The Embryoscope™ is a specialisedincubator that maintains the necessary physiological conditions required by a living embryo while they are in the IVF laboratory. It has an incorporated time lapse system that has a camera that continuously captures images and records them as a video of the embryonic development. The technology has revolutionised the field of assisted conception; embryos in the laboratory never have to be removed from their incubator for Embryologists to make assessments on their development. This means that the embryos aren’t exposed to changes in temperature, gas concentrations and light that can affect their viability, however their growth, divisions and development is continually captured. All of these parameters are examined to determine which embryo(s) is the best from a cohort and has the highest potential to implant. For some patients, this improved selection process may make all the difference.
How are embryos selected without the EmbryoScope?
In standard embryo culture, the embryos are removed from the incubator at set intervals to check on their development under a microscope.These periodic observations allow Embryologists to tell which embryos are most likely to do well when transferred back to the patient’s uterus, however this decision is based on a snap-shot in time looking at embryo morphology rather than progressive continuous information on embryo development. As soon as the embryologist has completed each examination, the embryos must be returned to the safety of the temperature, gas and light controlled incubator as quickly as possible to avoid any potential damage to the developing cells.
Which patients will benefit from the use of the EmbryoScope?
While the EmbryoScope is a wonderful development in IVF lab technology, its use may specifically benefit certain patient groups. . Preliminary research has shown that while the EmbryoScope may offer an improvement in results, the chance is highest among patients who produce more embryos, as it helps Embryologists to select which embryo(s) have good implantation potential.