Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics

Relative kinetic expressions defining cleavage synchronicity are better predictors of blastocyst formation and quality than absolute time points.

PMID 25370178


Morphology alone is not enough for the selection of the embryo (s) with the highest implantation potential and time-lapse imaging has added embryo development kinetics as another selection criterion. Therefore, a combination of morphology with kinetics has inspired a new field termed "morphokinetics", providing a new way of evaluating and selecting embryos. The aim of the study was to identify a criterion solely based on morphokinetic data and available up to the 8-cell stage (t8) to predict blastocyst formation and quality. The study included 3,354 embryos, with annotations up to t8, and cultured until day 5 from 626 infertile patients. A total of 17 kinetic expressions, either absolute cleavage timings and time intervals or time ratios were tested retrospectively for the prediction of blastocyst formation and quality. Relative timings (t8-t5, the cleavage synchronicity from 4 to 8 cells and from 2 to 8 cells) were found to be better indicators of blastocyst formation and quality when compared to absolute time-points. Especially, the cleavage synchronicity from 2 to 8 cells (CS2-8) = ((t3-t2) + (t5-t4))/(t8-t2)) was found to be the best predictor available on day 3 for blastocyst formation and quality (AUC:0.786; sensitivity: 83.43; specificity: 62.46). Time intervals and relative ratios based on selected cleavage cycles defining synchronicity allowed a specific analysis providing high predictivity of blastocyst formation and quality.