EmbryoScope Time-lapse system identifies abnormal development events in embryos

Which embryos have the best opportunity to develop into a viable pregnancy? A new technology provides a surprising answer.

A major challenge in the field of IVF is selecting the single best embryo which is likely to result in a live birth. Currently, embryologists must remove the embryo from a standard incubator to perform 2 or 3 short evaluations of the developing embryo under the microscope, at fixed time-points over 3-5 days, in order to assess embryo quality prior to transferring an embryo to the patient. 

The EmbryoScope® Time-lapse system generates a movie allowing embryologists to monitor various characteristics of the embryo development over the entire incubation period, while maintaining optimum incubation conditions in a state-of-the-art incubator.

According to breakthrough scientific results, embryos which exhibit irregular division patterns have a much lower pregnancy potential. The results were made available online on August 27 in the journal Fertility & Sterility, and confirms the benefits of implementing the EmbryoScope® Time-lapse system from the Danish company Unisense FertiliTech A/S.

A clinical multi-center study from Equipo IVI, Spain, Maigaard clinic and Brædstrup Hospital in Denmark, including a total of 5225 embryos, reports significantly reduced implantation of embryos which have a second division cycle occurring in less than 5 hours (considered direct cleavage), compared  to the implantation probability of "normally" developing embryos. The embryos with a short second division cycle will simply not have enough time for DNA replication, which is a prerequisite for a normal cell division.

Nearly 14% of all examined embryos exhibited this division pattern and according to the study will have a greatly reduced probability of resulting in a viable pregnancy. For both patients and fertility clinics it is important to decrease transfer of embryos with low very low implantation potential. With this new technology, clinics now have objective criteria with which to identify the embryo with a higher chance of implanting allowing more successful single embryo transfer cycles.

Marcos Meseguer, co-author of the paper and senior embryologist at Equipo IVI in Valencia, states "The ability to identify abnormal development events in embryos is certainly a key advantage of using time-lapse systems such as the Embryoscope® allowing us to improve our patient treatment".

The improvement potential of implementing time-lapse systems is increasing constantly as scientists discover new information about early human embryo development and more than 180 IVF clinics are using the Embryoscope® technology worldwide.

Source: Fertility & Sterility

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