BACKGROUND: To test whether ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) affects oocyte quality and thus chromosome segregation behaviour during meiosis and early embryo development, preimplantation genetic screening of embryos was employed in a prospective, randomized controlled trial, comparing two ovarian stimulation regimens. METHODS: Infertile patients under 38 years of age were randomly assigned to undergo a mild stimulation regimen using gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist co-treatment (67 patients), which does not disrupt secondary follicle recruitment, or a conventional high-dose exogenous gonadotrophin regimen and GnRH agonist co-treatment (44 patients). Following IVF, embryos were biopsied at the eight-cell stage and the copy number of 10 chromosomes was analysed in 1 or 2 blastomeres. RESULTS: The study was terminated prematurely, after an unplanned interim analysis (which included 61% of the planned number of patients) found a lower embryo aneuploidy rate following mild stimulation. Compared with conventional stimulation, significantly fewer oocytes and embryos were obtained following mild stimulation (P < 0.01 and < 0.05, respectively). Consequently, both regimens generated on average a similar number (1.8) of chromosomally normal embryos. Differences in rates of mosaic embryos suggest an effect of ovarian stimulation on mitotic segregation errors. CONCLUSIONS: Future ovarian stimulation strategies should avoid maximizing oocyte yield, but aim at generating a sufficient number of chromosomally normal embryos by reduced interference with ovarian physiology.

Aneuploidy, Embryo quality, In-vitro fertilization, Ovarian stimulation, Preimplantation genetic screening,
Human Reproduction
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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Baart, E.B, Martini, E, Eijkemans, M.J.C, Van Opstal, A.R.M, Beckers, N.G.M, Verhoeff, A, … Fauser, B.C.J.M. (2007). Milder ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization reduces aneuploidy in the human preimplantation embryo: A randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction, 22(4), 980–988. doi:10.1093/humrep/del484