Accumulation of embryos over 3 natural modified IVF (ICSI) cycles followed by transfer to improve the outcome of poor responders
IVF (ICSI), Natural modified IVF, poor responders, multiple IVF-cycles, accumulation of embryos, cumulative outcomes
Published online: Oct 03 2019
Background: Alternatives to improve treatment outcomes in poor responders are needed. For this we studied whether multiple (x3) Natural Modified (NM)-IVF(ICSI) cycles followed by an embryo transfer (ET) from the accumulated embryos can improve the treatment outcomes in poor responders.
Method: A retrospective analysis was applied to a pool of participants qualifying as poor responders according to the Bologna criteria. This was performed over a 2-year IVF center database with a Study Group including women with a minimum of 3 cycles of NM-IVF (ICSI) and subsequent vitrified-thawed ET. As a control, 1 NM-IVF (ICSI) cycle with fresh ET was used. The primary outcome accounted was the livebirth rate (LBRs) following one ET; the secondary outcome was clinical pregnancy rates (CPRs), miscarriage and cycle cancellation rates.
Comparisons were held over mean numbers by t-test, over median by Mann-Whitney, and categorical data were treated by Chi-square.
Results: The prognosis for livebirth in the study (n=125) and control (n=208) group was equally poor (mean age: 40.2 ± 3.0 vs 40.0 ± 3.3; median AMH: 2.1 vs 2.2 (pmol/L), AFC 4.0 vs 4.0). The LBR was significantly higher with the study protocol (30.6% vs 13.3%; p=0.002), particularly in women aged 35-39 years (31% vs 10.8%; p=0.05) and 40-44 years (26% vs 10.3%; p=0.02). Lower LBR in women aged ≥35 years in the control-group was mainly attributable to the higher miscarriage rate. With significantly more oocytes (mean: 6.5 ± 3.8 vs 2.0 ± 1.4; p <0.0001) and embryos available (mean: 3.6 ± 2.3 vs 0.9 ± 0.7; p<0.0001), only a minority ended up with no ET in the study-group (7.2% vs 35.6%; p<0.0001). None dropped-out while undergoing 3 cycles, whereas no patient opted for further attempts after one standalone cycle.
Conclusion: Accumulation of embryos through 3 NM-IVF cycles before transfer improves livebirth rates and reduces the risk of lacking an embryo for transfer in poor responders aged ≥35 years.