION: In couples with previous fertilization failure, are reproductive outcomes improved using ICSI followed by artificial oocyte activation (ICSI-AOA) compared with conventional ICSI? SUMMARY ANSWER: There is insufficient evidence available from RCTs to judge the efficacy and safety of ICSI-AOA for couples with previous fertilization failure. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: In cases with previous low fertilization rates or total fertilization failure using ICSI due to sperm-related, oocyte activation deficiency, several methods of AOA have been described, which employ mechanical, electrical or chemical stimuli. Reported fertilization and pregnancy rates appear to be improved after ICSI-AOA compared with conventional ICSI; however, the small studies performed to date make it difficult to assess the clinical efficacy or safety of AOA. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, AND DURATION: The present systematic review and meta-analysis identified RCTs that compared ICSI-AOA and conventional ICSI. The last electronic search was conducted in August 2014 and there was no limitation regarding language, publication date, or publication status. We included studies that randomized either oocytes or women and included them in two different parts of this review: a women-based review and an oocyte-based review. For the women-based review, the primary outcome of effectiveness was live birth per randomized woman and the primary outcome for safety was congenital anomalies per clinical pregnancy. For the oocyte-based review, the primary outcome was embryo formation per oocyte randomized. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, AND METHODS: Record screening and data extraction were performed independently by two authors and risk of bias was assessed by three authors. The effects of ICSI-AOA compared with conventional ICSI were summarized as risk ratio (RR) and the precision of the estimates was evaluated by the 95% confidence interval (CI). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: A total of 14 articles were assessed for eligibility and 9 included in the meta-analysis: 2 studies comprised the woman-based review (n = 168 women) and 7 studies the oocyte-based review (n = 4234 oocytes). Only four studies evaluated AOA due to fertilization failure after conventional ICSI: these were included in the quantitative analysis. In two studies evaluating couples with a history of fertilization failure in a previous cycle, ICSI-AOA was associated with an increase in the proportion of cleavage stage embryos (RR 5.44, 95% CI 2.98-9.91) and top/high quality cleavage stage embryos (RR 10.02, 95% CI 2.45-40.95). There was no evidence of effect on fertilization rate (RR 2.97, 95% CI 0.84-10.48). In the two studies that evaluated ICSI-AOA as a rescue method for unfertilized oocytes after conventional ICSI, ICSI-AOA was associated with an increase in fertilization (RR 8.26, 95% CI 1.28-53.32, P = 0.03) and cleavage rates (RR 8.65, 95% CI 2.28-32.77) although there was no significant effect on the likelihood of blastocyst formation (RR 1.97, 95% CI 0.11-34.99). The remaining five studies evaluated ICSI-AOA for reasons other than fertilization failure and were excluded. LIMITATIONS AND REASONS FOR CAUTION: The majority of the studies were not considered to be similar enough for meta-analysis due to different AOA methods and patient inclusion criteria, thus limiting the possibility of pooling studies and achieving a more robust conclusion. Only two studies examined ICSI-AOA in couples with previous fertilization failure, and only one of these included couples with proven male-related, oocyte activation deficiency, which is the primary indication for AOA. The resulting evidence was considered to be of very low quality and should be interpreted with caution. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: There is insufficient evidence available from the currently available RCTs to judge the efficacy or safety of ICSI-AOA on key reproductive outcomes in couples with previous fertilization failure. Such interventions should be further examined by well-designed RCTs before the introduction of ICSI-AOA as a standard treatment. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): No funding was obtained. No competing interests to declare. REGISTRATION NUMBER: PROSPERO CRD42014007445. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. Source

Vergouw C.G.,VU University Amsterdam | Heymans M.W.,VU University Amsterdam | Hardarson T.,Fertilitetscentrum | Sfontouris I.A.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | And 10 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2014

STUDY QUESTIONWhat is the value of embryo selection by metabolomic profiling of culture medium with near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy as an adjunct to morphology, compared with embryo selection by morphology alone, based on an individual patient data meta-analysis (IPD MA)?SUMMARY ANSWERThe IPD MA indicates that the live birth rate after embryo selection by NIR spectroscopy and morphology is not significantly different compared with the live birth rate after embryo selection by morphology alone.WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADYRetrospective proof of principle studies has consistently shown that high NIR viability scores are correlated with a high implantation potential of embryos. However, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have generally shown no benefit of the NIR technology over embryo morphology, although there have been some conflicting results between pregnancy outcomes on different days of embryo transfer.STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATIONThis IPD MA included all existing RCTs (n = 4) in which embryo selection by morphology was compared with embryo selection by morphology and the use of NIR spectroscopy of spent embryo culture medium by the Viametrics-E™.PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODSSearches of PubMed, the Cochrane Library and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry were conducted and the sole manufacturer of the Viametrics-E ™ was consulted to identify clinics where an RCT comparing embryo selection by morphology to embryo selection by morphology and the use of the Viametrics-E™ (NIR viability score) was performed. A total of 20 citations were potentially eligible for inclusion, two of which met the inclusion criteria. The manufacturer of the Viametrics-E™ provided two additional clinical sites of use. In total, four RCTs were identified as eligible for inclusion. The IPD MA was based on a fixed effect model due to the lack of heterogeneity between included studies. Differences between study groups were tested and reported using logistic regression models adjusted for significant confounders. The pooled analysis of the primary outcome led to a total sample size of 924 patients: 484 patients in the control group (embryo selection by morphology alone) and 440 patients in the treatment group (embryo selection by morphology plus NIR spectroscopy).MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCEThe live birth rates in the control group and the NIR group were 34.7% (168 of 484) and 33.2% (146 of 440), respectively. The pooled odds ratio (OR) was 0.98 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74-1.29], indicating no difference in live birth rates between the two study groups. The data of the four studies showed no significant heterogeneity (I2 = 26.2% P = 0.26). The multivariate regression analysis including all confounders show that maternal age (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.87-0.94) and the number of previous IVF cycles (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.71-0.96) were significantly related to live birth. The study group (i.e. embryo selection by morphology or embryo selection by morphology plus NIR) was not related to live birth (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.73-1.29).LIMITATIONS AND REASONS FOR CAUTIONThe availability of at least two similar best quality embryos as an inclusion criterion prior to transfer in the two largest RCTs might have caused a selection bias towards a better prognosis patient group.WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGSThere is at present no evidence that NIR spectroscopy of spent embryo culture media in its current form can be used in daily practice to improve live birth rates. © 2014 The Author. Source

Lainas T.G.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Sfontouris I.A.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Venetis C.A.,University of New South Wales | Lainas G.T.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | And 3 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2015

STUDY QUESTION Do live birth rates differ between modified natural cycles (MNCs) and cycles using high-dose follicle stimulating hormone (HDFSH) with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist in poor responder patients? SUMMARY ANSWER Live birth rates are significantly higher in MNC compared with HDFSH GnRH antagonist cycles in poor responder patients. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Previous data on the efficiency of MNC in poor responders are very limited and suggest that MNC in vitro fertilization (IVF) does not offer a realistic solution for parenthood in these patients, since live birth rates are disappointingly low. To date, no studies exist comparing MNC with HDFSH stimulation protocols in poor responders. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION The present retrospective study included 161 MNCs (106 women in the MNC group) and 164 HDFSH antagonist cycles (136 women in the HDFSH group) performed between January 2008 and December 2013 at Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit. The patients included in the study had to fulfill the Bologna criteria for the definition of poor ovarian response. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Irrespective of their age, poor responder patients should have a diminished ovarian reserve as shown by low antral follicle count (≤5) and increased basal FSH (>12 IU/l), and one or more previous failed IVF cycles in which ≤3 oocytes were retrieved using a high gonadotrophin dose. Analysis was performed by adjusting for the non-independence of the data. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The probability of live birth was significantly higher in the MNC when compared with the HDFSH group (OR: 4.01, 95% CI: 1.14-14.09), after adjusting for basal FSH, female age and cause of infertility, variables which were shown to be associated with the probability of live birth in univariable analysis. MNCs were characterized by significantly lower total gonadotrophin dose (490.0 ± 35.2 IU versus 2826.1 ± 93.4 IU, P < 0.001), lower estradiol concentrations (237.5 ± 12.3 pg/ml versus 487.3 ± 29.8 pg/ml, P < 0.001), fewer follicles present on the day of hCG (1.9 ± 0.1 versus 3.2 ± 0.2, P < 0.001), fewer oocytes retrieved (1.1 ± 0.01 versus 2.4 ± 0.1, P < 0.001), fewer oocytes fertilized (0.7 ± 0.1 versus 1.4 ± 0.1, P < 0.001), fewer embryos transferred (0.7 ± 0.1 versus 1.4 ± 0.1, P < 0.001), fewer good-quality embryos available (0.5 ± 0.1 versus 0.8 ± 0.1, P < 0.001) and fewer good-quality embryos transferred (0.5 ± 0.05 versus 0.8 ± 0.1, P < 0.001) compared with the HDFSH group. However, the proportion of cycles with at least one good-quality embryo transferred per started cycle was similar between the two groups compared (62.5, 95% CI: 52.7-72.3 versus 62.7, 95% CI: 53.0-72.5, respectively). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION This is a retrospective comparison between MNC and HDFSH GnRH antagonist protocols in a large group of poor responder patients according to the Bologna criteria. Although the two groups compared were not imbalanced for all basic characteristics and multivariate analysis were performed to adjust for all known confounders, it cannot be excluded that non-apparent sources of bias might still be present. Future randomized controlled trials are necessary to verify the present findings. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS Both MNC and HDFSH antagonist protocols offer very low chances of live birth in poor responder patients who fulfill the Bologna criteria. However, MNC-IVF is a more patient-friendly approach, with a higher probability of live birth compared with the HDFSH antagonist protocol. In this respect, the current data might be of help in counseling such patients, who do not wish to undergo oocyte donation, prior to abandoning treatment altogether and/or proceeding to adoption. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) No funding was obtained. C.A.V. reports personal fees and non-financial support from Merck, Sharp and Dome, personal fees and non-financial support from Merck Serono, personal fees and non-financial support from IPSEN Hellas S.A. outside the submitted work. B.C.T. reports grants from Merck Serono, grants from Merck Sharp & Dohme, personal fees from IBSA, personal fees from Merck Sharp & Dohme and personal fees from Ovascience outside the submitted work. © 2015 The Author 2015. Source

Sfontouris I.A.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Kolibianakis E.M.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Lainas G.T.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Navaratnarajah R.,Obstetrics and Gynaecology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics | Year: 2015

Purpose: To compare reproductive outcomes following conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in poor responders fulfilling the Bologna criteria, with a single oocyte retrieved. Methods: The present retrospective study included 243 Bologna poor responders with a single oocyte retrieved, who were categorized into three groups, depending on the fertilization method and semen quality (IVF non-male factor-IVF/NMF n = 101; ICSI non-male factor ICSI/NMF n = 50; ICSI male factor-ICSI/MF n = 92). Results: In IVF/NMF, ICSI/NMF and ICSI/MF similar fertilization rates [65.3, 66, 58.7 %, respectively], proportions of embryo formation [63.4, 60, 53.3 %, respectively], proportions of good quality embryos [54.7, 56.7, 57.1 %, respectively], implantation rates [8.9, 10, 8.2 % respectively] and live birth rates per oocyte retrieval [5.0, 4.0, 3.3 %, respectively] were observed. Degeneration rate of oocytes due to mechanical damage was significantly higher after ICSI in the ICSI/NMF and ICSI/MF groups (8 and 6.5 %, respectively) compared to IVF/NMF (0 %) (p = 0.02). Conclusions: Conventional IVF and ICSI are associated with similar reproductive outcomes in poor responder patients with a single oocyte retrieved. Therefore, the choice of fertilization method should be based primarily on semen quality, in combination with the patient’s previous history. A randomized controlled trial should be performed to confirm this study’s findings that conventional IVF and ICSI have similar reproductive outcomes in poor responders. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Lainas G.T.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Kolibianakis E.M.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Sfontouris I.A.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | Zorzovilis I.Z.,Eugonia Assisted Reproduction Unit | And 4 more authors.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology | Year: 2012

Background: Management of established severe OHSS requires prolonged hospitalization, occasionally in intensive care units, accompanied by multiple ascites punctures, correction of intravascular fluid volume and electrolyte imbalance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether it is feasible to manage women with severe OHSS as outpatients by treating them with GnRH antagonists in the luteal phase.Methods: This is a single-centre, prospective, observational, cohort study. Forty patients diagnosed with severe OHSS, five days post oocyte retrieval, were managed as outpatients after administration of GnRH antagonist (0.25 mg) daily from days 5 to 8 post oocyte retrieval, combined with cryopreservation of all embryos. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of patients with severe OHSS, in whom outpatient management was not feasible.Results: 11.3% (95% CI 8.3%-15.0%) of patients (40/353) developed severe early OHSS. None of the 40 patients required hospitalization following luteal antagonist administration and embryo cryopreservation. Ovarian volume, ascites, hematocrit, WBC, serum oestradiol and progesterone decreased significantly (P < 0.001) by the end of the monitoring period, indicating rapid resolution of severe OHSS.Conclusions: The current study suggests, for the first time, that successful outpatient management of severe OHSS with antagonist treatment in the luteal phase is feasible and is associated with rapid regression of the syndrome, challenging the dogma of inpatient management. The proposed management is a flexible approach that minimizes unnecessary embryo transfer cancellations in the majority (88.7%) of high risk for OHSS patients. © 2012 Lainas et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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