A recent Embryotools study published in the journal Human Reproduction has revealed significant differences between commercially available oils used in embryo culture.
The study tested 13 different oils from various manufacturers analysing their toxicity, density and viscosity as well as the ability of the oil to maintain stable culture conditions, by minimising changes in culture media temperature, pH and osmolality. Blastocyst cell count, inner cell mass (ICM) cell count and apoptotic cell count were also analysed.
Two of the oils tested, were considered to be embryotoxic as they failed to meet blastocyst development thresholds in the mouse embryo assay (MEA). More viscous oils performed better at maintaining osmolality and pH of culture media, whilst maintenance of culture media temperature outside the incubator showed minimal differences between oils. Significant differences in blastocyst, ICM and apoptotic cell count were also observed between different oils, which may provide a more sensitive indication of toxicity.
This study highlights the need for IVF labs to ensure the products they use undergo appropriate quality testing, as well as consider their culture conditions (humidification, culture duration) when selecting an appropriate oil to use. Read more.