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Human Reproduction Update Advance Access





Published: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 01:47:56 GMT

 



Is frozen embryo transfer better for mothers and babies? Can cumulative meta-analysis provide a definitive answer?

2017-11-13

Abstract
BACKGROUND
Initial observational studies and a systematic review published 5 years ago have suggested that obstetric and perinatal outcomes are better in offspring conceived following frozen rather than fresh embryo transfers, with reduced risks of preterm birth, small for gestational age, low birth weight and pre-eclampsia. More recent primary studies are beginning to challenge some of these findings. We therefore conducted an updated systematic review and cumulative meta-analysis to examine if these results have remained consistent over time.
OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE
The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and cumulative meta-analysis (trend with time) of obstetric and perinatal complications in singleton pregnancies following the transfer of frozen thawed and fresh embryos generated through in-vitro fertilisation.
SEARCH METHODS
Data Sources from Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials DARE and CINAHL (1984–2016) were searched using appropriate key words. Observational and randomised studies comparing obstetric and perinatal outcomes in singleton pregnancies conceived through IVF using either fresh or frozen thawed embryos. Two independent reviewers extracted data in 2 × 2 tables and assessed the methodological quality of the relevant studies using CASP scoring. Both aggregated as well as cumulative meta-analysis was done using STATA.
OUTCOMES
Twenty-six studies met the inclusion criteria. Singleton babies conceived from frozen thawed embryos were at lower relative risk (RR) of preterm delivery (0.90; 95% CI 0.84–0.97) low birth weight (0.72; 95% CI 0.67–0.77) and small for gestational age (0.61; 95% CI 0.56–0.67) compared to those conceived from fresh embryo transfers, but faced an increased risk (RR) of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (1.29; 95% CI 1.07–1.56) large for gestational age (1.54; 95% CI 1.48–1.61) and high birth weight (1.85; 95% CI 1.46–2.33). There was no difference in the risk of congenital anomalies and perinatal mortality between the two groups. The direction and magnitude of effect for these outcomes have remained virtually unchanged over time while the degree of precision has improved with the addition of data from newer studies.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS
The results of this cumulative meta-analysis confirm that the decreased risks of small for gestational age, low birth weight and preterm delivery and increased risks of large for gestational age and high birth weight associated with pregnancies conceived from frozen embryos have been consistent in terms of direction and magnitude of effect over several years, with increasing precision around the point estimates. Replication in a number of different populations has provided external validity for the results, for outcomes of birth weight and preterm delivery. Meanwhile, caution should be exercised about embarking on a policy of electively freezing all embryos in IVF as there are increased risks for large for gestational age babies and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Therefore, elective freezing should ideally be undertaken in specific cases such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, fertility preservation or in the context of randomised trials.



Diabetes-induced hyperglycemia impairs male reproductive function: a systematic review

2017-11-10

Abstract
BACKGROUND
Hyperglycemia can result from a loss of pancreatic beta-cells or a decline in their function leading to decreased insulin secretion or may arise from insulin resistance and variable degrees of inadequate insulin secretion resulting in diabetes and related comorbidities. To date several reviews have addressed the issue of diabetes-related male infertility but most have focused on how metabolic syndrome causes the decline in male fertility. However, a comprehensive overview as to how diabetes-induced hyperglycemia impairs male fertility is missing. Impaired regulation of glucose and the resultant hyperglycemia are major threats to the health of individuals in modern societies especially given the rapidly rising prevalence affecting an increasing number of men in their reproductive years. Consequently, diabetes-induced hyperglycemia is likely to contribute to a decline in global birth rates especially in those societies with a high diabetic prevalence.
OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE
This systematic review addresses and summarizes the impact of hyperglycemia on male reproductive health with a particular emphasis on the molecular mechanisms that influence the testis and other parts of the male reproductive tract.
SEARCH METHODS
A systematic search of the literature published in the MEDLINE-Pubmed database (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and Cochrane Library (http://www.cochranelibrary.com) was performed, as well as hand searching reference lists, from the earliest available online indexing year until May 2017, using diabetes- and male fertility-related keywords in combination with other search phrases relevant to the topic of hyperglycemia.Inclusion criteria were: clinical studies on type 1 diabetic (T1D) men and studies on T1D animal models with a focus on reproductive parameters. Case reports/series, observational studies and clinical trials were included. Studies on patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) or animal models of T2D were excluded to distinguish hyperglycemia from other metabolic effects.
OUTCOMES
A total of 890 articles were identified of which 197 (32 clinical, 165 animal studies) were selected for qualitative analysis. While the clinical data from men with hyperglycemia-induced reproductive dysfunction were reported in most studies on T1D, the study designs were variable and lacked complete information on patients. Moreover, only a few studies (and mostly animal studies) addressed the underlying mechanisms of how hyperglycemia induces infertility. Potential causes included impaired function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, increased DNA damage, perturbations in the system of advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor, oxidative stress, increased endoplasmatic reticulum stress, modulation of cellular pathways, impaired mitochondrial function and disrupted sympathetic innervation. However, intervention studies to identify and confirm the pathological mechanisms were missing: data that are essential in understanding these interactions.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS
While the effects of regulating the hyperglycemia by the use of insulin and other modulators of glucose metabolism have been reported, more clinical trials providing high quality evidence and specifically addressing the beneficial effects on male reproduction are required. We conclude that interventions using insulin to restore normoglycemia should be a feasible approach to assess the proposed underlying mechanisms of infertility.