Extended culture up to the blastocyst stage: a strategy to avoid multiple pregnancies in assisted reproductive technologies
The aim of this study was to review the experience and outcomes of assisted reproduction cycles with embryos grown up to day 5 of development, comparing different parameters according to the ages of the patients. We retrospectively studied 1,874 assisted reproduction cycles where embryo culture was extended up to the fifth or sixth day of development. All IVF and ICSI cycles were included, comparing, according to patient age, the following rates: blastocyst formation, pregnancy, implantation and abortion. As control, we analyzed cycles with donated oocytes from young donors (OD). The number of embryos reaching the blastocyst stage is similar in all groups of patients. Only the OD group was different in terms of blastocyst formation, pregnancy and implantation rates. Patients over 39 years of age had an abortion rate of 59.1 %, which is significantly higher than the other groups. Extended embryo culture up to the blastocyst stage can be implemented in programs of assisted reproduction in order to increase the pregnancy rate. The potential of blastocyst implantation is high, allowing us to transfer fewer embryos and reduce the probability of multiple pregnancies.