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Analysis of the clinical outcomes of microbial contamination caused by environmental contamination of the embryology laboratory during IVF-ET treatment cycles.

BACKGROUND: Bacterial contamination may cause loss of or damage to cultured oocytes or embryos, resulting in the lack of transplantable embryos during IVF embryo culture. However, there are few reports about IVF embryo contamination caused by embryology laboratories. In this work, we evaluated clinical pregnancy outcomes and the risk of maternal and infant complications after embryo contamination caused by environmental pollution during IVF.

METHODS: The authors retrospectively analyzed 2490 IVF-ET ovulation induction therapy cycles in the Reproductive Center of Yichang Central People's Hospital from January 2015 to May 2022. According to the presence or absence of embryo culture medium contamination, the two groups were divided into an embryo contamination cycle and a nonembryo contamination cycle. The primary outcome parameters were the characteristics and progress of embryo culture medium contamination. Embryo laboratory outcomes, pregnancy outcomes, and maternal and infant complications were secondary outcome parameters.

RESULTS: One case of embryo contamination originated from semen contamination. The remaining 15 cases involved environmental contamination outbreaks in embryo culture chambers, caused by Staphylococcus pasteuri. Compared with conventional uncontaminated IVF cycles, the 15 cases of contaminated embryo cycles showed no significant difference in embryo laboratory outcomes, pregnancy outcomes, or maternal and infant complications except for a slightly higher rate of fetal growth retardation. Ultimately, 11 live-born infants were successfully delivered, of which 2 were premature. The remaining 4 patients did not become pregnant after 1-2 transfers due to a lack of transferable embryos.

CONCLUSION: When the embryo culture medium is contaminated due to the environmental contamination of the IVF culture room, it is feasible to perform daily rapid rinsing of the culture medium and avoid blastocyst culture as remedial treatment. However, the long-term impact on offspring needs further prospective research.

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