Past Issue

Volume 10, Number 2, Jul-Sep 2016, Pages: 141-147

A Review of The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Embryo Grading System and Proposed Modification


Amjad Hossain, Ph.D, 1, *, John Phelps, M.D., J.D., LL.M., 1, Ashok Agarwal, Ph.D, 2, Eduardo Sanz, M.Sc, 3, Maha Mahadevan, Ph.D, 4,
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, USA
Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA
Center for Reproductive Health, Crest Hill, IL, USA
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA
*Corresponding Address: Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston 301 University Blvd Galveston Texas 77555-0587 USA Email:amhossai@utmb.edu

Abstract

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) method of embryo grad- ing is unique, simple, and widely practiced, and its use has been mandatory for SART membership programs since 2010. Developed by SART in 2006, the current embryo grading system categories, “good, fair, and poor,” are limited because they do not describe the best 1-2 embryos in the interest of keeping pace with the shift in clinical practice to be more selective and to transfer fewer embryos. This inspired us to conduct a review on the SART embryo grading system.

In this retrospective study, the literature on evaluation of human embryo quality in gen- eral, and the SART method of evaluation in particular, were reviewed for the period of 2000 to 2014. A multifaceted search pertaining to methods of embryo grading and trans- fer using a combination of relevant terms [embryo, mammalian, embryo transfer, grade, grading, morphology, biomarkers, SART, and in vitro fertilization (IVF)] was performed. The inclusion and exclusion in this review were dictated by the aim and scope of the study. Two investigators independently assessed the studies and extracted information. A total of 61 articles were reviewed.

Very few studies have evaluated the efficacy of the SART embryo grading method. The present study suggests the necessity for revision of the current SART grading system. The system, as it is now, lacks criteria for describing the cohort specific best embryo and thus is of limited use in single embryo transfer. The study foresees heightened descriptive efficiency of the SART system by implementing the proposed changes.

Strengths and weaknesses of the SART embryo grading were identified. Ideas for selecting the best cohort-specific embryo have been discussed, which may trigger methodological improvement in SART and other embryo grading systems.