The EmbryoScope is a specialized incubator in our in vitro fertilization (IVF) laboratory at the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine that is equipped with a camera and microscope to take photos of embryos every 10 minutes. The photos are combined to form a time-lapse video of the embryo’s development that can be viewed on a monitor in our laboratory. Fertility scientists are always trying to improve IVF success rates, and the EmbryoScope is one of the latest advances in that area. Developed by Unisense Fertilitech, the EmbryoScope was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011. FIRM was the first fertility clinic in Texas to offer this technology.
One of the biggest challenges in fertility medicine and IVF is choosing which embryo or embryos to transfer to the female patient. Embryo selection is based on which embryos have the best probability of implanting and creating a viable pregnancy. Traditionally, embryologists must remove the embryos from their warm, dark incubators about once a day during the first 3 – 5 days after fertilization to assess and grade the quality of the embryo’s development. By viewing the embryo at these static time intervals, key time-points of cell division may be missed. This is not the case with the EmbryoScope as it eliminates the need for embryologists to disturb the embryos to assess the cell division process.
Physicians conducting IVF attempt to reduce the incidence of multiples in pregnancy (twins or more) because of the health risks to mother and child. One of the best ways to do that is by transferring only one embryo for a pregnancy. This is called elective single-embryo transfer, and its practice by fertility clinics is a stated goal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The EmbryoScope is a new screening tool designed to increase the transfer of a single embryo whenever possible.
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"The best - Dr. Mehta and staff are the greatest. I have been to a few other doctors around collin county who made me feel as if I do not matter and gave me false hope. The other doctors would not take the time to explain anything to me, and 99% of my visits were with a nurse not the doctor. My sono's and IUI the nurses did, not a MD. We were starting to give up on having a child, then my friend told me about Dr. Mehta. My husband and I made an appointment and it was one of the best decision of my life. She really took her time with us and she did all the sono's and IUI herself, that alone showed me she really cares. I never left the office feeling like i was just another patient, I felt like I was the only patient. I am now 7 months pregnant and I owe it all to Dr. Mehta, she really cares about her patients not money like the other doctor's. Our life will soon be complete all because of Dr. Mehta."- Anonymous / Vitals / Jul 12, 2013
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The EmbryoScope has a time-lapse camera system attached to a microscope that monitors the cell division of each embryo while the embryos are still in the incubator, taking enlarged photos of each embryo every 10 minutes. The EmbryoScope’s EmbryoViewer software then uses the images to create a time-lapse video of the embryo’s development.
The time-lapse cameras’ feed is displayed on a monitor so that the embryologist can record the cell division of each embryo. This video allows embryologists to determine certain time-points in the embryo’s development within three minutes of accuracy. The IVF lab can use that information to determine which embryos have the best chance for implantation and pregnancy.
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There are specific events, or cell divisions, that should happen by certain points in the embryo’s development. For example, an embryo with a high probability for success should be 2 – 4 cells at 48 hours after fertilization and about 7 – 10 cells by 72 hours after fertilization.
The time-points of cell division allow the embryologists to choose the embryos that have the best chance for implantation, which equates to a greater chance of the mother delivering a healthy baby. This can be extremely helpful for patients who have many embryos to choose from after IVF.
The EmbryoScope improves IVF success rates by eliminating embryos’ exposure to impurities in the air. It also provides continuous, real-time knowledge of embryo cell division patterns that can increase implantation success. In addition, embryologists use the time-lapse videos to determine the highest quality embryos for transfer to the woman’s womb.
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Now instead of getting just a snapshot of embryo development once every second day, a continuous video of embryo development can be observed, without even opening the incubator a single time. Furthermore, patients can be provided with a dynamic video of their embryos’ development from fertilization all the way to the time of embryo transfer, rather than just having a one-time static picture. FIRM is committed to using innovative technology to ensure that our patients have the very best opportunity for success with fertility treatments. Make an appointment with us to learn more about EmbryoScope and your chances for IVF success.