PROBLEM: To determine if LIF produced by autologous endometrial co-culture (ECC) was associated with outcome in 46 patients with a history of multiple IVF failures.
METHOD OF STUDY: The conditioned media (CM) from ECC cells exposed or non-exposed to human embryos was analyzed for LIF.
RESULTS: Exposure or non-exposure to an embryo did not result in differing levels of LIF in the CM. LIF levels were significantly greater in the CM than in the serum controls (LIF was not found in the serum controls). Embryos grown on ECC demonstrated a significant improvement in number of blastomeres and fragmentation when compared to embryos grown in conventional media without ECC (6.7±1.3 vs. 5.6±1.2 blastomeres and 17.6%±9.3 vs. 26.4%±9.8 fragmentation; P<0.05). When LIF levels were detectable in the CM, the embryos grown in ECC were of improved quality as compared to the embryos grown only in conventional media and demonstrated a non-significant increase in pregnancy rates (60 vs. 48%, P=0.50).
CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated a significant improvement in embryo quality with ECC. The cells in the ECC express LIF. The presence of LIF in the CM was associated with embryonic development and clinical pregnancy.