Human embryos with unevenly sized blastomeres have lower pregnancy and implantation rates: indications for aneuploidy and multinucleation
Uneven blastomere cleavage in human embryos of 'good morphology', i.e. those normally used for transfer, is a phenomenon which has been poorly investigated. The main objective in this study was to probe deeper into the aetiology behind previous findings that embryos with uneven cell cleavage have a lower developmental capacity in comparison with evenly cleaved embryos. Our hypothesis was that uneven cleavage may result in embryos with a higher degree of aneuploidy and/or multinuclear rate,
... inuclear rate, which in turn might help to explain their low implantation rate. In the first part of the study, 378 embryo transfers performed over a 3-year period were analysed retrospectively, where all the transferred embryos in each cycle were of identical morphology score and cleavage stage. In the second part of the study, multicolour fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) analyses on good quality embryos, representing the uneven (n ⍧ 11) and even (n ⍧ 13) study groups were performed. When comparing day 2 transfers between 4-cell embryos, it was found that unevenly cleaved embryos had significantly lower implantation (23.9 and 36.4%) and pregnancy rates (37.6 and 52.9%) compared with evenly cleaved embryos. A significantly higher degree of aneuploidy (29.4 and 8.5%) and multinuclear rate (21.1 and 2.1%) in blastomeres from uneven embryos was also found. It is concluded that uneven blastomere cleavage has a negative effect on both pregnancy and implantation rates in human IVF, and that this can partly be explained by a higher degree of aneuploidy/ multinuclear rate. In the light of the results obtained, a new approach in the current embryo scoring system, placing more emphasis on blastomere size, is recommended.