Viral screening of spent culture media and liquid nitrogen samples of oocytes and embryos from hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus chronically infected women undergoing in vitro fertilization cycles

Culture media and liquid nitrogen samples from seropositive HIV, HCV, and HBV patients were tested for viral sequences. Our findings indicate the lack of risk of cross-contamination during IVF cycles.


Ana Cobo, Ph.D., José Bellver, M.D., María José de los Santos, Ph.D., José Remohí, M.D.

Volume 97, Issue 1 , Pages 74-78



To assess the presence of viral RNA or DNA sequences in spent culture media used after ovum pickup (OPU) or embryo culture and in liquid nitrogen (LN) used for oocyte or embryo vitrification in patients seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV) undergoing IVF cycles.


Descriptive study.


Private university-affiliated IVF center.


Twenty-four women who underwent controlled ovarian stimulation for oocyte vitrification or IVF/ET. A total of 6, 11, and 6 patients were seropositive for HIV, HCV, and HBV, respectively, whereas 1 patient showed a coinfection with HCV and HBV. Seven patients presented positive blood viral load (HIV, n = 1; HBV, n = 1; HCV, n = 5). Sixty-three samples were analyzed: follicular fluid, n = 3; spent culture media, n = 33 (20 after OPU and 13 after embryo culture); and LN, n = 27 (14 and 10 after oocyte and embryo vitrification; and 3 LN storage tank samples).


Ovum pickup, oocyte and/or embryo culture, and/or vitrification by the Cryotop open device. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction analysis was performed for viral screening.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Detection of viral sequences of HIV, HCV, and HVB.


All the samples analyzed tested negative for the detection of viral RNA or DNA sequences.


We have not detected viral sequences after culture and vitrification of oocytes/embryos from HIV-, HBV-, and HCV-seropositive patients. These findings represent good evidence of the lack of risk of cross-contamination among seropositive patients, even using an open device for vitrification.

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