"Embryoscopes," allow for embryo culture to be performed in an automated incubation system
under time lapse photography. Manufacturers of these systems (and investigators who have
used these systems) claim that the availability of 24-hour time-lapse photographic control
improves embryo selection and, therefore, IVF (in vtro fertilization) pregnancy rates. They
also claim that use of this system saves laboratory personnel time.
This study will randomize approximately 120 patients (60 in each arm) to standard embryo
culture or to culture in an Embryoscope. The primary endpoint will be a comparison of time
spent by the laboratory personnel with each system. Secondary endpoints will be IVF
A large number of IVF centers all around the world are converting from standard embryology
practice, where embryos are by embryologists manually processed during culture, to so-called
"embryoscopes," where embryo culture is performed in an automated incubation system under
time lapse photography.
Manufacturers of these systems (and investigators who have used these systems) claim that
the availability of 24-hour time-lapse photographic control improves embryo selection and,
therefore, IVF pregnancy rates. They also claim that use of this system saves laboratory
personnel time. The FDA has so far, therefore, approved for sale at least 2 such systems In
(i) Our analysis of the published literature has failed to find studies in support of the
claim that utilization of such equipment really improves pregnancy rates with IVF; and (ii)
Investigators are concerned that CHR's highly adversely selected patient population may
demonstrate different utilization outcomes from standard patient populations, especially
since this equipment is usually utilized to culture embryos to blastocyst stage (days 5/6),
while CHR cultures most patients only to day-3.
Investigators, therefore, contacted the manufacturer of the first FDA approved system, and
explained our concerns. The manufacturer agreed to loan us one of their systems for a
4-months long study free of charge (CHR just pays a nominal amount for installation and
training costs) but will be financially responsible for supplies.
During these 4 months, CHR will perform an open-label prospective (registered) and
randomized clinical trial, in which investigators, based on computerized randomization, will
assign all CHR patients (who agree to participate with informed written consent), either to
standard embryology or "embryoscope" embryology.
Recruiting approximately 30 patients per month into the study is anticipated, which would
give us a population of ~n=60 in each study group.
Patient with excessive numbers of eggs retrieved (>12) will be excluded since the purpose of
this study is to investigate the utility of the system in a relatively adversely selected
patient population. All other patients will be offered participation.
The study will have as primary end point a time analysis of laboratory manpower, under which
the time spent on each patient by embryologist will be recorded and compared and as
secondary end point IVF cycle outcome, defined by number of good quality embryos available
for transfer, implantation rates and clinical pregnancy rates.
- Patients already planning to undergo in vitro fertilization
- Patients with more than 12 oocytes will be excluded from this trial