Calcium chloride dihydrate supplementation at ICSI improves fertilization and pregnancy rates in patients with previous low fertilization: a retrospective paired treatment cycle study

Sophie Popkiss, Fabrizzio Horta, Beverley Vollenhoven, Mark P. Green, Deirdre Zander-Fox

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Purpose: To determine if 5mM calcium chloride dihydrate supplementation of the Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) media at the time of ICSI (ICSI-Ca) improves fertilization, utilization, and clinical pregnancy rates compared to ICSI alone, particularly in patients with a history of low fertilization (< 50%). Methods: Retrospective study between 2016 and 2021 at Monash IVF Victoria on a paired cohort of patients (n = 178 patients) where an ICSI cycle was analyzed coupled with the subsequent ICSI-Ca cycle. The paired cohort was further subdivided into a low-fertilization cohort (< 50% fertilization on previous cycles: n = 66 patients) compared to the remaining patients with fertilization ≥ 50% (n = 122). Exclusion criteria included donor cycles, PGT patients, surgical sperm retrieval, women ≥ 45 years old, patients with > 6 cycles, and patients with ≤ 5 inseminated oocytes. Results: Calcium supplementation significantly increased both fertilization (28.8% ICSI vs 49.7% ICSI-Ca, P < 0.0001) and clinical pregnancy rate (4.9% ICSI vs 25.0% ICSI-Ca: P < 0.05) in the low-fertilization cohort but not in the normal-fertilization cohort. Interestingly, utilization rate significantly increased in the normal-fertilization cohort (32.6% ICSI vs ICSI-Ca: 44.9%, P < 0.01) but not in the low-fertilization cohort, although the number of embryos utilized per patient after ICSI-Ca increased in both groups. Conclusion: Calcium supplementation does not appear to be a detrimental addition to ICSI and may improve IVF outcomes, particularly for patients with a history of low fertilization. Further investigations including prospective case-matched studies or a RCT are required to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1064
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Artificial oocyte activation
  • Calcium supplementation
  • ICSI
  • PVP

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