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

Time-lapse embryo imaging may increase IVF success rates up to 56%

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.

Would you ask for time-lapse imaging to increase your

pregnancy chances through IVF?

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Embryo transfer media compounds boost IVF success rates

Current research suggests that specific compounds, called adherence compounds, when added into embryo transfer culture media boost IVF success rates.

Embryo transfer media compounds

Hyaluronic acid (HA), an adherence compound, can boost IVF success rates

Assisted reproductive technologies are generally considered to be successful medical procedures, but not successful enough. Couples diagnosed with infertility are commonly given an IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or ICSI (intracytoplasmisc injection) treatment. These treatments are the most successful forms of infertility treatments in IVF clinics and have similar success rates, however not successful enough given the increased demand for test-tube babies.

A great body of research is focused on studying how to boost IVF success rates while minimizing any adverse effects like multiple pregnancies. Part of this research has studied the effects of the addition of adherence compounds into the embryo transfer culture media.

Currently a scientific review analyzing 16 randomized studies on the above objective has reported that hyaluronic acid (HA), an adherence compound, can boost IVF success rates. Researchers compared embryo transfer media with different concentrations of the hyaluronic acid including high, low and no HA. As for the outcome most studies conducted their research by measuring live birth rates, pregnancy chances, implantation rates and multiple pregnancy rates. The women that took part in the studies aged 27.5-35.7 in average.

According to the review results hyaluronic acid increased IVF success rates in terms of live birth and pregnancy chances when added in the culture medium used for embryo transfer (450 vs 367). Fertility experts think that adherent compounds may actually increase the embryo potential for adhering to the uterus.

On the other hand, it was also found that the addition of the adherent compound increased chances of multiple pregnancies. Researchers argue that this result is probably linked to the number of embryos transferred by fertility doctors which quite often exceeds the 2 embryos. Thus, in such cases where more than one embryo is transferred into the womb, an adherent compound by promoting successful implantation could increase risk of a multiple pregnancy. Complementary studies investigating the outcome of using these enhanced transfer media for only single embryo transfer are necessary for optimizing these compounds’ contribution to a successful IVF outcome.

Would you risk a multiple pregnancy if it was to boost your pregnancy chances? We would be happy to receive your feedback.

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