Randomized Trial Shows IVF Culture Media and Outcomes of Embryos and Babies

What is IVF culture media?

IVF culture media

In the IVF process, the artificial fertilization process conducted in a specialized laboratory set up. Culture media prepared on a Petri dish, which has a similar composition as of oviduct and uterine fluids, so that created embryo can get an approximately alike natural environment for development.  

Research evidence on the effect of culture medium

The IVF experts always have a query – does the composition of culture media affect the offspring? To clear this doubt, reproductive researchers conducted a trial to explore the effect of the composition of culture on embryos and babies.  

In this research, the investigator had showcased the effect of different IVF culture media on perinatal outcomes. The different parameters selected for monitoring this effect were the number of viable embryos created, the successful implantation rate, pregnancy rate, birth weight of the newborn.  

The research details of this study were published in the Human Reproduction journal in 2016. According to this research conclusion, the demand for complete transparency of the composition and the scientific justification behind the composition of embryo culture media is highly required to conduct the IVF process. This is an essential step to conduct the IVF cycle successfully, as the composition of the laboratory cultures affects the outcomes of the resulting embryos and babies.

Conduction of this research provides the awareness of calling on the manufacturing companies where the embryo culture media solution for IVF was manufactured for giving a clear list of ingredients present in the solution to the fertility experts and regulator, the alike food industry needs to declare the composition and essentially enlisted them. 

Experts believe that the initial environment embryo obtains during the floating on the culture media in the IVF process not only affects the birth weight of the child, which reflects nine months after his/her born. But the consequences of early life can affect cardiovascular and metabolic health at their adult age. Therefore, clinical embryologists must not allow any IVF culture media without knowing the exact composition of it. Small birth weight differences may reflect significant health problems which will evident at the later of their life. 

The randomized clinical trial is conducted in the Netherlands under the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Maastricht University Medical Centre. In this trial, two culture medium human tubal fluid (HTF) or G5 randomly assigned among 836 couples who were scheduled for IVF or ICSI during the time span of 2010 to 2012.

During the study period, the alive birth number was 383. Researchers found after thorough analysis that the G5 grouped children had lower birth weight in comparison with the HTF group. The average birth weight difference was 158g. The number of premature birth was also higher in the G5 group than the HTF group even after adjustment of gestational age at birth and gender. However, the implantation rate, pregnancy rate, and live birth rate were higher in G5 than the HTF group. Later, researchers had analyzed that certain amino acids specifically present in G5 medium that are not present in the HTF medium. Therefore, it is critical for researchers also to interpret which medium is better than others.

From this, it is clear that the composition of the medium affects the outcome of the embryos and babies born through the IVF process. There are almost 20 different variety of culture medium are available commercially. The detailed research on these culture mediums necessary to observe the effect on the IVF outcome.  



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