Instituto Bernabeu discovers that there is a decreased chance of successful pregnancy in embryos with a larger mitochondrial DNA content

  • 19-07-2018

Instituto Bernabeu has submitted research work managed by Belén Lledó, Director of the clinic's Genetics Unit, to the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) congress. The research involved analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in embryos and its link to the success of in vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF).

Mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for supplying most of the energy required for cell activity. The particular characteristic of these organelles is that they have their own DNA and this DNA is different to the DNA in the nucleus.  Inheritance is only produced between the mother and child and we already know that abnormalities in mtDNA can lead to illnesses. It has also become apparent over the last few years that it can play an essential role in implantation and embryo development.

The research work aimed to take a more in-depth look at the role of mtDNA in the success of assisted reproduction treatment. It assessed the factors that lead to the presence of a different mtDNA in the embryo and if this explains why an embryo leads to pregnancy or not.

Instituto Bernabeu analysed chromosomally normal embryos using CCS, the comprehensive means of chromosome analysis, and determined that mtDNA levels are linked to the mother's age and the day of embryo development. The study concludes that embryos with a larger mtDNA content have a decreased chance of leading to a successful pregnancy. It also determined that this risk is even higher in women of an advanced age.

Análisis completo del ADN mitocondrial (ADNmt) en blastocistos y su relación con el éxito de los tratamientos de FIV. Lledó Bosc h, B; Ortiz Salcedo, JA; Morales Sabater, R; García Hernández, E; Ten Morro, J; Bernabeu García, A; Llácer Aparicio, J; Bernabeu Perez, R. Comunicación oral.

Dr Belén Lledó