Semin Reprod Med 2014; 32(02): 141-152
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1363556
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Metabolomic Assessment of Embryo Viability

Asli Uyar
1  Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
2  Department of Computer Engineering, Okan University, Tuzla, Istanbul, Turkey
,
Emre Seli
1  Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 February 2014 (online)

Abstract

Preimplantation embryo metabolism demonstrates distinctive characteristics associated with the developmental potential of embryos. On this basis, metabolite content of culture media was hypothesized to reflect the implantation potential of individual embryos. This hypothesis was tested in consecutive studies reporting a significant association between culture media metabolites and embryo development or clinical pregnancy. The need for a noninvasive, reliable, and rapid embryo assessment strategy promoted metabolomics studies in vitro fertilization (IVF) in an effort to increase success rates of single embryo transfers. With the advance of analytical techniques and bioinformatics, commercial instruments were developed to predict embryo viability using spectroscopic analysis of surplus culture media. However, despite the initial promising results from proof-of-principal studies, recent randomized controlled trials using commercial instruments failed to show a consistent benefit in improving pregnancy rates when metabolomics is used as an adjunct to morphology. At present, the application of metabolomics technology in clinical IVF laboratory requires the elimination of factors underlying inconsistent findings, when possible, and development of reliable predictive models accounting for all possible sources of bias throughout the embryo selection process.