Sparsha Infertility Centre | Blastocyst Culture and Transfer

Blastocyst Culture and Transfer

Before discussing the culture and transfer process, we should first understand what the blastocyst is. To put it simply, it is a human embryo once 5 - 7 days have passed. This method for IVF maximizes pregnancy chances while substantially reducing the risk.

This method cultures and develops the embryo for 5 days or so, before it is transferred to the uterus, and thus this has grown to be a preferred method of treatment for many couples.

Advantages of Blastocyst Culture

  • Since the natural process of self-selection for an embryo to become a blastocyst, and they are further cultured with utmost care only the ablest ones are selected to be used for the transfer, thus ensuring a higher chance of success.
  • A high degree of conditions are required to be met for growing a blastocyst, thus 45% of fertilized eggs are able to reach the blastocyst stage.
  • Some couples require specialized care and even screening for PGS and PGD. In these cases, an embryo biopsy is performed right at the blastocyst stage rather than at the conventional day 2 or 3 embryo.
  • Blastocyst is overall a much more physiological process. This is owed to the fact that even in a natural pregnancy cycle, a five-day window is required for the fertilization to reach the womb and for the implantation to be a success.

Who Can Benefit from Blastocyst Culture?

Blastocyst culture is advised for:

  • To eliminate multiple pregnancies: Since this process hones the powers of transferring only the single best embryo this significantly reduces the chance and risk encumbering for multiple pregnancies.
  • For patients with multiple failed IVF: Should a blastocyst culture be done on patients who have suffered from a failed IVF attempt for a day ⅔ embryo, more pertinent information can be gained related to the growth and other trouble-causing factors and this, in turn, could aid in improving pregnancy rates.

What is the quantifiable success rates that can be achieved from blastocyst transfer?

Rates have been checked to rise considerably after a blastocyst transfer. Should we compare the same to early development stages the chances increase by somewhere around 7 per cent or so. However, these values cannot be assigned to all classes and thus we should also check up on the age bracket under which the woman falls. If the age is below 30, chances increase by around 45-50% while for those falling under 40 but more than 30, these chances would drop to 35-40%.
There are more factors that are also to be considered and they vary from woman to woman. Should there be low egg count and quality and 3-day transfer might end up benefiting more. However, the most ideal approach in these conditions for the highest success chances is to make the process as personalized and tailor-made as possible.

Let’s delve deeper into the stages of development for the same:

  • In the medical world, the day when the egg is retrieved is known as day 0. The process of IVF or ICSI is followed through after this has been done.
  • On the next day - Day 1, when in the pronuclear stage the embryologist checks upon how many eggs are there which have been successfully fertilized.
  • Following this, the cell development stages are witnessed. Cell stage 2 - 4 is witnessed on Day 2.
  • The cell reaches stage 8 on Day 3.
  • The morula stage is witnessed on Day 4.
  • Finally, the blastocyst stage is witnessed on Day 5 - 6.
History dictates that embryo transfer should be done after 2 - 3 days however as we developed in the medical sciences we can now culture the same for 5 - 6 days giving the embryo adequate time to develop and grow and attain its full potential. The natural process of development puts the embryo in an ‘arrest’ position once the time has lapsed and it cannot grow past that. This self filtration process also ensures that the best embryos are only transferred to the uterus when required.

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