Morphological and mathematical analysis of ICSI embryo shapes and developmental fate: preliminary observations.
Abstract: Main and most common methods of embryo analysis and morphological classification currently used in ART medical practice evaluate a multiplicity of morphological parameters, e.g. blastomeres number and symmetry, internal structures homogeneity, presence of corpuscles, cytoplasmatic features and characterization of embryo external shape (regularity, thickness and thickness variation of zona pellucida, ZP). Growing evidences are suggesting that cell shape should be considered as the most critical determinant of embryo competence, therefore quantitative shape descriptors could provide an insight on complex systems being observed. In this study it is presented an original method for calculating a shape form factor (algorithm) linked to local morphological variability of embryo ZP, called Local ZP Variation (LZPV), instead of its macroscopic characteristics. This method is based on harmonic analysis techniques application in frequency-domain representation of ZP inner and outer boundaries, to verify whether harmonic measures could be observationally associated to better results in terms of pregnancy outcome. Preliminary observations show that our method, whether confirmed in a larger series of patients for its validity and reproducibility, may represent a valuable tool for specialists to distinguish embryos of good quality with higher ability to implant and reach term pregnancy.