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Open Access Research article

Ectopic pregnancy rates with day 3 versus day 5 embryo transfer: a retrospective analysis

Amin A Milki* and Sunny H Jun

Author Affiliations

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, U.S.A

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2003, 3:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-3-7

Published: 7 November 2003



Blastocyst transfer may theoretically decrease the incidence of ectopic pregnancy following IVF-ET in view of the decreased uterine contractility reported on day 5. The purpose of our study is to specifically compare the tubal pregnancy rates between day 3 and day 5 transfers.


A retrospective analysis of all clinical pregnancies conceived in our IVF program since 1998 was performed. The ectopic pregnancy rates were compared for day 3 and day 5 transfers.


There were 623 clinical pregnancies resulting from day 3 transfers of which 22 were ectopic (3.5%). In day 5 transfers, there were 13 ectopic pregnancies out of 333 clinical pregnancies (3.9%). The difference between these rates is not statistically significant (P = 0.8).


Our data suggests that the ectopic pregnancy rate is not reduced following blastocyst transfer compared to day 3 transfer. While there may be several benefits to extended culture in IVF, the decision to offer blastocyst transfer should be made independently from the issue of ectopic pregnancy risk.

Blastocyst; Ectopic pregnancy; Embryo transfer; IVF