Comparison of pregnancy outcomes using a time-lapse monitoring system for embryo incubation versus a conventional incubator in in vitro fertilization: an age-stratification analysis
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the pregnancy outcomes of in vitro fertilization with embryo transfer between embryos cultured in a time-lapse monitoring system (TLS) and those cultured in a conventional incubator (CI).Methods: The medical records of 250 fertilized embryos from 141 patients undergoing infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology at a tertiary hospital from June 2018 to May 2020 were reviewed. The study population was divided into TLS and CI groups at a 1 to 1 ratio (125 embryos per group). The primary outcome was the live birth rate. Results: The TLS group had a significantly higher clinical pregnancy rate (46.4% vs. 27.2%, p=0.002), implantation rate (27.1% vs. 12.0%, p=0.004), and live birth rate (32% vs. 18.4%, p=0.013) than the CI group. Furthermore, subgroup analyses of the clinical pregnancy rate and live birth rate in the different age groups favored the TLS group. However, this difference only reached statistical significance in the live birth rate in women aged over 40 years and the clinical pregnancy rate in women aged 35–40 years (p=0.048 and p=0.031, respectively). The miscarriage rate, cleavage rate, and blastocyst rate were comparable.Conclusion: TLS application improved the live birth rate, implantation rate, and clinical pregnancy rate, particularly in the advanced age group in this study, while the other reproductive outcomes were comparable. Large randomized controlled trials are needed to further explore the ramifications of these findings, especially in different age groups.