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Oocyte morphology and embryo morphokinetics in an intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection programme. Is there a relationship?

  • Azita Faramarzi (a1), Mohammad Ali Khalili (a2) and Sareh Ashourzadeh (a1) (a3)


The aim was to investigate the relationship between the morphological parameters of metaphase II (MII) oocytes with morphokinetic variables of embryos following an intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure. Morphokinetic behaviour and abnormal cleavage patterns of 334 zygotes were analyzed using time-lapse monitoring (TLM). In addition, oocyte morphology was assessed in relation to embryo morphokinetic (absolute time point, including time to second polar body (PB) extrusion (ESPB), pronuclei (PN) appearance (PNA), PN fading (PNF), time to 2-cells (t2), 3c (t3), 4c (t4), 5c (t5), 6c (t6), 7c (t7), 8c (t8) and relative timing parameters (S1, S2, CC2 and CC3). Also, cleavage patterns (uneven blastomeres, reverse, direct and arbitrary) were assessed. The data showed that 79% of the normal fertilized oocytes had at least one abnormal morphological characteristic. Intra-cytoplasmic abnormalities were observed in 12% of the oocytes. Also, extra-cytoplasmic abnormalities were noticed in 29%, while combined intra- and extra-cytoplasmic abnormalities were responsible for the remaining 38% of the oocytes. Nearly all cleavage and interval times, except extrusion of the ESPB time (P = 0.003), were similar between normal and abnormal morphologic oocytes (P < 0.05). Moreover, there was significant relationship for oocyte morphology abnormalities and cleavage patterns, including uneven blastomere (P = 0.037), reverse cleavage (RC) (P = 0.0), direct (P = 0.001) and arbitrary cleavages (P = 0.001). Using TLM, the cleavage patterns of embryos were affected by the quality of MII oocytes in the ICSI cycles. So, evaluation of oocyte morphology with subsequent embryo morphokinetics is recommended in assisted reproductive programmes.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Mohammad Ali Khalili. Research and Clinical Center for Infertility, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran. Tel: +98 35 38247085-6. E-mail:


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