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How to maximise your IVF success: Selecting a healthy embryo

Posted on 11.4.17

How to maximise your IVF success: Selecting a healthy embryo

The Bridge Centre has over 30 years experience in helping people achieve their dreams of having a family. Part of our pioneering approach is using the latest technology and techniques to give you the best chance of having a successful pregnancy and taking home a healthy baby. Find out more about two of our latest fertility services and how they can help you select a healthy embryo to increase IVF success rates.

Aneuploidy - a common cause of miscarriage

One of the leading reasons why pregnancies miscarry is due to chromosomal abnormalities. Each embryo should get 23 chromosomes from the sperm and another copy of these 23 chromosomes from the egg. In some cases, especially in older women, the chromosomes can be unbalanced – too few or too many copies or parts of chromosomes. This is called aneuploidy and as maternal age increases the risk of aneuploidy occurring increases. In most cases an embryo with unbalanced chromosomes can not develop normally and will lead to a miscarriage. In some cases there will be a successful pregnancy but the chromosomal imbalance will lead to health problems or life limiting conditions.

Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)

PGS involves checking the number of chromosomes for common abnormalities and is included in our One by One Plus programme. Once the egg has been fertilised the embryo is grown in the lab for several days, several cells are removed by a highly trained embryologist and the chromosomes are examined. An embryo that looks healthy can be transferred and any remaining healthy embryos can be frozen for later use.

It is most suited for people who meet certain criteria:

· Women over 35

· Previously had several unsuccessful IVF rounds

· History of recurrent miscarriages

· Sperm known to have a high risk of chromosomal problems

· Family history of chromosomal abnormalities

Time Lapse Imaging

Growing an embryo in a laboratory requires precise conditions and time lapse microscopy allows our embryologists to look at your embryos without disturbing them, keeping them stable in the ideal conditions for normal development. One of the key stages in IVF is to select embryos at the right stage for implantation. There is some natural variation between embryos and the rates that they develop and by taking photos over time the development can be monitored. Certain patients may benefit from using time lapse microscopy, such as those who have had several unsuccessful rounds of IVF or older patients as it gives you the best chance of choosing the healthiest of your embryos and increases the chances of a successful implantation and pregnancy.

How does time lapse microscopy work?

· Each individual embryo is grown an incubator equipped with a special microscope, camera and computer

· A camera takes a photo of the embryo every 20 minutes to allow subtle changes in development to be detected

· These pictures are examined by trained embryologists

· The healthiest embryo(s) can then be selected for transfer to the womb

· Any remaining embryos can be frozen for later use

For more information about PGS or time lapse imaging please call 020 3819 3282 or fill in our contact form

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