January 31, 2019 By Dr Gouri Sultane Gupta
Step-By-Step: A Look At the Time Lapse Embryo Monitoring Process
Time-lapse embryo monitoring is a golden tool that captures the sequential progress of harvested embryos, guiding embryologists to pick the best ones for transfer to the uterus.
If you’re considering in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as an option, it’s worth learning about time-lapse embryo monitoring and how it can help you.
What Is Time Lapse Embryo Monitoring?
Ever wondered about the science behind picking an embryo for IVF? Say hello to time-lapse embryo monitoring (TLEM).
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TLEM is an advanced monitoring system that captures digital images of embryos at identical, predetermined intervals. The system allows embryologists to track the development of embryos, to determine the best-quality ones for transfer to the uterus. With TLEM, embryologists can follow an embryo’s journey in remarkable detail, without having to extract it from the incubator. In turn, the consistent, controlled environment can augment an embryo’s chances of survival.
What Are the Steps of Time Lapse Embryo Monitoring?
TLEM is typically composed of two steps; embryo culture and Primo Vision monitoring. Each of these is highlighted below.
Step 1. Embryo Culture
To begin with, available embryos are cultured in microwell dishes. Each is seeded in a separate well, and immersed in a bubble of culture medium. Next, the dishes are moved to a temperature-controlled incubator for embryo culture and monitoring. The microwell technique offers an experience likened to a group culture while treating each embryo to an individually optimised growth environment.
Step 2. Primo Vision Monitoring
Primo Vision pertains to a state-of-the-art imaging technique enabled by a lightweight, digital microscope attached to the inside of an incubator. The microscope emits a soft, green light inside the incubator, taking digital snapshots of each embryo at predetermined intervals. These images are referred to your embryologist, who will then use them to evaluate the embryos best suited for transfer to the uterus.
Time-lapse embryo monitoring can be a priceless tool for embryo monitoring and imaging, allowing embryologists a precious keyhole to your developing embryos. If you do decide on IVF treatment, it’s worth asking your fertility clinic whether TLEM is part of their assisted reproductive technology suite. By filtering your options by superlative technology, you can give yourself the best chances of growing your family.
As an example, about 20% of embryos do not follow a normal cleave pattern, i.e. goes through direct cleavage. When performing traditional morphological embryo assessment these events are most often missed. Since multinucleated embryos, fragmented embryos and embryos with abnormal cleavage patterns have a lower implantation potential or result in a higher pregnancy loss, the inability to detect these highly dynamic events will affect the clinical outcome of an IVF treatment.
Proven clinical benefits of time-lapse
Numerous articles supporting the clinical benefits of using time-lapse in IVF have been published over the last couple of years including the following;
(1) reduced pregnancy loss
(2) improved implantation rate
(3) shorter time to pregnancy.
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