A Blastocyst is an embryo of 5-7 days after fertilization. A Blastocyst culture and transfer are a technique for IVF. It involves maintaining embryos in laboratory conditions to allow critical developmental changes before placement in the uterus. Only some embryos reach the Blastocyst stage. The embryo has started cell differentiation and holds a central fluid filled cavity or Blastocoel cavity.
Extended culture helps selection of competent embryos for transfer. It also minimizes the risk of multiple pregnancies. Successful blastocysts in vitro increase chances of successful implantation, thereby maximizing pregnancy rates.
When is this suggested?
Blastocyst culture and transfer has several advantages
- There are a large number of embryos, allowing for some to continue in culture environment
- Higher viable pregnancy rate as there is an opportunity for selecting most competent or advanced embryos for transfer
- Reducing possibility of high order multiple pregnancies (triplets and more)
- In a natural process, the uterine wall is likely to be more receptive for implantation. This time for the embryo to reach the uterus is same as a natural pregnancy embryo would.
What is involved?
The preparation for Blastocyst Culture is the same as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for the patient. Here it is the proficiency and high degree of quality control of the embryology laboratory that comes into the picture. Successful blastocyst culture requires optimal culture environment to ensure timely embryo development. The embryo transfer day will be five days after egg collection, rather than the standard third day.