Spend much time reading about IVF or egg donation and you’re likely to encounter the words ‘blastocyst’ and ‘extended embryo culture’. But what do these terms mean and why are they important to assisted reproduction? Here’s the low-down.
For our purposes, blastocyst simply refers to the stage of development an embryo must reach before it can hatch from its shell and implant in the uterine wall. Under in vivo conditions, this stage is achieved over several days as the embryo makes its way down the fallopian tube and into the uterus, attaining blastocyst status around day five and implanting a day or so later.
Extended embryo culture attempts to replicate this natural timing in vitro by prolonging the cultivation period in the lab from the traditional three days to five. Doing so allows the blastocyst stage to be reached before transfer and helps improve the likelihood of successful implantation and pregnancy. The concept is simple, but, implemented properly, its effects can be significant.
We offer extended embryo culture through our IVF and egg donation packages to give you and your partner a better chance at success. Get in touch with us today to learn more.