Common practices among consistently high-performing in vitro fertilization programs in the United States: 10-year update

Some areas of consistency in clinical and laboratory practices were noted among high-performing in vitro fertilization programs that are likely contributing to their success.

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VOLUME 117, ISSUE 1, P42-50

Authors:

Jennifer F. Knudtson, M.D., Randal D. Robinson, M.D., Amy E. Sparks, Ph.D., Micah J. Hill, M.D., T. Arthur Chang, Ph.D., Bradley J. Van Voorhis, M.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To evaluate similarities and differences in clinical and laboratory practices among high-performing fertility clinics.


Design

Cross-sectional questionnaire study of selected programs.


Setting

Academic and private fertility practices performing in vitro fertilization (IVF).


Patient(s)

Not applicable.


Intervention(s)

A comprehensive survey was conducted of 13 IVF programs performing at least 100 cycles a year and having high cumulative singleton delivery rates for 2 years.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Clinical and laboratory IVF practices.


Result(s)

Although many areas of clinical practice varied among top programs, some commonalities were observed. All programs used a combination of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone for IVF stimulation, intramuscular progesterone in frozen embryo transfer cycles, ultrasound-guided embryo transfers, and a required semen analysis before starting the IVF cycle. Common laboratory practices included vitrification of embryos at the blastocyst stage, air quality control with positive air pressure and high-efficiency particulate air filtration, use of incubator gas filters, working on heated microscope stages, and incubating embryos in a low-oxygen environment, most often in benchtop incubators.


Conclusion(s)

Some areas of consistency in clinical and laboratory practices were noted among high-performing IVF programs that are likely contributing to their success. High-performing programs focused on singleton deliveries. As the field of IVF is rapidly evolving, it is imperative that we share best practices in an effort to improve outcomes from all clinics for the good of our patients.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.