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Blastocyst transfer in in vitro fertilisation (IVF)

Posted Dec 18 2010 4:44pm
An embryo would be expected to become a blastocyst on day 5 after egg collection. 

When an egg gets fertilised by the sperm it starts to divide into two cells, then four cells etc...  On day five it will hopefully have become a blastocyst which is a ball of cells, consisting of an outer layer which will become the placenta, and some inner cells which will become the fetus.  If you had become pregnant naturally this would be happening around the time the embryo reached the end of the fallopian tubes and was entering the uterus.

When doing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), the benefit of letting the embryos grow to blastocyst in the laboratory before transferring them to the uterus, is that it enables better selection of the best embryos.  If an embryo has made it to this stage, then it has already survived many obstacles, so the chances of it resulting in a viable pregnancy are higher.
If you have a blastocyst transferred as part of your IVF there is a strong chance of becoming pregnant.  HFEA website currently quotes 58% chance for someone of my age (<35 years).
For some people it isn’t appropriate to try and do a blastocyst transfer, as the risk of the embryos not surviving to the blastocyst stage is too high.  In these cases, embryos may be transferred on day 2 or 3.

Further information:
HFEA information about blastocyst transfer
CRGH page on blastocyst transfer
This webpage has a picture of a blastocyst

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