From time to time, we hear about new technologies and techniques being introduced in the field of ART and IVF treatments. Some of these techniques prove ineffective and lose their popularity over time while some others prove useful and remain with us and become an integral part of IVF treatments for the long haul. One such advancement in IVF technologies is time-lapse imaging system, which has been designed as a means of uninterrupted embryo monitoring technology.
Time-lapse imaging technology has been made possible with incubators with a built-in 24/7 surveillance system, giving the embryologist an uninterrupted monitoring of all the embryos in the incubator. The system uses a digitally inverted microscope built into the incubator that takes several pictures of the embryos at short time intervals. The images are processed by a special software program and then displayed on the screen attached to the incubator.
Now, the embryologist is able to watch and assess the development of each and every single embryo in the incubator through the monitor attached to the incubator as well as real-time video streaming on mobile devices. The ability to continuously monitor the embryos gives embryologists a chance to make an effective assessment of embryo growth and development rather than relying on periodic checks made when using standard incubators. All of this is possible via a non-invasive technology, which is very important in IVF practice.
At North Cyprus IVF Centre, we use embryoscope (commercial name for the main brand of time-lapse embryo imaging technologies) for uninterrupted access to real-time embryo growth and development. Without the use of an embryoscope, the standard procedure is to check up on embryos at specific intervals. Normally, there will be a single observation on day 1, day 3 and day 5 of development for an assessment of quality. To perform these observations, the embryologist removes the dish containing the embryos from the incubator in which the embryos are stored to observe their development using a high magnification microscope. Even though frequent observation allows the embryologist to monitor and assess embryo growth and development, removing the embryos from their stable environment has many disadvantages, including increased risk of embryo fragmentation and increased risk of losing the embryos. Through the use of an embryoscope, the embryologist can observe the growth of embryos via time lapse imaging, thus, eliminating the necessity to remove the embryos from the incubator, exposing them to outside environment.
The following are the benefits of using time-lapse imaging:
1- As opposed to a single image obtained by checking up embryos at certain intervals, time lapse imaging allows for thousands of images so that the embryologist can make a much better assessment of embryo growth and development through a time series rather than relying on a single observation. This is very important for embryo quality assessment. Continuous surveillance of embryo characteristics enables the embryologist to observe and detect any abnormal cleavages leading to chromosomal aneuploidies which are a major cause of spontaneous miscarriage or birth defects. In other words, an embryoscope allows us to reduce the risk of an implantation failure or a miscarriage by signaling to us any possible growth problems that may not be visible to the embryologist without continuous real-time surveillance.
2- Normally, without the time-lapse imaging technologies, an embryologist needs to remove embryos from the incubator periodically to observe growth patterns. The embryos do not tolerate removal from optimal culturing conditions which are provided by the incubator, which limits the number of observations that can be made by the embryologist. Embryoscope allows the embryologist to monitor embryo development without removing the embryo dish from the incubator, reducing the likelihood of embryo fragmentation. The embryos stay in a stable incubator without pH and temperature changes, providing them with an uninterrupted exposure to the optimal setting for growth.
3- Embryoscope and time-lapse imaging technologies in general allow for a more effective embryo selection process for embryo transfer. It has been shown through clinical research that embryos which cleave early have a higher chance to develop into blastocysts and implant. This suggests that continuous observation of morphological characteristics of the embryo at the early cleavage stage can possibly tell us which embryos have a higher likelihood of generating pregnancy compared to others.
Time-lapse technology provides us with a safe, non-invasive and uninterrupted embryo screening option that can help the embryologists with embryo selection. In the field of IVF, we are always in search of new methods that can provide us with real benefits in terms of IVF success without compromising the integrity of embryos. Benefits of a technology should always outweigh the possible dangers that might be associated with it. This far, all studies conclude that use of time-lapse imaging is a safe and effective method of embryo observation, which allows for an effective selection process in an attempt to offer IVF patients a higher chance of success with their IVF treatment journeys.
For patients who would like a video of their embryo growth, we can provide a DVD recording at a small fee, so you have the first video of your child’s development to show them in the future!
At North Cyprus IVF Centre, we use technology in a way that will maximize your chances of success with your treatments. It is our pleasure to serve you with highest service standards.
North Cyprus IVF Centre is one of the few clinics in the world with the flexibility and capability of adapting new IVF technologies into clinical practice. With favorable laws and regulations in Northern Cyprus, new technologies can easily be brought into daily clinical practice as soon as they are approved as effective methods of treatment. Below are such innovations that are offered at North Cyprus IVF Centre.