Additional embryological techniques

Vitrification

Eggs and embryos are frozen using a process called ‘Kitazato Vitrification’ (meaning literally turn to glass): a Japanese method that achieves higher success rates than the older and slower freezing methods. Kitazato Vitrification achieve similar success rates in frozen embryo cycles to that of fresh cycles.

Cryopreservation may be useful in the following circumstances:

  • where excess spare embryos are created in a treatment cycle which are of good quality. Approximately 80% of frozen embryos will survive the freeze/thaw process
  • where gametes (eggs or sperm) are frozen to preserve fertility

Blastocyst transfer

At Boston Place Clinic we offer embryo transfer 7 days a week. Embryos are usually transferred anytime between day 2 and day 5. Blastocyst transfer is a selection tool which helps us to identify the strongest embryo/s for transfer and is a good technique to use where more good quality embryos have developed by day 3 than are needed for transfer.

Embryoscope™ time-lapse imaging

A new time-lapse technology called the Embryoscope™ involves culturing embryos in an incubator equipped with a special microscope, camera and computer. Available since 2011 it has already led to the birth of thousands of healthy babies. Each individual embryo is imaged separately and monitored every 15 minutes allowing subtle changes in development to be detected. This allows selection of embryos with the highest pregnancy potential - so-called morphokinetics.

Up to 70% of embryos appear normal when observed on a daily basis using older incubation systems yet do not go on to give successful pregnancy after transfer. The ability to more accurately select an embryo capable of pregnancy on the basis of the time-lapse imaging is an exciting development. It is also thought that embryos identified in this way are less likely to lead to early pregnancy loss than other systems and preliminary results are excellent. Boston Place Clinic is the first UK IVF lab designed specifically to use Embryoscope™ incubators and to maximise the potential of your embryos.

Assisted hatching

Very small holes can be made in the outer coating of an embryo with a laser to encourage hatching of embryos. We may suggest using the process with multiple failed cycles of treatment or in the case of frozen embryo transfer where the outer coating may become tougher.

Embryo Glue™

Hyaluranon is a naturally occurring substance present in follicles, tubes and cavity of the womb. Its effect is to make the fluid in these areas more viscous (sticky) and to encourage implantation of embryos.

SpermSlow™

Hyaluranon may also help to isolate mature sperm for use in ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) cycles helping to increase fertilisation rates

Comprehensive chromosomal testing

New techniques allow us to examine all of the chromosomes and to see if an embryo lacks or has additional chromosomes, a condition called aneuploidy. This technique may be helpful in those patients that have had multiple IVF failures or for older women who produce more genetically abnormal eggs. More recent research suggests that younger women may also produce large numbers of abnormal eggs during IVF treatment and may also benefit from this procedure by achieving higher than average success rates and limiting multiple pregnancies.