Early maternal serum ß-human chorionic gonadotropin (ß-hCG) levels and sex-related growth difference of IVF embryos
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Maternal serum ß-human chorionic gonadotropin (ß-hCG) represents the trophoblastic cell mass and is an indirect measurement of embryo development at early implantation stage. Studies in animals and human embryos detected sex-related growth differences (SRGD) in favour of male embryos during the pre-implantation period. The purpose of our study was to correlate SRGD and maternal serum ß-hCG at 16 days after embryo transfer.
We retrospectively analysed all (fresh and frozen) non-donor, single embryo transfers (SET), elective and not elective, that were performed between December 2008 and December 2013. We included ß-hCG values from day 16 after oocyte collection of pregnancies resulting in live birth. Neonatal gender was retrieved from patient files. Male and female embryos were further grouped to cleavage and blastocyst stage transfers. Regression analysis for confounding variables included maternal age, maternal body mass index (BMI), use of micromanipulation (ICSI), embryo quality (grade), assisted hatching, day of transfer and fresh or frozen embryo transfer.
Seven hundred eighty-six non-donor SETs resulted in live birth. After including only day 16 serum ß-hCG results, 525 SETs were analysed. Neonatal gender was available for 522 cases. Mean maternal serum ß-hCG levels were similar, 347 ± 191 IU/L in the male newborn group and 371 ± 200 IU/L in the female group. The difference between ß-hCG levels remained insignificant after adjusting for confounding variables.
Early maternal ß-hCG levels after embryo transfers did not represent SRGD in our study.
Keywordsß-hCG IVF Embryo Sex related Sex-related growth difference
The authors express their appreciation to Xiangming Tan PhD for his expert assistance in statistical analysis.
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