The current research is aimed at finding potential non-invasive bio-markers that will help us learn more about the mechanisms at play in failed assisted reproduction treatment. This exploratory pilot study examined the relationship between cell-free DNA (CFD) in plasma and telomere length in lymphocytes among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and compared telomere length and CFD levels to a healthy control group.
Blood of 20 women undergoing IVF was collected at three time points during the IVF cycle. We assessed the relationship between CFD and telomere length as well as controlling for morning cortisol levels. We also collected blood of 10 healthy controls at two time points (luteal and follicular phases of the menstrual cycle) and compared mean telomere length, CFD, and cortisol levels between the IVF patients and healthy controls.
The results revealed an inverse relationship between CFD levels and telomere lengths at several time points that remained significant even after controlling for cortisol levels. Women undergoing IVF had statistically significant higher levels of CFD and shorter telomeres compared to healthy controls.
The relationship between telomere length and CFD should be further explored in larger studies in order to uncover potential mechanisms that cause both shortened telomere length and elevated CFD in women undergoing IVF.