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Embryo monitoring

Our clinic offers a facility enabling the semicontinual monitoring of the development of cultivated embryos as part of in vitro fertilisation. This facility is essentially a standard incubator, which is critical for the in vitro development of embryos as it meets all the requirements for the optimal environment for embryo development. What’s more, this incubator is also equipped with an embedded camera designed for the automatic recording of images.

 

How does the facility work?

Every egg and resulting embryo is cultivated individually in very small containers. The camera captures an image of each embryo always in intervals of approximately 20 minutes. Individual images are chronologically ordered by a computer programme which enables them to be replayed in rapid succession, thereby providing a view of events in the given container from the beginning through the end of the recording.

What is it for?

The recorded video sequence serves the embryologist by defining the dynamics of development and catching any potential disruption of the division of the individual cells of the embryo. This information, which cannot be observed without monitoring development, are analysed along with the standard characteristics for embryo quality and on the basis of this entire set of information the highest quality embryo/embryos are selected for embryo transfer.

What are the benefits of monitoring?

More information about the development of the embryo allows better definition of the embryo’s development potential, thereby reducing the number of embryos transferred without reducing the success rate of the overall treatment, or increasing the success rate of the treatment in areas where the treatment had not thus far been successful, even though the quality of the embryos obtained was always evaluated positively.

 

 

What are the risks of monitoring?

There are no risks associated with monitoring. The facility operates in the same manner as the standard incubator that is always used for the cultivation of embryos. The camera captures embryos in red light for a very short period of time – 15 ms. Embryos thus are not exposed to an excessive amount of light. What’s more, the observation of embryos is conducted indirectly (on the basis of images captured) and it is therefore not necessary to interrupt the cultivation of embryos under optimal conditions in order to evaluate the course of embryo development.

What can I see in the video?

Embryos are recorded every 20 minutes. Nonetheless, the visible signs of the individual processes taking place within the egg or embryo cover various long, multi-hour intervals. It is therefore typical that the recording varies between long segments with no change and segments where multiple changes may occur at one. The exact interpretation of these events is nonetheless very complicated for the lay public as it involves complex data requiring analysis. The specialist staff of the laboratory is available by telephone for the clarification of basic events captured in the recording. However, given the complexity of the overall process of embryo development, it is not possible to provide a detailed description of the events observed.

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