Time-lapse embryo imaging may increase IVF success
Time-lapse embryo imaging in IVF labs may increase IVF success rates, according to British research, by selecting embryos with the highest implantation potential.
But what is time-lapsing imaging and what is the innovation of it that outbalances other methods for embryo selection?
Time-lapse embryo imaging refers to constant recording of embryos developing in the stable environment of an incubator up to the point of embryo transfer. The embryo is monitored and surveyed in IVF clinics constantly under a temperature – controlled environment without removing it from it.
The innovation of the method lies in time-lapse photography, where a camera is set in the incubator, where the embryos are placed to grow, to record a number of images at regular intervals. With this method IVF specialists can be given the information needed for selecting the best quality embryos in terms of morphology and cell dividing rate for increasing chances of successful implantation. And the key point of the method is that this is possible to happen all the way through the embryos’ development, without them leaving the incubator until they are implanted in contrast to conventional methods; allowing roughly 5,000 embryo images to be taken.
According to the researchers in Reproductive BioMedicine Online journal, from Care fertility group, preliminary data concerning the methods efficiency are quite encouraging. The researchers in this study used the information provided from time-lapse embryo imaging to classify the embryos as high, medium or low chance of aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities). Such DNA abnormalities can increase the risk of failed implantation reducing pregnancy chances.
Researchers reported that time-lapse embryo imaging may increase IVF success rates up to 56%. In further detail, they found that from a total of 88 embryos imaged and implanted there was no live birth from the high risk group compared to 5 (19% success rate) and 11 babies (61% success rate) born from the medium and low risk groups respectively.
Some scientists argue that the small number of couples participated in this study is not enough for making the method a routine clinical tool. However, the concept of it along with preliminary data provided definitely make it a strong candidate for replacing previous standard IVF methods for embryo selection, where embryos have to be removed from the incubator once a day to be checked under a microscope, which is likely to negatively affect their healthy development.