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Is it Better to use Frozen or Fresh Embryos in IVF?

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When IVF was developed, fresh embryo transfers were the only option available due to the nascent state of cryopreservation technology. Over the past 40 years, advancements in cryopreservation techniques, culture media, and reproductive technologies have significantly improved, making both fresh and frozen embryo transfers commonplace. Nowadays, Frozen embryo transfer (FET) has been more popular in IVF practices because its poteintially higher implatation and pregnancy success rate. However, animal and human studies have shown altered metabolic profile during the early age, the long term effects are still not clear. There are concerns about the long-term metabolic outcomes through FET, including potential risks for metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular problems, the evidence is mixed hence need further reseach to fully understand its potential impacts. 

Effects of embryo freezing on mitochondrial function

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  • Researches have shown altered metabolic profile of IVF embryos, namely warburg effect, potentially contributing to genomic reprogramming and developmental origins of health and disease (DOoHaD). However, long-term metabolic effects of IVF and vitrification on cardiac mitochondria are yet to be discovered.

  • We are investigating metabolic alterations in in vitro cultured embryos, with a special focus on mitochondrial function. Also, we are trying to explore the effects of vitrification of mitochondrial function before embryos are implanted. Finally, the long-term outcome of IVF and vitrification would be investigated in offspring cardiac mitochondria. 

  • This research will help us better understand human IVF procedure and its limitations. 

Relevant Papers

Padhee M, Zhang S, Lie S, Wang KC, Botting KJ, McMillen IC, MacLaughlin SM, Morrison JL. The periconceptional environment and cardiovascular disease: does in vitro embryo culture and transfer influence cardiovascular development and health? Nutrients. 2015 Feb 18;7(3):1378-425. doi: 10.3390/nu7031378. PMID: 25699984; PMCID: PMC4377860.

Lee SH, Liu X, Jimenez-Morales D, Rinaudo PF. Murine blastocysts generated by in vitro fertilization show increased Warburg metabolism and altered lactate production. Elife. 2022 Sep 15;11:e79153. doi: 10.7554/eLife.79153. PMID: 36107481; PMCID: PMC9519152.

Chen Q, Zhou D, Wang C, Ye M, Jia Y, Liu B, Bukulmez O, Norman RJ, Hu H, Yeung SB, Teng X, Liu W, Chen M. The adverse effects of vitrification on mouse embryo development and metabolic phenotype in offspring. FASEB J. 2024 Jan;38(1):e23372. doi: 10.1096/fj.202301774RR. PMID: 38102977.

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