This technique relies on culturing the embryos for extra days and identifying the ones that reach the developmental milestone of a blastocyst. While this process does result in a higher pregnancy rate for that cycle, many embryos do not grow well in the culture system and so these are usually discarded rather than be frozen. These embryos may have developed better in the body, so losing the chance to implant these embryos in future cycles means that the overall cumulative pregnancy rate per oocyte (egg) collection will not have improved.
The videoing of embryos in a specialised incubator has revolutionised the way that embryologists view embryos. No longer limited to snap-shots taken once or twice a day, images can be taken every 10 minutes. Those embryos that have good morphology and division patterns are then selected, and have a much improved rate of implantation, while abnormal patterns of division can be used to deselect embryos.
At Fertility North, this technology is utilised by our state of the art time-lapse system, the EmbryoScope®. This is the Rolls Royce of incubators, and is combined with a time-lapse video camera that allows for the uninterrupted culture of embryos whilst still taking images at 10-minute intervals through seven planes of focus. Special Leica optics designed for red light at 635nm are used to eliminate exposure of the embryos to high-energy light.
This system allows for the selection of the embryos with the highest implantation probability without the need for an extended culture, eliminating the possible downsides of that method of embryo selection.
The availability of both strategies of embryo culture and selection at Fertility north, rather than the clinic simply believing in one or the other, allows the treatment of patients to be tailored to their needs taking in to account both the medical history and the patient’s wishes.