To explore whether embryo culture with melatonin (MT) can improve the embryonic development and clinical outcome of patients with repeated cycles after in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) failure, immature oocytes from controlled ovarian superovulation cycles were collected for in vitro maturation (IVM) and ICSI. The obtained embryos were cultured in 0, 10–11, 10–9, 10–7 and 10–5 M MT medium respectively, and 10–9 M was screened out as the optimal concentration. Subsequently, 140 patients who underwent failed IVF/ICSI cycles received 140 cycles of embryo culture in vitro with a medium containing 10–9 M MT, these 140 MT culture cycles were designated as the experimental group (10–9 M group), and the control group was the previous failed cycles of patients (0 M group). The results showed that the fertilization, cleavage, high-quality embryo, blastocyst, and high-quality blastocyst rates of the 10–9 M group were significantly higher than those of the 0 M group (P < 0.01; P < 0.01; P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001). To date, in total, 50 vitrified-warmed cycle transfers have been performed in the 10–9 M group and the implantation rate, biochemical pregnancy rate and clinical pregnancy rate were significantly higher than those in the 0 M group (all P < 0.0001). Two healthy infants were delivered successfully and the other 18 women who achieved clinical pregnancy also had good examination indexes. Therefore the application of 10–9 M MT to embryo cultures in vitro improved embryonic development in patients with repeated cycles after failed IVF/ICSI cycles and had good clinical outcomes.
Trial registration: ChiCTR2100045552.