4 March 2014 Assessment of imaging parameters correlated with the effects of cryopreservation on embryo development
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Abstract
Embryo cryopreservation is an increasingly common technique that allows patients to undergo multiple cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) without being subjected to repeated ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval. There are two types of cryopreservation commonly used in IVF clinics today: slow freezing and vitrification. Because vitrification has been shown to result in higher rates of embryo survival post-thaw compared to slow freezing, it is rapidly gaining popularity in clinics worldwide. However, several studies have shown that vitrification can still cause damage to embryos in the form of DNA fragmentation, altered mitochondrial distribution and changes in transcriptional activity, all of which are impossible to assess noninvasively. In this paper we demonstrate a new method of quantitatively and noninvasively assessing changes in embryo appearance due to vitrification. Using full-field optical coherence tomography (FF-OCT), we show that vitrification causes striking changes in the appearance of the cytoplasm that are not visible under conventional brightfield microscopy. Using an automated algorithm that extracts parameters to describe these changes, we show that these parameters can also predict viability in embryos that have undergone vitrification. An automated, noninvasive assessment of embryo viability after vitrification and thawing could have significant clinical impact: allowing clinicians to more accurately choose the most viable embryos to transfer back to patients could reduce the average number of IVF cycles that patients must undergo to achieve pregnancy.
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Livia Zarnescu, Mike Abeyta, Thomas M. Baer, Barry Behr, Audrey K. Ellerbee, "Assessment of imaging parameters correlated with the effects of cryopreservation on embryo development", Proc. SPIE 8953, Optical Methods in Developmental Biology II, 89530F (4 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2040487; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2040487
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