Effects of Early Cumulus Cell Removal on Treatment Outcomes in Patients Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Pengcheng Kong, Mingru Yin, Chuanling Tang, Xiuxian Zhu, Orhan Bukulmez, Miaoxin Chen, Xiaoming Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Early cumulus cell removal combined with early rescue intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been widely practiced in many in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers in China in order to avoid total fertilization failure. However, uncertainty remains whether the pregnancy and neonatal outcomes are associated with early cumulus cell removal. Objectives: To investigate if early cumulus cell removal alone after 4 hours co-incubation of gametes (4 h group), has detrimental effect on the pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in patients undergoing IVF, through a comparison with conventional cumulus cell removal after 20 hours of insemination (20 h group). Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 1784 patients who underwent their first fresh cleavage stage embryo transfer at the Centre for Assisted Reproduction of Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital from June 2016 to December 2018 (4 h group, n=570; 20 h group, n=1214). A logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the independent association between early cumulus cell removal and pregnancy outcomes after adjustment for potential confounders. The neonatal outcomes between the two groups were compared. Results: When compared with the 20 h group, the 4 h group had similar pregnancy outcomes, including rates for biochemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, multiple pregnancy, live birth. There were 1073 infants delivered after embryo transfer (4 h group, n=337; 20 h group, n=736). Outcomes in both groups were similar for both singleton and twin gestations, including preterm birth rate and very preterm birth rate, mean birth weight, mean gestational age, sex ratio at birth and rate of congenital birth defects. In addition, findings pertaining to singleton gestations were also similar in the two groups for Z-scores (gestational age- and sex-adjusted birth weight), rates of small for gestational age, very small for gestational age, large for gestational age and very large for gestational age infants. Conclusions: In this study early cumulus cell removal alone was not associated with adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. From this perspective, early cumulus cell removal to assess for a potential early rescue ICSI is therefore considered to be a safe option in patients undergoing IVF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number669507
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - May 7 2021


  • early cumulus cell removal
  • in vitro fertilization
  • neonatal outcomes
  • pregnancy outcomes
  • short-term insemination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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