IVI, COLLABORATOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EMBRYOSCOPE
IVI was the first clinic in the world to use this technique, and as a result it was the first centre to achieve the birth of a baby selected in this way. As the creator and partner, together with UNISENSE and LD Pensions, of Unisense FertiliTech, the company which manufactures and develops the Embryoscope, any improvements, advances and new developments made to the Embryoscope are implemented immediately and exclusively in our clinics.
ADVANTAGES OF THE EMBRYOSCOPE IN RELATION TO TRADITIONAL INCUBATORS
- It improves embryo selection by allowing us to see exactly when cell divisions occur. Thanks to this information we have been able to learn that there are optimum division periods in which embryos have more than a 20% probability of implanting.
- It improves embryo culture conditions and reduces handling of the embryo as it offers the chance to describe the morphological characteristics of embryos without the need for removing them from the optimum gas and temperature conditions inside the incubator. This reduces the environmental stress experienced by the embryo, which results in improved embryo competence and higher pregnancy rates.
- It gives the parents-to-be more information about the embryo and provides a film record of the medical beginning of their future baby’s life.
WHAT DOES EMBRYO SELECTION INVOLVE?
With the Embryoscope we can carry out a study of the kinetics of development. The relationship between the speed of cell division and embryo competence is becoming a valid alternative for selecting the embryos which have the best potential for implantation. We know that the time that elapses between fertilisation and the first cell division is a parameter which is objective and easy to determine, and that it has a predictive value in terms of embryo viability.
Traditionally, approximations for identifying the best embryos prior to transfer were essentially based on a morphological evaluation; obviously, these observations provided indications which supported the skill of the embryologist when it came to selecting an embryo for transfer.
The definition of what represents a "perfect embryo" and the choice of those with the best potential for implantation are still very imprecise concepts, and the ability (or lack of ability) to estimate embryo competence correctly has become a critical point of the process. As a result, the selection options and strategies used will depend on all of the information that we can find out about the embryo.
The morphological and growth criteria which are currently used for evaluating embryo viability on day 3 either underestimate or overestimate their potential for development. In light of the uncertainty associated with the morphological examination on day 3, some reproduction centres have opted for a longer cultivation period for evaluating embryo competence. While the morphological examination method has the advantage of being simple, non-invasive and quick, it has the disadvantage of being highly subjective and requiring specialised training and a certain degree of experience, and there is little hope for its standardisation.