The influence of oocyte maturity and embryo quality on pregnancy rate in a program for in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer.


An important factor influencing the pregnancy rate after in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) appears to be the number of embryos transferred to the uterus. In this study, the influence of oocyte maturity and embryo quality on pregnancy rate was assessed in patients undergoing IVF-ET. Ovarian hyperstimulation was performed by human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG [n = 29]), clomiphene citrate (CC)/hMG (n = 81), and hMG/follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH [n = 13]) protocols. Oocyte maturity was graded on a scale from 1 to 5 based on the morphology of the ooplasm, cumulus mass, corona radiata, and membrana granulosa cells. Embryos were graded according to the symmetry of the blastomeres and the presence or absence of fragmentation. Mature preovulatory oocytes yielded the highest fertilization rates. No differences were found among the protocols in terms of fertilization rate, embryo quality, or pregnancy rate. When all protocols were combined, patients who conceived had a significantly higher number of embryos transferred than those who did not conceive (3.6 +/- 0.1 [mean = SEM] versus 2.7 +/- 0.1). When embryo quality was compared, there was no difference in the number of "B" embryos transferred between patients who conceived and those who did not (1.2 +/- 0.2 versus 1.2 +/- 0.1), but the patients who conceived had significantly more "A" embryos transferred (1.6 +/- 0.3 versus 0.8 +/- 0.1). These data suggest that the treatment protocol did not determine embryo quality. Furthermore, the increase in pregnancy rates seen with an increase in embryos transferred is the result of the transfer of more "A" embryos.