In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been a well-established method for treating infertility for over four decades. The mainstay method of culture of oocytes and embryos has been in gas incubators. More recently, the novel use of a gas-permeable closed vessel to culture oocytes and embryos in the vagina, intravaginal culture (IVC), has been introduced as a viable lower-cost option for infertility patients. Several studies have studied the efficacy of IVC; however, there is no data on the perinatal outcomes of the babies born using this newer technology.
Our study is a retrospective case series (n = 66) from a single center, uniquely examining the perinatal outcomes of infants born after IVC.
There were 50 singleton and 16 twin gestations in this case series. For singleton infants conceived via IVC (n = 50), the mean gestational age at delivery was 38 weeks and 4 days, and the mean birth weight was 3159.1 + / − 501.5 g. Four infants were born with low birth weight, three were born preterm, and one was born macrosomic. The twin pregnancies had a mean gestational age at delivery of 33 weeks 4 days and a mean birth weight of 1992.9 + / − 620.7 g. Twenty-seven infants met the criteria for low birthweight, and twenty-four infants delivered preterm. No twin infants met the criteria for macrosomia.
This case series provides an initial description of the perinatal outcomes of IVC conceived infants, which shows no concerning trends in adverse birth outcomes for singleton infants. As expected, IVC twin gestations had a high rate of low birth weight and preterm delivery. Continued larger studies are essential to provide more comprehensive data on perinatal outcomes of infants conceived by this new technology.