When embryo becomes 5 to 6 days old it reaches a stage of development which is called “ BLASTOCYSTI ”. In natural conception, sperm and egg meet each other and fertilization takes place in fallopian tubes. The embryo grows in fallopian tube for 4 to 5 days and slowly moves towards the uterus. An embryo reaches uterus – endometrium after 5 to 6 days of fertilization at blastocyst stage.
In conventional IVF + ICSI treatment the embryos are transferred back in to the uterus after 2 to 3 days of fertilization. Embryos at this stage have 8 to 4 cells ( blastomeres ). At this stage the embryo is called, 4 cell embryo, 6 cell embryo etcdepending on the number of blastomeres it has. These embryos also implant successfully and give good pregnancy rate.
We know that all embryos which look good at 4 to 8 cell stage are not really good in terms of developing further. If we culture them for more days, a few of them may develop further and reach blastocyst stage successfully but a few of them stop developing at various stages in between. It is impossible to know which embryos will reach the blastocyst stage.
We know that only a few and not all of the transferred embryos can develop further and result in to pregnancies.
To compensate for this “stopped development” of a few embryos, we transfer more embryos at 4 to 8 cell stage to achieve better pregnancy rate.
When we transfer more embryos chance of pregnancy increases but at the same time there is a significant increase in chance of having multiple pregnancies including higher order multiple pregnancies i.e. triplets (3 foetuses) quadruplets (four foetuses), quintuplets (five fetuses).
If we can select the embryos, which can give best chances of pregnancy, we can transfer less number of embryos and still get better pregnancy chance. We can reduce the chance of twins pregnancy significantly and eliminate the risk of higher order multiple pregnancy completely.
If we culture (develop) the embryos outside up to day 5, only good embryos will develop till “BLASTOCYST” stage. We can select and transfer one or two blastocysts and still achieve a very good pregnancy rate.
- There is no change in routine IVF treatment of the couple.
- If more embryos are formed, the couple can opt for blastocyst culture - transfer.
- The embryos are cultured for 5 days in special medium and highly specialized conditions, which take care of all the needs of rapidly developing embryos.
- Daily watch is kept on embryo development.
- On day 5 blastocysts are graded – Evaluated
- Selected blastocysts are transferred.
If we have additional blastocysts, they can be frozen for future use.
Advantages of blastocyst culture
- Blastocyst culture gives significantly higher pregnancy rate compared to conventional IVF
- Risk of multiple pregnancy is significantly lower
- No risk of “higher order multiple pregnancies.”
- Good blastocyst development reassures best embryo development technique and conditions in IVF lab.
- If embryos develop as blastcysts, it reassures good embryo quality.
- Blastocyst culture can be done only if adequate number of embryos are available.
- Some embryos, which can give pregnancy but do not develop till blastocyst in outside the body culture may be lost. We have to carefully watch embryo development daily to avoid this loss.
- Additional time and cost.
- Highly skilled team and excellent culture media and equipments.
At “BAVISHI FERTILITY INSTITUTE” ‘ Blastocyst culture’ option is offered to eligible couples since long, with improved chance of conceiving.