The ultimate goal of human assisted reproductive technology is to achieve a healthy pregnancy and birth, ideally from the selection and transfer of a single competent embryo. Recently, techniques for efficiently evaluating the state and quality of preimplantation embryos using time-lapse imaging systems have been applied. Artificial intelligence programs based on deep learning technology and big data analysis of time-lapse monitoring system during in vitro culture of preimplantation embryos have also been rapidly developed. In addition, several molecular markers of the secretome have been successfully analyzed in spent embryo culture media, which could easily be obtained during in vitro embryo culture. It is also possible to analyze small amounts of cell-free nucleic acids, mitochondrial nucleic acids, miRNA, and long non-coding RNA derived from embryos using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or digital PCR, as well as next-generation sequencing. Various efforts are being made to use non-invasive evaluation of embryo quality (NiEEQ) to select the embryo with the best developmental competence. However, each NiEEQ method has some limitations that should be evaluated case by case. Therefore, an integrated analysis strategy fusing several NiEEQ methods should be urgently developed and confirmed by proper clinical trials.
Assisted reproductive technology; Cell-free nucleic acids; Culture media; Embryo; MicroRNA; Non-invasive; Secretome.