It is believed that delayed transfer of embryos after IVF allows for a better selection of good quality embryos. Hence, the number of embryos and all other prognostic factors being equal, transfer of day 3 embryos should be associated with higher implantation and pregnancy rates than transfer of day 2 embryos. To investigate this hypothesis, a prospective randomized study was carried out to compare implantation and pregnancy rates between day 2 and day 3 transfers. The relationship between the embryo quality score of day 2 and day 3 embryos and their respective implantation rates was also analysed. In a 2 year period all patients undergoing infertility treatment and in whom at least seven normally fertilized oocytes were obtained were included in the study. A minimization procedure was performed taking into account the patient's age and the method of fertilization (IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection). By using a uniform policy of embryo transfer, the number of embryos transferred was similar in both groups. The outcome parameters were embryo quality, implantation and pregnancy rates. No difference was observed in implantation and pregnancy rates between transfers on day 2 versus day 3 (23.8 versus 23.8% and 47.9 versus 46.8% respectively). The incidence of embryos of moderate to poor quality was higher in embryos cultured for 3 days compared with those cultured for 2 days. It is concluded that the outcomes of embryo transfer in terms of implantation and pregnancy rates are comparable for day 2 and day 3 embryos, although the overall embryo quality score decreases when embryos are kept in culture till day 3.
Copyright (C) 2001, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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