Objective: To assess the relationships among perifollicular blood flow; follicular fluid pO2, pCO2, and pH; oocyte developmental capacity; preimplantation embryo quality. Design: Prospective study. Setting: Academic, tertiary care institution. Patient(s): Unselected, gonadotropin-stimulated IVF cycles. Intervention(s): Color, pulsed Doppler analysis of perifollicular blood flow, and follicular pO2, pCO2, and pH determinations of randomly designated, mapped ovarian follicles. Main Outcome Measure(s): Fertilization and day 3 embryo cleavage and morphology. Result(s): Perifollicular vascularity indices were significantly and negatively correlated with day 3 embryo cleavage. Pulsatility index and S-D ratio also were significantly and negatively correlated with follicular pO2. The same correlation was found between resistance index and the fertilization rate of preovulatory oocytes. No relationship existed between follicular metabolic analysis and fertilization or embryo quality. The resistance index had a sensitivity of 0.57 and a specificity of 0.71 for the prediction of advanced embryo cleavage status. Conclusion(s): Results confirm and extend previous reports demonstrating that color, pulsed Doppler ultrasound analysis of individual preovulatory follicles during IVF therapy may provide an indirect index of the developmental competence of the corresponding oocyte. Although these methods may provide means to select embryos for transfer with the highest implantation potential, the moderate predictive power showed so far may limit their clinical applicability.
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