Noninvasive embryo viability assessment by quantitation of human haptoglobin alpha 1 fragment in the in vitro fertilization culture medium An additional tool to increase success rate

The measurement of the haptoglobin a-1 fragment in human serum albumin–supplemented culture medium serves as an alternative to assess viability by the exclusion of embryos having low implantation potential.


Gergely Montskó, Ph.D., Zita Zrínyi, M.S., Tamás Janáky, D.Sc., Zoltán Szabó, Ph.D., Ákos Várnagy, M.D., Ph.D., Gábor L. Kovács, M.D., D.Sc., József Bódis, M.D., D.Sc.

Volume 103, Issue 3, Pages 687-693



To find new candidate molecules to assess embryo viability in a noninvasive manner.


Prospective, blinded study with randomized sample collection.


University research center.


Ninety embryos implanted in 53 randomly selected patients (mean ± SD age, 32.3 ± 5.1 years) were analyzed.


Superovulation treatment was initiated by the administration of the GnRh agonist triptorelin and individual dosages of recombinant FSH. Ovulation was induced by the injection of hCG. Oocytes were fertilized by intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Liquid chromatography coupled mass spectrometric quantification of the α-1 fragment of human haptoglobin in the culture medium.


A novel polypeptide marker was found that might be helpful to differentiate between potentially viable and nonviable embryos. This molecule was identified with tandem mass spectrometry as the α-1 fragment of human haptoglobin. Significant correlation was found in the amount of the peptide fragment and the outcome of pregnancy. In the culture media of embryos that were assigned in the biochemical assay as nonviable (according to the amount of the haptoglobin fragment), there were no pregnancies detected; this assay revealed a 100% successful selection of the nonviable embryos. In the group assigned as viable, the rate of pregnancy was 54.7%.


Viability of the embryo during the IVF process is assessed by microscopic inspection, resulting in a pregnancy rate of 25%–30%. Detection and quantitation of the α-1 haptoglobin fragment of the culture medium proved to be a useful additional method for identifying nonviable embryos, increasing the success rate to 50%.

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