A pilot trial of large versus small diameter needles for oocyte retrieval

Lecture Type: Research in Brief

A pilot trial of large versus small diameter needles for oocyte retrieval

Vitaly A Kushnir, MD FACOG

Born in the former Soviet Union, Dr. Kushnir emigrated as a child to the U.S., where the family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. After college he pursued medical school at the New York Program of Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University in Israel. After graduation, he returned to the U.S. for a residency in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School, where he was a recipient of Resident Research Award. After a 3-year fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Kushnir joined the Center for Human Reproduction in July 2012.

Dr. Kushnir is an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Society for Gynecologic Investigation and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he served as Junior Fellow Chair in its New Jersey Section between 2006 and 2008. Dr. Kushnir has been a recipient of numerous research awards, including the Excellence in Research by a Fellow, awarded by Emory University in 2012 for his research in the role of mitochondria in female reproductive aging.

Dr. Kushnir has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts, with a keen focus on ovarian physiology and aging. In addition to presenting at multiple professional society meetings, Dr. Kushnir has also authored many book chapters on topics in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility.


Dr. Kushnir discusses a research publication in Reproductive Biology & Endocrinology that compares the efficacy of large- versus small-sized needles for egg retrieval. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2013;11:22.


Background: This study was designed to determine whether small diameter needles for oocyte retrieval alter oocyte yields in patients undergoing IVF in comparison to standard large diameter needles.

Methods: We conducted a prospective pilot study of 21 consecutive favorable prognosis patients. In each patient one ovary was randomly allocated to retrieval with either a 20 G/ 35 mm (thin) or 17 G/ 35 mm (standard) needle, the other ovary was then retrieved with the opposite needle.

Results: The standard diameter needle was used to collect a total of 215 oocytes from 355 aspirated follicles (60.6%) compared to 203 oocytes from 352 aspirated follicles (57.7%) with the thinner needle (p=0.23). Stratifying outcomes by anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), as indicator of ovarian reserve, and by body mass index (BMI) the oocyte yields, still, did not differ (AMH, r (17)=0.20, p=0.44; BMI, r (17) =0.02, p=0.96). Outcomes also did not vary among women with diminished ovarian reserve (p=0.17) and in women with normal ovarian reserve (p=1.00). Operating time was, however, significantly increased by 3.3 minutes per ovary (z=3.08, p=0.002) with the thinner needle.

Conclusions: Needle diameter does not affect oocyte yield, including in obese patients and patients with diminished ovarian reserve. Thinner needles appear to significantly prolong operating time.

VIDEO: A pilot trial of large versus small diameter needles for oocyte retrieval

Recorded on: Friday, April 26, 2013

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