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Cleavage Stage versus Blastocyst Stage Embryo Transfer in Oocyte Donation Cycles

Institute of LIFE Fertility center, IASO Maternity Hospital, 37–39, Kifissias Avenue, 15123 Athens, Attica, Greece
Assisted Conception Unit, 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aretaieion Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 76, Vasilisis Sofias Avenue, 11528 Athens, Attica, Greece
Department of Physiology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 75, Mikras Asias, 11527 Athens, Attica, Greece
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(6), 293;
Received: 6 February 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Embryology and Reproductive Medicine)
PDF [293 KB, uploaded 24 June 2019]


Background and Objective: During the last few years, a trend has been noted towards embryos being transferred at the blastocyst stage, which has been associated with improved rates regarding implantation and clinical pregnancy in comparison to cleavage stage embryo transfers. There is a limited number of studies investigating this notion in oocyte donation cycles employing cryopreserved embryos. The aim of this study is to evaluate the implantation potential and clinical pregnancy rates between the day 3 cleavage stage and blastocyst stage embryo transfers in oocyte donation cycles employing vitrified embryos. Methods: This is a retrospective evaluation of oocyte donation frozen–thawed transfers completed in our clinic from January 2017 to December 2017. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection was conducted for all oocytes. Following fertilization, all embryos were cryopreserved either at the cleavage or blastocyst stage. Embryo transfer of two embryos was performed under direct sonographic guidance in all cases. Results: Our results confirmed a 55.6% clinical pregnancy (CP) resulting from day 3 embryo transfers, a 68.8% CP from day 5, and 71.4% CP from day 6. Significantly improved pregnancy rates were related to embryo transfers at the blastocyst stage when compared to cleavage stage transfers (68.9% and 55.6% respectively, p = 0.016). The risk with regards to multiple pregnancies was similar. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that in oocyte donation cycles employing vitrified embryos, embryo transfer at the blastocyst stage is accompanied with a significant improvement in pregnancy rates and merits further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: cleavage stage; blastocyst stage; embryo transfer; frozen-thaw oocyte; donation cycle cleavage stage; blastocyst stage; embryo transfer; frozen-thaw oocyte; donation cycle
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kontopoulos, G.; Simopoulou, M.; Zervomanolakis, I.; Prokopakis, T.; Dimitropoulos, K.; Dedoulis, E.; Grigorakis, S.; Agapitou, K.; Nikitos, E.; Rapani, A.; Vlahos, N. Cleavage Stage versus Blastocyst Stage Embryo Transfer in Oocyte Donation Cycles. Medicina 2019, 55, 293.

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