Recently, I have been in communication with a clinic in the Czech Republic that is using Embryo Monitoring in their IVF practice both for non-donor egg IVF and for donor egg IVF treatments. They have reported that they are seeing about a 10% increase in clinical pregnancy rates when they use this technology to help the embryologist assess and predict the best embryos for transfer. They also report that it has helped reduce miscarriage rates.
This is very exciting technology! It allows the embryologist to use time lapse video to watch exactly when (and how) an embryo divides and grows. It turns out that using that assessment data allows the embryologist to more accurately predict which embryos are most likely to result in a successful IVF pregnancy.
The technology is marketed by a company in Denmark named Unisense FertiliTech A/S. They develop technology to improve human embryo assessment in IVF.
With their EmbryoScope™ technology, it allows constant surveilance of embryos while leaving them undisturbed in a stable environment. This allows for assessment at each of the following stages:
- Disappearance of pronuclei
- Exact timing of first and subsequent cleavages
- Synchrony of divisions
- Fragmentation history
- Appearance of nuclei after division
Their website has a great video of the time lapse enabled assessment, which is also just interesting to watch if you want to see what an embryo looks like as it passes through the critical stages of growth prior to transfer.
In October 2011, the United States FDA approved their EmbryoScope for clinical use in the US. I look forward to seeing how this technology may help improve the embryo selection process and as a result increase the overall success rates with IVF treatments.