Propofol, frequently used for i.v. induction of anaesthesia in assisted reproduction procedures, has been suspected of damaging oocytes. Concentrations of propofol have recently been shown to increase in follicular fluid during oocyte retrieval. Our study was designed to assess whether exposure to increasing concentrations of propofol has a measurable effect on in-vitro fertilization, cleavage and embryo development. A cohort of 130 women underwent i.v. anaesthesia using propofol and fentanyl. Time of anaesthesia from i.v. injection of propofol was measured, as were the doses of the two drugs. In 32 women expected to have more than 15 oocytes retrieved, first, middle and last oocytes were cultured separately. The mean time from i.v. injection to first follicle aspiration was 200 s. The mean time for the aspiration of each additional oocyte was 17.6 s. In 10 out of 11 cases where follicular fluid concentrations of propofol were measured, there was an increase from the first to the last follicle, but no difference was found in the ratio of mature to immature oocytes. Nor were any differences found in fertilization, cleavage and embryo cell number. In so far as in-vitro development reflects embryo quality, we conclude that the time elapsed between retrieval of the first and last oocyte does not affect oocyte quality.
- Embryo quality
- Oocyte fertilization