Is there a benefit in follicular flushing in assisted reproductive technology?

Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 06/2010; 22(3):208-12. DOI: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e3283373bfe
Source: PubMed


Follicular flushing utilizing double-lumen retrieval needles attempts to increase oocyte yield during transvaginal retrieval. The original work on this topic, now more than 2 decades old, examined its utility in normal-responding assisted reproductive technologies (ART) patients. Newer studies examining its utility have focused on special populations expected to demonstrate benefit: poor responders, natural cycle and minimal stimulation ART, and in-vitro maturation cycles. This review assesses the current evidence regarding the effectiveness of ovarian follicular flushing in improving oocyte yield.
Follicular flushing offers no substantive benefit in oocyte yield, fertilization rates, or pregnancy outcomes for normal and poor-responding ART patients. Patients undergoing natural cycle or minimal stimulation ART may benefit from follicular flushing resulting in more mature embryos but unclear effects on cycle outcome.
Randomized controlled trials consistently demonstrate no benefit and increased procedural time with follicular flushing in both normal and poor-responding ART patients. Nonrandomized data suggest a possible role for follicular flushing in natural cycle or minimal stimulation ART and in those undergoing in-vitro maturation IVF cycles; however, randomized controlled trials are needed to verify this finding. Presently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of follicular flushing.

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    • "Systems of aspiration with double lumen allow the aspirated follicle to be flushed and subsequently re-aspirated (follicular flushing) to increase individual traceability. The duration of the oocyte retrieval procedure would undoubtedly increase, as well as patients’ discomfort during the procedure (Hill and Levens, 2010). This change, however, is a prerequisite for the assessment of individual FF G-CSF concentrations, to increase the subsequent pregnancy rate by a more precise and accurate choice of embryos with the best potential for implantation and live birth. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Previous experiments have shown that granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), quantified in the follicular fluid (FF) of individual oocytes, correlates with the potential for an ongoing pregnancy of the corresponding fertilized oocytes among selected transferred embryos. Here we present a proof of concept study aimed at evaluating the impact of including FF G-CSF quantification in the embryo transfer decisions. METHODS FF G-CSF was quantified with the Luminex XMap technology in 523 individual FF samples corresponding to 116 fresh transferred embryos, 275 frozen embryos and 131 destroyed embryos from 78 patients undergoing ICSI. RESULTS Follicular G-CSF was highly predictive of subsequent implantation. The receiving operator characteristics curve methodology showed its higher discriminatory power to predict ongoing pregnancy in multivariate logistic regression analysis for FF G-CSF compared with embryo morphology [0.77 (0.69–0.83), P < 0.001 versus 0.66 (0.58–0.73), P = 0.01)]. Embryos were classified by their FF G-CSF concentration: Class I over 30 pg/ml (a highest positive predictive value for implantation), Class II from 30 to 18.4 pg/ml and Class III <18.4 pg/ml (a highest negative predictive value). Embryos derived from Class I follicles had a significantly higher implantation rate (IR) than those from Class II and III follicles (36 versus 16.6 and 6%, P < 0.001). Embryos derived from Class I follicles with an optimal morphology reached an IR of 54%. Frozen-thawed embryos transfer derived from Class I follicles had an IR of 37% significantly higher than those from Class II and III follicles, respectively, of 8 and 5% (P < 0.001). Thirty-five per cent of the frozen embryos but also 10% of the destroyed embryos were derived from G-CSF Class I follicles. Non-optimal embryos appear to have been transferred in 28% (22/78) of the women, and their pregnancy rate was significantly lower than that of women who received at least one optimal embryo (18 versus 36%, P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS Monitoring FF G-CSF for the selection of embryos with a better potential for pregnancy might improve the effectiveness of IVF by reducing the time and cost required for obtaining a pregnancy.
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    ABSTRACT: We compared the retrieval efficiency of single- (direct follicular aspiration) and double-lumen-needle (attained with follicular flushing) procedures in normal-responder IVF-intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles. This prospective randomized study did not demonstrate a beneficial effect of double-lumen needle retrieval compared with single-needle retrieval in normal-responder IVF-intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles in terms of retrieved oocytes, clinical pregnancy rates, and live birth rates.
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