Our IVF Journey

Qs & As about Blastocyst Culture and Transfer

About Us
The Decision to Seek Help
First Try IUI & Protocol
IVF/ICSI Fall 2003
IVF/ICSI 2003 Protocol
Medication Log 2003
IVF/ICSI Summer 2004
IVF/ICSI 2004 Protocol
Medication Log 2004
IVF/FET Summer 2004
IVF/FET 2004 Protocol & Medication Log
It Never Happened!!
IVF Program Summary Page
IVF Hurdles
Hysteroscopy & Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Pre/Post -OP Egg Retrieval & Embryo Transfer Instructions
High Order Pregnancy/ Reduction
Qs & As about Blastocyst Culture and Transfer
Medication Glossary
Medication Storage Information
Tips on How to Do Injections
IVF Support & Links
Pharmacy Links & Phone Numbers
DOs & DON'Ts
The Happy End

Blastocyst Culture and Transfer


Q: What are blastocysts?                                                                               

A - Blastocysts are embryos that are five to six days of age (following egg retrieval) and that have approximately 60 cells. This is the stage at which embryos hatch and implant in the uterine wall. In healthy blastocysts, an inner cell mass (that will develop into the fetus) can be identified as well as a blastocoele cavity surrounded by cells that are destined to form the placenta.

Q - Why culture embryos to the blastocyst stage?

A - The longer period of time that elapses between egg retrieval and embryo transfer, the easier it
is to see differences between good and poor quality embryos. By day five after
egg retrieval,
embryos that have reached the blastocyst
stage have distinguished themselves as the best quality
embryos. Embryos that are not blastocysts by day five or six are
poor quality and are destined to
arrest in their development. There may also be an advantage
to transferring embryos into the
uterus on day five because in
"natural" conceptions, embryos don't arrive hi the uterine cavity
until four days following ovulation. Culturing embryos to the blastocyst stage thus allows us
transfer fewer embryos (usually two)
and maintain high rates of success with much lower
of multiple gestations.                              _

Q - Is there any downside to blastocyst culture/transfer?

A - Yes. Some patients' embryos may not grow to the blastocyst stage and thus they may not have any embryos to transfer on day five or six. While many believe this is evidence for why a particular patient is unable to conceive, this kind of outcome is very troublesome and unsatisfying for patients and for then* physicians. Fortunately, by choosing those patients who are the best candidates for this procedure, this outcome is very uncommon.

Q - Who is a candidate for blastocyst culture/transfer?

A - In our program, we are offering blastocyst culture/transfer to patients at highest risk for a multiple pregnancy including those being treated with IVF/egg donation and young patients (under age 35) who are doing IVF with their own eggs. Blastocyst culture/transfer may also be considered for patients of any age who have a large number of embryos. In all cases, we do not culture embryos beyond day three unless there are at least two good quality 8-cell embryos on that day.


Q - Does   ^     blastocyst transfer increase pregnancy rates?

A - Not necessarily. Our primary goal with blastocyst transfer is to maintain high rates of success while decreasing the rate of multiple gestation. While h is true that pregnancy rates may be higher for patients who transfer blastocysts, these results may be biased because patients who are able to transfer blastocysts usually have better quality embryos compared with those who are unable to do so.

Pictures of Embryos at different stages

Embryo pictures

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Hi! I would like to mention that this webpage is still in it's beginning stage. This is my first time putting a website together. So please be gentle and bear with me:).
Some of the information may not be complete. I am still waiting for some records so I can add more details to the treatments and protocols I have listed. I am going to update it as our journey progresses. Check in again to see what's been happening.

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