An Up-Close and Personal View of the Secret Life of Embryos
“I want to do everything possible within my control to ensure that
every step of the IVF process is done right.”
-Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu-
Every process counts
When a couple is faced with the option of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), it is likely that all other significant measures to conceive have failed. In such an instance, I want to do everything possible within my control to ensure that every step of the IVF process is done right.
The Time-lapse Incubator is a less talked about advancement in IVF but to me personally, the value of this technology is immense as it is obvious. To understand its role, it is important to know where in the IVF process the Time-lapse Incubator lends its pertinence.
During IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilised outside the uterus. The fertilised eggs, now embryos, are placed in a substance that supports their growth. The embryos are subsequently placed in an incubator under a carefully controlled environment.
At regular intervals, the incubator is opened and an embryologist monitors the embryos’ morphology. He or she checks the number of cells and if they are dividing appropriately as well as monitors other significant markers. However, there is a predicament.
On the one hand, we want to observe as much as possible the developing embryos to be able to select the best to transfer or deselect those with a lower implantation potential. On the other hand, each time the incubator is opened, the highly controlled environment the embryo is in is disturbed. This is a conundrum that the time-lapse technology effectively addresses.
Observing safely to increase selection success
The use of time-lapse technology in an IVF lab allows embryos to remain in the incubator while a camera continuously takes images of their development. The images are put together into a film and the embryos can now be consistently observed minus the stress of handling.
Time-lapse technology enables the documenting of events which may otherwise be missed in traditional observation such as the dynamic morphology of embryo development, its patterns and morphokinetics. These events tell us a lot about the developmental potential of an embryo.
The information gained from using time-lapse technology guides us in selecting embryos that are developing normally and in determining the optimum time for transfer within the five-day observation period, thus increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Strides for better IVF success rates
The success of an IVF procedure is never guaranteed, as with any other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) interventions. However, the IVF process is made up of several procedures and experience has shown me that the compounded success of each process positively contributes to eventual success.
The Time-Lapse Incubator is part of the IVF process that I prescribe for patients under my care and it has been instrumental in empowering decisions that have brought couples closer to their hope of building a family.
This blog is intended for educational purposes only. All contents here is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consult with your health care professional to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.