After fertilisation is complete, an embryo must be allowed to develop in a uterine-like environment for several days before it is fit for transfer. This process is termed embryo culture and is usually carried out in an incubator of some kind.
With conventional incubators, an embryo must be manually removed once daily for roughly one minute in order to monitor its development. Brief as it may seem, sixty seconds of handling is long enough to produce changes in culture variables that can cause undue stress for the fragile organism and negatively impact its growth. In fact, embryos thus handled have been shown to develop four to five hours slower over the total culture period.
Additionally, in traditional incubation, when the time for transfer arrives, it is down to the personal judgment of the embryologist to determine which embryo is most suitable for transfer. He has no visual record of each embryo’s developmental history—information that might otherwise provide insight into the health of that embryo and assist him in making his decision. Instead, he must largely base his judgement upon what he sees at the moment of inspection.
The EmbryoScope® Time-Lapse System overcomes these drawbacks by providing a detailed, progressive, photographic document of an embryo’s development, from day one to transfer—while doing away with the need for manual inspection and allowing for undisturbed embryo culture. It does this through time-lapse technology, taking frequent, minutely-detailed photos of the embryo at 10-minute intervals in 10 different focal planes—thereby providing embryologists with a portrait of each embryo’s formative history and character so that they can confidently select the healthiest one for transfer.