What is a blastocyst?
In humans, when a woman ovulates, her egg is sucked into the fallopian tube. During coitus, millions of sperm are deposited in the vagina and swim their way towards the egg along the uterine cavity and the fallopian tubes. Fertilization then happens when a sperm penetrates and fuses with the egg to form an embryo. The embryo then takes 5 days to travel along the tube towards the uterus to implant. During this journey, the embryo undergoes different stages of development to reach the blastocyst stage prior to implantation.
A beautiful looking blastocyst ready for transfer
Early human embryo development
Why transfer at the blastocyst stage?
A blastocyst has a higher potential to implant than cleavage-stage embryos (2 to 3 days after fertilization). In Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore, your embryos are grown to the blastocyst stage in a time-lapsed incubator incorporated with IVY, an Artificial Intelligence developed by Virtus Health. Your embryos will be evaluated and scored by IVY. The blastocyst with the highest score will be selected for transfer to give the best chance for pregnancy.
Advantages of Embryo Culture
Embryo Culture (blastocyst transfer) is most suited if you have more than a few eggs fertilised in a single stimulated IVF cycle, as it allows selection of the best embryo for transfer. Overall benefits include:
- Reduced time to pregnancy: the culture system results in fewer disturbances to the embryo and therefore embryo development is likely to be improved.
- Blastocysts are frozen by vitrification, an ultra-rapid freezing method, and stored for subsequent frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles. FET is now an established clinical treatment with excellent results on embryo survival after warming (≥ 95%) and subsequent pregnancy rates.
Growing embryos to the blastocyst stage helps to identify which embryos may be stronger than others that have good potential to generate a pregnancy. Not all embryos will continue to develop in the laboratory until the blastocyst stage, and this means that there may be a limited number of embryos available for treatment.
To find out about Extended Embryo Culture at Virtus Fertility Centre please call us on +65 6460 4555 or complete the form below.