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Process of Blastocyst Embryo Transfer

Posted Jan 01 2014 5:28am
Blastocyst transfer is a new assisted reproductive technology that has been incorporated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to increase pregnancy rates while simultaneously decreasing the risk of multiple pregnancies. In vitro fertilisation usually involves the transfer of embryos two to three days after they have been successfully fertilised. Blastocyst embryo transfer (BET) is a variation of IVF in which an embryo is allowed to develop for five to six days, by which time it has become a ball of about 120 cells known as a blastocyst. BET helps reduce the incidence of multiple gestation pregnancies by transferring fewer embryos.

Blastocyst culture

Until recently, successfully culturing embryos to the blastocyst stage was difficult. Initially only 17% of embryos reached the blastocyst stage and pregnancy rates using blastocysts were only 10%. Scientific advances have led to the development of culture media that mimic the changing environment of the reproductive tract and meet the unique requirements of the embryo as it travels from the fallopian tubes. This now allows up to 60% of embryos to successfully grow to the blastocyst stage in the laboratory environment.  During the additional two days of in vitro culture (day 3 to 5), the embryologists have an opportunity to observe embryonic development and to select those embryos which appear to have the best potential for continued growth and implantation.

What is the procedure involved into Blastocyst embryo transfer?

During IVF treatment with blastocyst transfer, unfertilized eggs (oocytes) are retrieved from the ovary. They are then fertilized in an IVF laboratory setting, creating an embryo. Instead of being transferred to the uterus after three days, which is the case during traditional IVF treatment, the embryos are allowed to progress to the blastocyst stage over a period of five to six days. During unassisted fertilization, the embryo must reach the blastocyst stage in order to attach to the uterine wall.  
Because, during blastocyst transfer IVF, the embryos are implanted in the uterus during this same stage of development, some consider this to be a more natural implantation method. Blastocyst transfer mimics natural conception in which the embryo travels down the fallopian tube and reaches the uterine cavity five days after fertilisation. This synchronises the development of the embryo and the lining of the womb to increase the chance of implantation. Only healthy embryos are selected for transfer.

For whom is Blastocyst Embryo Transfer Recommended?

Blastocyst transfer is not suitable for everyone. It is a laboratory selection process to identify the best embryo. Couples who have had unsuccessful prior attempts with IVF or IVF and ICSI treatment despite having many good quality eggs retrieved are being offered Blastocyst Culture as an alternative treatment. Couples with multiple good quality embryos on day 3 are also good candidates for Blastocyst Culture. The ability to select the most viable embryos for transfer and implantation should improve their chance of achieving a pregnancy.

What are the advantages of blastocyst transfer?

Blastocysts embryos are selected group of embryos with a higher chance of implantation. Hence it is possible to transfer only one or two embryos in order to achieve the same or higher pregnancy rates we would expect from transferring three, four, or more three day old embryos. This reduces the probability of triplets, and all but eliminates the chance of a quadruplet pregnancy. Because a blastocyst transfer is more likely to implant, there is still a high likelihood of a twin pregnancy being established when two blastocysts are transferred. Another advantage of developing all embryos to the blastocyst stage is that it makes embryo cryopreservation (freezing) more efficient, since embryos without the capacity for full development are not frozen. Blastocyst transfer also allows the option of single embryo transfer.

What are the disadvantages of blastocyst transfer?

As stated above, it is more difficult for an embryo to develop into a blastocyst. Therefore, there is the possibility that an IVF cycle will not result in a transfer of any embryos if none of the three day old embryos develop into blastocysts. The other disadvantage of the procedure has to do with cryopreserving the remaining embryos.  Blastocysts cannot survive the freezing and thawing process as well as day 3 embryos do, and you might end up losing most or all of the embryos in the process.

Risks of IVF blastocyst transfer

The primary risk of attempting blastocyst transfer is that some embryos will die in the laboratory. Therefore, the total number of embryos available for transfer and freezing will be less. Unfortunately, some couples undergoing blastocyst ivf treatment will have all their embryos die in the laboratory and will not have any embryos available for transfer.

Blastocyst transfer probably offers more value to couples with a larger number of embryos at least 8. If the starting number of embryos is low, then the chance of having no embryos for transfer is much higher. Although blastocyst embryo transfer increases your chance of getting pregnant, it also increases the risk of multiple births. Studies have shown that the chances of giving birth to twins from two blastocyst embryos are higher than from two day 3 embryos. You can always choose to have a single embryo transferred, but remember that there is a 50 percent chance that it will not implant. As with transfers done at earlier stages, blastocyst transfer does not guarantee a normal pregnancy. It is expected that some pregnancies will miscarry and some babies will develop birth defects similar to that which occurs in couples that are able to achieve pregnancy naturally. Excess blastocysts may be frozen and some of them will not survive the freeze-thaw process when utilized for a later attempt at achieving pregnancy.
 
To learn more about Blastocyst Embryo Transfer, contact a fertility specialist at Rotunda Fertility Center of Mumbai at +91 22 27830100 to schedule an appointment. With advancement in today’s reproductive technology, it has become possible for the infertile couples to attain parenthood with the help of IVF, ICSI, IUI, IMSI, Surrogacy and other available fertility treatments.

The Rotunda – The Center For Human Reproduction is an infertility clinic based in Mumbai, India providing the most comprehensive, cutting-edge fertility services. We assist couples and individuals in experiencing the joy of parenthood, by providing the entire range of fertility services on-site, including artificial insemination, injectable gonadotropins, in vitro fertilization treatment. They have a successful minimal stimulation IVF for poor ovarian reserve patients, egg freezing, egg donor program, fertility preservation and surrogacy.
 
The team of IVF doctors at Rotunda clinic constantly strives to improve IVF success rates with blastocyst in India through the steady refinements of clinical and laboratory techniques. Clinical blastocyst culture and transfer is an important step in ivf procedure of blastocyst transfer. For any information on ivf blastocyst process, blastocyst ivf treatment, ivf procedure of blastocyst transfer, blastocyst transfer Mumbai, blastocyst ivf treatment India, ivf blastocyst Mumbai or blastocyst ivf treatment you can contact fertility doctors at Rotunda. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.iwannagetpregnant.com/ or at http://www.rotundaivf.in/blastocystembryotransfer.html
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