Human reproduction (Oxford, England) vol:13 issue:8 pages:2234-7
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that ultrasound covers and sonographic gels, used during vaginal ultrasound, are toxic for mouse embryonic development in vitro. A prospective randomized design was used on pronucleate ova of F1 hybrid CBA x C57Bl female mice. The mice were superovulated with pregnant mare's serum gonadotrophin and human chorionic gonadotrophin and mated with CBA x C57Bl males. The pronucleate ova were randomly divided between culture media with the addition of commercially available ultrasound covers and sonographic gels in different concentrations. As controls and potential alternatives, plastic polyethylene bags and paraffin oil were tested simultaneously. Embryo-toxicity was assessed by documenting cleavage capacity, blastocyst formation and embryo degeneration in vitro. Exposure of culture medium to the ultrasound covers and sonographic gels tested resulted in a severely reduced cleavage capacity, a high incidence of embryo degeneration and absent or impaired blastocyst formation. This toxic effect could be reduced by high dilutions in vitro. In contrast, plastic polyethylene bags and paraffin oil had no influence on in-vitro development of mouse ova. We conclude that commercially available ultrasound latex covers and sonographic gels are toxic for mouse embryos and can potentially influence embryonic development during infertility treatment. It is safer to perform vaginal ultrasonic measurements using non-toxic paraffin oil (as contact fluid) and plastic polyethylene bags (as ultrasonic cover).