Does the Presence of Blood in the Catheter or the Degree of Difficulty of Embryo Transfer Affect Live Birth?

Torie C. Plowden, Micah J. Hill, Shana M. Miles, Benjamin Hoyt, Belinda Yauger, James H. Segars, John M. Csokmay, Rebecca J. Chason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The technique used for embryo transfer (ET) can affect implantation. Prior research that evaluated the effect of postprocedural blood of the transfer catheter tip have yielded mixed results, and it is unclear whether this is actually a marker of difficulty of the transfer. Our objective was to estimate the effect of blood at the time of ET and the difficulty of ET on live birth rates (LBR). This retrospective cohort study utilized generalized estimating equations (GEEs) with nesting for repeated cycles for all analyses. Univariate modeling was performed and a final multivariate (adjusted) GEE model accounted for all significant confounders. Embryo transfers were subjectively graded (easy, medium, or hard) by a physician at the time of transfer. The presence of blood at ET was associated with more difficult ETs, retained embryos, and presence of mucous in the catheter. In the univariate analysis, ET with blood was not associated with live birth, while the degree of difficulty for ET had a negative impact on LBR. In the final multivariate GEE model, which accounts for repeated cycles from a patient, the only factors associated with an increased LBR were the degree of difficulty of the ET, female age, and blastocyst transfer. After controlling for confounding variables, the presence of blood in the transfer catheter was not associated with the likelihood of pregnancy and thus was not an independent predictor of cycle outcome. This indicates that the difficulty of the transfer itself was a strong negative predictor of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-730
Number of pages5
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • ART
  • blood on catheter
  • degree of difficulty
  • difficult transfer
  • embryo transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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