Archive | Genetics

New Study Reassures on the Use of Assisted Oocyte Activation in ICSI Cycles

A recent study reports that the behavioral and neurodevelopment outcomes are normal in children born after assisted oocyte activation (AOA) using calcium ionophore in ICSI cycles. Touted to be the first study assessing the developmental outcome of children born following AOA, the preliminary findings are published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online.
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NEWS: Deselection of Physiologically Abnormal Spermatozoa Before ICSI Reduces Birth Defects and Improves Clinical Results

Sperm morphology plays a vital role in determining fertility and is associated with fertilization and pregnancy rates in spontaneous as well as induced pregnancy. Highlighting the importance of the selection of morphologically normal spermatozoa for ART treatment, a recent prospective population-based study demonstrated that major birth defects were significantly higher in standard ICSI than intracytoplasmic injection of morphologically selected spermatozoa (IMSI). The study findings, published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online, further reiterated the need for long term follow up and research to estimate the prevalence and risk of specific IMSI-based birth defects.
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NEWS: Study Reiterates the Association of Sperm Viral Infection like HCMV with Male Infertility

Viral infection of testicular cells may alter testicular function, posing severe risk to fertility and potential transmission of virus-induced mutations to future generations. A review, published in Journal of Reproductive Immunology, highlighted the negative impact of sperm viral infections with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), human papilloma virus (HPV), and herpes viruses (HSV) on male reproductive function. The researchers emphasized the importance of screening male infertility patients for viral infections like HCMV to avert transmission to partners and newborns and also to enhance natural or assisted conception outcomes.
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Literature Search Highlights Role of microRNAs associated with Endometrial Receptivity as Biomarkers in IVF

Endometrial receptivity plays a crucial role in embryo implantation and successful pregnancy; however, the key molecules or mechanisms associated with it are still unclear. A recent review, published in Current Drug Targets, highlighted the importance of better understanding the molecular mechanisms that affect endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation to improve the ART outcomes. Novel molecular targets such as microRNAs (miRNA) could serve as a biomarker for endometrial receptivity, thereby increasing the chances of implantation in both natural and artificial conception. Another recent study, published in Reproductive Sciences, identified the potential miRNA target genes that may be vital for endometrial receptivity like CAST, CFTR, FGFR2, and LIF. The findings emphasized the importance of miRNA and their target genes in endometrial receptivity.
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NEWS: A retrospective analysis indicates no association between common thrombophilias and IVF success rates

Several studies have hypothesized a possible link between congenital and acquired thrombophilias and increased risk of defective implantation and placentation. A recent retrospective study published in the journal Thrombosis and Haemostasis has reported no established correlation between common thrombophilias and IVF outcomes. The researchers further concluded that neither thrombophilic screening nor antithrombotic treatment appear to be justified in women with unexplained infertility.
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Lower embryo exposure reported with the use of laser for zona pellucida drilling in PGD cycles

A recent randomized study reports that using laser, instead of acid tyrode solution (ATZD), for zona pellucida drilling results in lesser embryo exposure during biopsy in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) cycles, and increases the availability of blastocysts for transfer and better treatment outcomes. Continue Reading

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microRNAs Associated with Endometrial Receptivity to Serve as Biomarkers in IVF

Endometrial receptivity plays a crucial role in embryo implantation and successful pregnancy; however, the key molecules or mechanisms associated with it are still unclear. Various methods used to identify biomarkers of endometrial receptivity include blood and uterine fluid analysis, endometrial ultrasonography, and biopsy examination. Now, in a genome-wide observational study, researchers have highlighted the potential of micro-ribonucleic acid (miRNA) as biomarker of endometrial receptivity in natural and stimulated cycles. Continue Reading

Posted in ART, Endometrium, Female Infertility, Fertility, Genetics, IVF, IVF Outcome, Implantation, Infertility, TechnologyComments Off

Study on Vertical Transmission of Hepatitis B Infection to Offspring through Germ Cells

The magnitude of the risk of vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection through oocyte or embryo is not clearly known. A new study demonstrates the potential association between the presence of HBV DNA in oocytes and embryos and the serum HBV DNA levels in the women’s serum and the mothers’ infection status, respectively, thereby indicating the transmission of the infection via germ cells to the offspring. Continue Reading

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Antisperm Antibodies May Not Adversely Influence ART Pregnancy Rates

Antisperm Antibodies May Not Adversely Influence ART Pregnancy Rates

Literature searches on the link between direct semen antisperm antibody (ASA) levels and treatment outcomes in ART cycles have not yielded clear results. Now, a systemic review suggests that semen ASA is not associated with pregnancy rates after IVF or ICSI cycles, thereby indicating the effectiveness of such ART strategies in infertile couples with raised ASA titres. Continue Reading

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Higher Risk of Gestational Hypertensive Disorders with Donor Oocyte-derived Pregnancies

Oocyte donation (OD) is being increasingly advised, especially in couples or individuals with inheritable diseases, repeated IVF failures, and advanced maternal age. However, IVF cycles using donor oocytes have been associated with a high risk for obstetric complications, such as preterm labor, postpartum hemorrhage, and pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). A new retrospective matched cohort study validates the increased risk of developing gestational hypertension and preeclampsia in pregnancies conceived using donor oocytes and donor cryopreserved-thawed embryos.

Peter C Klatsky from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, and coworkers, compared the risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia in women who underwent IVF cycles using autologous and donor oocytes. Donor oocyte recipients (n=77) with live births were matched with those undergoing autologous IVF (n=81) for age and plurality (singleton or twin).

The groups did not differ with respect to parity, age, and gestational type. In comparison to women undergoing autologous IVF, the ovum-donor recipients had
• substantially higher occurrence of preeclampsia (16.9% vs. 4.9%; P=0.02) and gestational hypertension (24.7% vs. 7.4%; P<0.01)
• greater probability for premature delivery (34% vs.19%) even after controlling for multiple gestation (OR=2.6; 95% CI=1.04-6.3)

It was also observed that pregnancies derived from cryopreserved embryos (n=16) were more vulnerable for hypertensive disorders (OR=5.0; 95% CI=1.2-20.5).

Earlier, Keegan et al (Fertility Sterility, 2007) conducted a retrospective anonymous questionnaire study to analyze and compare the rates of obstetric outcomes between OD recipients and IVF patients in the age group of either <35 or ≥40 years. They found that PIH rates were significantly higher in women using donated oocytes (<35 years, 42%; ≥40 years, 26%), when compared to those undergoing IVF (<35 years, 12%; ≥40 years, 14%). It was also seen that PIH rates among the twin pregnancies was higher in OD recipients than the IVF group.

In contrast, a more recent retrospective cohort study by Krieg et al (Fertility Sterility, 2008) found that rates of obstetric complications, such as gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, prematurity, and placental abnormalities, were comparable between women who conceived using donated and autologous oocytes in IVF. It was also demonstrated that the two groups did not show any significant difference with respect to infant birth weight and gestational age at the time of delivery.

Although the exact etiology of preeclampsia in oocyte donor cycles is yet to be established, altered or insufficient immunoprotective capability of the fetoplacental unit due to the brief exposure to non-maternal antigens is hypothesized as one of the reasons for its development.

A 2008 report by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada suggested the use of donated gametes in ART to be one of the first trimester risk markers for preeclampsia. With the current study results reaffirming the higher chances of hypertensive disorders in donor oocyte pregnancies, it is important to counsel such patients on the potential risks prior to treatment initiation.


1. Klatsky PC, Delaney SS, Caughey AB, et al. The Role of Embryonic Origin in Preeclampsia: A Comparison of Autologous In Vitro Fertilization and Ovum Donor Pregnancies. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Dec;116(6):1387-1392.

2. Keegan DA, Krey LC, Chang HC, Noyes N. Increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension in young recipients of donated oocytes. Fertil Steril. 2007 Apr;87(4):776-781.

3. Krieg SA, Henne MB, Westphal LM. Obstetric outcomes in donor oocyte pregnancies compared with advanced maternal age in in vitro fertilization pregnancies. Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):65-70.

4. Magee LA, Helewa M, Moutquin JM, et al. SOGC clinical practice guideline: diagnosis, evaluation, and management of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. JOGC. 2008 Mar;30(suppl 1):S1-S48.

Posted in ART, Cryopreservation, Donors, Embryology, Genetics, IVF, IVF Outcome0 Comments

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