Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 1509–1517 | Cite as

Contraction behaviour reduces embryo competence in high-quality euploid blastocysts

  • Xavier Viñals GonzalezEmail author
  • Rabi Odia
  • Suzanne Cawood
  • Matthew Gaunt
  • Wael Saab
  • Srividya Seshadri
  • Paul Serhal
Embryo Biology



The aim of the study is to investigate how blastocyst contraction behaviour affects the reproductive competence in high-quality euploid embryos.


Eight hundred ninety-six high-quality blastocysts derived from 190 patients (mean age 38.05 (SD = 2.9) years) who underwent preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A) from January 2016 to October 2017 were included in this study. PGT-A results were reported as euploid or aneuploid. Aneuploid embryos were sub-classified into three categories: monosomy, trisomy and complex aneuploid. Retrospective studies of time-lapse monitoring (TLM) of those embryos were analysed and reproductive outcome of transferred embryos was collected.


A total of 234/896 were euploid (26.1%) whilst 662/896 (73.9%) blastocysts were proven to be aneuploid from which 116 (17.6%) presented monosomies, 136 (20.5%) trisomies and 410 (61.9%) were complex aneuploid. The most frequent chromosomal complements were trisomies affecting chromosome 21 and monosomies involving chromosomes 16 and 22. Data analysis showed a statistical difference in the number of contractions being reported greater in aneuploid when compared to euploid embryos (0.6 vs 1.57; p < 0.001). Analysis of the aneuploid embryos showed that monosomies present less number of contractions when compared to embryos affected with trisomies or complex aneuploidies (1.23 vs 1.53 and 1.40; p < 0.05). No difference was observed when comparing the latter two groups. Euploid embryos presenting at least one contraction resulted in lower implantation and clinical pregnancy rates when compared to blastocysts that do not display this event (47.6 vs 78.5% and 40.0 vs 59.0% respectively).


Most aneuploid blastocysts diagnosed by PGT-A have complex aneuploidies, showing that aneuploid embryos can develop after genomic activation and reaching high morphological scores. It becomes clear that embryo contraction, despite being a physiological feature during blastulation, is conditioned by the ploidy status of the embryo. Furthermore, the presence of contractions may compromise implantation rates.


Blastocyst contraction Next-generation sequencing Time-lapse monitoring Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies Ploidy 



The authors want to thank Professor Joy Delhanty for her valuable help and expertise revising the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

10815_2018_1246_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (217 kb)
ESM 1 (PPTX 217 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication [July/2018]

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Embryology Department, The Centre For Reproductive and Genetic HealthLondonUK
  2. 2.Clinical Department, The Centre For Reproductive and Genetic HealthLondonUK

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