The EmbryoScope is a newly developed system for monitoring extracorporeal embryos in the incubator through the cell culture period through to the embryo transfer.
Using an infrared camera, which provides a photographic record of the individual embryos at short intervals, all the cell division steps and all the changes in the embryo are monitored with a time-lapse.
This continuous monitoring of the early embryo development allows a precise identification of embryos with a high chance of development.
The monitoring of the extracorporeal embryos performed in a conventional manner (i.e. without EmbryoScope) only takes place three times in total:
- on the 1st day after the egg cell retrieval to clarify whether fertilisation has taken place (so-called pronuclear screening)
- on the 3rd day to check the first cell divisions
- on the 5th day if the embryo transfer is to take place after five days
This type of monitoring is completely sufficient for the majority of cases.
In selected cases, however, (for example if it was only possible to register sub-optimum progress in the embryo development in a previous cycle), the EmbryoScope may be helpful for the optimisation of the treatment.
This must be incorporated into the planning preceding the treatment.
The EmbryoScope has been used in our laboratory since November 2011, which means that we now have sufficient experience in the use of this system.
The assessment criteria which we use to “grade” the embryos between the optimum Grade A and the lowest Grade E in the EmbryoScope are based on the study from the IVI Centre in Valencia.
Meseguer et al., 2011: The use of morphokinetics as a predictor of embryo Implantation. Hum Reprod. 2011 Oct;26(10):2658-71. Epub 2011 Aug 9.
Criteria with a good prognosis (Grade A):
- Time of division into a five-cell embryo (48.8 to 56.6 hours after fertilisation)
- Length of time in the three-cell stage (no longer than 0.76 hours)
- Length of time in the two-cell stage (no longer than 11.9 hours)
Criteria with a very limited prognosis (Grade E):
- Unequal division into a two-cell embryo (> 25 % difference of the blastomere size)
- Direct division of a one-cell embryo into a two-cell embryo or of a two-cell embryo into a three-cell embryo within five hours