Commercially obtained Buffalo rat liver (BRL) cells were grown in monolayer culture. The effect of BRL cell co-culture with assisted hatching on embryo development, implantation and pregnancy was investigated in a population of 200 'first-time' in-vitro fertilization (IVF) patients, subdivided into three groups according to the methods of fertilization [IVF; intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); ICSI/IVF]. Assisted hatching was performed on all embryos chosen for transfer. Following co-culture, the overall embryo quality, implantation rate and pregnancy rates were not significantly different from the controls. However, when grouped according to fertilization method, co-culture was found to have an impact on pregnancy and implantation rates in the group undergoing conventional IVF. Using co-culture with assisted hatching, we were able to achieve a 58% (38/65) clinical pregnancy rate with a 49% (32/65) live birth rate and a 26% (60/235) implantation rate. No changes in the pregnancy and implantation rates were apparent in ICSI or ICSI/IVF subgroups. This is the first prospective, randomly controlled study which reports the use of BRL cell co-culture for human IVF for a large number of patients undergoing IVF for the first time.