Time-lapse microscopy represents one of the latest advances in Assisted Reproduction Technologies. This technology will provide data which can help to assess embryo development and implantation potential in IVF treatment. Time-lapse embryo monitoring allows continuous, non-invasive embryo observation 24 hours per day.
Special microscopic lenses are incorporated in the incubators. The embryos are placed in specific places in the incubators which are connected with these lenses and it is not necessary to move them outside of the incubator for monitoring as the observation of their development is done with external monitors. It is as if a microscope was placed in the incubator in order to observe each embryo developing 24 hours a day.
Their use has no negative effect on embryonic development, since embryos are not affected by their presence. On the contrary, there are many significant advantages, such as:
> The embryos are not exposed to external lab conditions. Therefore, there is continuous culture and incubation achieving the highest standards of quality for the developing embryos.
> It is even more important that there is constant and continuous recording that allows us to know important details of the cell development like for example;
> the exact time between cell divisions (meaning how many hours after fertilization each embryo was at 2 cells, 3 cells, etc.).
> how much time was needed to complete each cell division.
> if each cell was divided properly, as well as other very important details that complete the puzzle of each embryo.
It is important to state that it was impossible to record such details through the traditional process of embryo scoring. These details were secrets unrevealed to the embryologist. The latest scientific data correlate these secrets with embryonic viability, development and implantation potential and provide answers in questions that we always had such as, why embryos with good morphology didn’t always establish a pregnancy.
Each detail is also analyzed, apart from recording, with the aid of specially designed software. This recording enables the most accurate selection of top quality embryos for embryo transfer so as to increase pregnancy rates.