Blastocyst transfers have now become the treatment of choice for the majority of patients at Monash IVF clinics.
A blastocyst is formed after a fertilised egg is cultured in the laboratory for five days.
Culturing embryos for this long helps in identifying those embryos that have the best chance of resulting in a baby.
All your embryos are cultured individually because it is important to track how they are progressing; and to determine whether the individual embryos are meeting all their developmental milestones. Through knowing which of them has progressed best results in the more precise selection of the very best embryo for transfer.
Not all embryos are successful at becoming blastocysts – some embryos (10-15%) don’t make the transition from day 2 to day 3 and stop growing. About 70% of embryos that stop growing and therefore don’t make it to the blastocyst stage, display gross chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities. By culturing your embryos to the blastocyst stage we can ‘select out’ these embryos that would naturally stop growing and not implant them.
Extending the culture of embryos to five days requires a considerable investment in technology and expertise.
Monash IVFs experience, equipment and commitment to quality ensures that their laboratory conditions do not compromise the health of your embryos. The environment the embryos are exposed to in the laboratory is regulated and extensively monitored to maintain the optimal conditions for embryo growth.
Naturally, your egg is fertilised in the fallopian tube. The embryo starts to divide soon after and will take the next 3-4 days to travel down the fallopian tube. It generally arrives in the uterine cavity on day 5 when it has developed into a blastocyst. Importantly, the environment in different parts of the fallopian tubes and the uterine cavity is specifically suited to the developmental stage of the embryo. In other words, a 2-day old embryo prefers to be in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterus.
The culture media used to grow blastocysts is changed over regularly to ensure the embryo gets the right nutrients for each critical stage of its development.