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Follicular flushing leads to higher oocyte yield in monofollicular IVF: a randomized controlled trial


Kohl Schwartz, A S; Calzaferri, I; Roumet, M; Limacher, A; Fink, A; Wueest, A; Weidlinger, S; Mitter, V R; Leeners, B; Von Wolff, M (2020). Follicular flushing leads to higher oocyte yield in monofollicular IVF: a randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction, 35(10):2253-2261.

Abstract

Study question: Does follicular flushing increase the number of mature oocytes in monofollicular IVF?

Summary answer: Follicular flushing increases the number of mature oocytes in monofollicular IVF.

What is known already: Flushing increases neither the oocyte yield nor the pregnancy rate in polyfollicular IVF or in poor responder patients. In monofollicular IVF, the effect of flushing has so far been addressed by two studies: (i) a prospective study with minimal stimulation IVF demonstrated an increased oocyte yield, and (ii) a retrospective study with natural cycle (NC)-IVF showed an increased oocyte yield and an increased transfer rate.

Study design, size, duration: Randomized controlled trial including 164 women who were randomized for either aspiration with or without flushing from 2016 to 2019.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Infertile women 18-42 years of age with an indication for IVF treatment at a university-based infertility unit. Women undergoing monofollicular IVF were randomized to either follicular aspiration only or follicular aspiration directly followed by five follicular flushes at a 1:1 ratio. The intervention was done without anaesthesia, using a gauge 19 single-lumen needle. Flushing volume was calculated (sphere formula) based on the size of the follicle.

Main results and the role of chance: A total of 164 women were included; 81 were allocated to 'aspiration only' and 83 to additional 'flushing'. Primary analysis was based on the intention-to-treat: oocyte yield, defined as the collected mature oocyte rate, was higher (n = 64/83, 77.1%) in the flushing group compared to the aspiration only group (n = 48/81, 59.3%, adjusted risk difference (RD): 18.2% (95% CI 3.9-31.7%), P-value = 0.02). In the flushing group, most oocytes were retrieved within the first three flushes (63/83, 75.8%). Fertilization rate was higher in the flushing group (n = 53/83, 63.9% vs n = 38/81, 46.9%; adjusted RD: 16.8% (96% CI 1.5-31.4%), P = 0.045). Transfer rate was also higher in the flushing group (n = 52/83, 62.7% vs n = 38/81, 46.9%; RD: 15.71 (95% CI 0.3-30.3%)), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.06). The clinical pregnancy rate n = 9/83 versus n = 9/81 (RD: -0.3% (95% CI -9.9% to 9.5%)) and live birth rate n = 7/83 versus n = 8/81 (RD: -1.5% (95% CI -10.4% to 7.1%)) were not significantly different between the flushing and the aspiration group. The median duration of the intervention was significantly longer with flushing (2.38 min; quartiles 2.0, 2.7) versus aspiration only (0.43 min; quartiles 0.3, 0.5) (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the mean (±SD) visual analogue scales pain score between the follicular flushing (3.4 ± 1.8) and the aspiration group (3.1 ± 1.89).

Abstract

Study question: Does follicular flushing increase the number of mature oocytes in monofollicular IVF?

Summary answer: Follicular flushing increases the number of mature oocytes in monofollicular IVF.

What is known already: Flushing increases neither the oocyte yield nor the pregnancy rate in polyfollicular IVF or in poor responder patients. In monofollicular IVF, the effect of flushing has so far been addressed by two studies: (i) a prospective study with minimal stimulation IVF demonstrated an increased oocyte yield, and (ii) a retrospective study with natural cycle (NC)-IVF showed an increased oocyte yield and an increased transfer rate.

Study design, size, duration: Randomized controlled trial including 164 women who were randomized for either aspiration with or without flushing from 2016 to 2019.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Infertile women 18-42 years of age with an indication for IVF treatment at a university-based infertility unit. Women undergoing monofollicular IVF were randomized to either follicular aspiration only or follicular aspiration directly followed by five follicular flushes at a 1:1 ratio. The intervention was done without anaesthesia, using a gauge 19 single-lumen needle. Flushing volume was calculated (sphere formula) based on the size of the follicle.

Main results and the role of chance: A total of 164 women were included; 81 were allocated to 'aspiration only' and 83 to additional 'flushing'. Primary analysis was based on the intention-to-treat: oocyte yield, defined as the collected mature oocyte rate, was higher (n = 64/83, 77.1%) in the flushing group compared to the aspiration only group (n = 48/81, 59.3%, adjusted risk difference (RD): 18.2% (95% CI 3.9-31.7%), P-value = 0.02). In the flushing group, most oocytes were retrieved within the first three flushes (63/83, 75.8%). Fertilization rate was higher in the flushing group (n = 53/83, 63.9% vs n = 38/81, 46.9%; adjusted RD: 16.8% (96% CI 1.5-31.4%), P = 0.045). Transfer rate was also higher in the flushing group (n = 52/83, 62.7% vs n = 38/81, 46.9%; RD: 15.71 (95% CI 0.3-30.3%)), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.06). The clinical pregnancy rate n = 9/83 versus n = 9/81 (RD: -0.3% (95% CI -9.9% to 9.5%)) and live birth rate n = 7/83 versus n = 8/81 (RD: -1.5% (95% CI -10.4% to 7.1%)) were not significantly different between the flushing and the aspiration group. The median duration of the intervention was significantly longer with flushing (2.38 min; quartiles 2.0, 2.7) versus aspiration only (0.43 min; quartiles 0.3, 0.5) (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the mean (±SD) visual analogue scales pain score between the follicular flushing (3.4 ± 1.8) and the aspiration group (3.1 ± 1.89).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Reproductive Medicine
Health Sciences > Obstetrics and Gynecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rehabilitation, Reproductive Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:11 Feb 2021 14:05
Last Modified:12 Feb 2021 21:00
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0268-1161
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deaa165
PubMed ID:32856073

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