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Posted 7 months ago
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What are the latest advances in IVF that women should know about?
We now have "extended culture medias," which allow us to grow an embryo outside of the body for longer. Before, we used to put embryos back in after two days. Now we are able to allow the embryo to grow to the fullest stage it can outside of the body, which is called the blastocyst stage, where there are hundreds of cells. By that point-about five to six days outside of the body-we have time to do genetic tests, which is another innovation that has become significant in the last couple of years. We're now able to check the embryo for its genetic well-being and make sure that it is chromosomally normal before putting it back into the uterus. We're also able to watch the embryo grow to a stage much further along. So if you have 10 embryos that you've made, we can get really picky and see which one did the absolute best up to day five. It will probably tell us your best embryo.
The one that has the best chance of survival?
Exactly. The one that has grown the most beautifully. And exactly at the times it's supposed to, to the stage it's supposed to, so it's probably your healthiest embryo. One final advance, which is the newest thing we have in the world of fertility, is the EmbryoScope. It's a camera that watches the embryo from the stage where the egg and the sperm come together, all the way up to the time that we put the embryo back inside the body, usually around day five. It watches the embryo grow like a movie.
Wow! Your very first home movie!
Yes, it is. [Laughs] And it tells you not only if the embryo looked good on day five, but whether it has grown and divided normally, which is also very, very important for its well-being.
It is. So we have the environment of freezing and thawing better, we have the genetic testing to test the chromosomes, and we can check to see if the structural growth of the embryo is going well.