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Texas Parents Can Now Monitor Their Embryo’s Development in IVF Lab, Increasing Birth Success

By Frisco Institute For Reproductive Medicine

Frisco fertility clinic is first in Texas to use the EmbryoScope for real-time video of embryonic growth, amazing one new mom with the images

FRISCO, Texas (March 22, 2017) –A new technology that allows embryologists to watch embryo development in real-time is proving successful for couples using in vitro fertilization (IVF) at Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine (FIRM).

“When they went to implant the embryo in me, they had him up on the screen and you could see the embryo moving and growing right before your eyes,” said Candace Storey, a new mother and IVF patient of FIRM. “It ended up being a very special moment.”

EmbryoScope® is a special incubator equipped with a built-in microscope, allowing for continuous time-lapse photography of embryos. FIRM embryologists use this technology to observe embryos continuously during development, which wasn’t possible before, enabling them to identify potential problems that may cause pregnancy failure.

Time-lapse technology allows scientists like FIRM Scientific Director Dr. Marius Meintjes to remotely and continuously check in on the health of a developing embryo. This now can be done from the comfort of home or the office, without ever interrupting the embryo’s sensitive culture environment.

“Depending on a number of specific observations and time measurements, we are able to increase the chances of a single, healthy pregnancy by identifying likely abnormal embryos that should not be cryopreserved or transferred,” said Meintjes. “Through the deselection of abnormal embryos with the EmbryoScope, we believe our program will be able to significantly reduce miscarriages and increase live births.”

Meintjes said that his team is now using this technology for the majority of IVF patients. These also include patients who opt for preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which relies on an optimum timing of embryo-cell sampling for chromosomal analyses.

“With a continued focus on transferring just one healthy embryo, we are able to reduce the incidence of multiple births, which are dangerous to both the prospective mother and frequent prematurely born babies,” said Meintjes, who points out another benefit. “Instead of receiving a still picture of their embryo (only a snapshot in time), our patients are now able to observe the real-time development of their embryos by the minute and take home a video of their embryo’s development, covering the first six days of life.”

“With EmbryoScope,” said Storey of her baby boy’s embryonic existence, “I was able to track our embryo’s development a lot earlier, and it made me feel better about the whole process and situation. This gave us the best chance at having the baby.”

Prior to utilizing the EmbryoScope, FIRM’s embryologists followed normal embryo monitoring procedures after IVF. That typically involved culturing embryos in a conventional incubator for five days. Embryos were moved from the incubator to the microscope daily (sometimes more often) for evaluation and then back in the incubator, which disturbed the sensitive culture environment, requiring up to one hour for full recovery per opening.

The continuous disruption of the culture environment and unnecessary handling of the embryos will expose them to airborne toxins, UV light, changes in acidity and temperature, and human error. EmbryoScope bypasses these issues through all but eliminating the need for physical handling and moving of embryos.

Besides being the first in Texas to introduce time-lapse technology as a standard IVF treatment, FIRM is just one of a few select clinics in the nation to routinely use the EmbryoScope.

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About Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine

High pregnancy success rates rely on advanced technologies in IVF, ICSI and PGD. Our world-class IVF laboratory and reproductive surgery center at Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine provide patients with a diagnosis of infertility the best opportunity to start a family. We serve Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We believe that to be leaders in Texas IVF, infertility treatments should be no more complex or expensive than necessary to achieve the dream of a baby.