Identification of viable embryos in IVF by non-invasive measurement of amino acid turnover

Daniel R. Brison, F. D. Houghton, D. Falconer, S. A. Roberts, J. Hawkhead, P. G. Humpherson, B. A. Lieberman, H. J. Leese

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: IVF is limited by low success rates and an unacceptably high multiple pregnancy rate. These outcomes would be improved significantly if a single embryo of high viability could be replaced in each treatment cycle, but widespread acceptance of such a policy is hindered by the lack of predictive factors for embryo selection. We have conducted a retrospective clinical study of a novel non-invasive method of embryo selection based on the depletion/appearance of amino acids in the culture medium. Methods: Fifty-three cycles of IVF treatment using ICSI were studied. Embryos were cultured for 24h in 4 μl drops of medium containing a physiological mixture of 18 amino acids. The spent medium was analysed for amino acid content by high performance liquid chromatography. Results: The turnover of three amino acids, Asn, Gly and Leu, was significantly correlated with a clinical pregnancy and live birth. These correlations were independent of known predictors, such as female age, basal levels of FSH, embryo cell number and embryo morphological grade. Conclusions: Non-invasive assay of amino acid turnover has the potential to improve significantly the prospective selection of the most viable embryos, or single embryo, for replacement in an IVF cycle. © European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology 2004; all rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2319-2324
    Number of pages5
    JournalHuman Reproduction
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


    • Amino acid
    • Developmental potential
    • Human preimplantation embryo selection
    • IVF


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