STAGE 6 – Embryo Growth and development
After the Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, each egg starts to fertilize. The Embryologist would place the injected eggs into an incubator where the optimum environment is available for the healthy growth and development of the embryo. After 24 hours, the Embryologist return to the incubator and use special tools like Primo Vision / Time Lapse machine which provides in-depth growth detail and information regarding the embryo development. Most eggs that are progressing towards healthy embryos would show the signs of cleavage within the first 24 hours and by Day 3 they develop into 6 to 8 cell embryos. On Day 5-6 the embryos convert into Blastocyst which is the ideal embryo quality benchmark for transferring back into the Uterus. Research indicates that blastocyst stage embryos boost the chances of success in IVF. However, unfortunately, not all eggs always fertilize and not all embryos develop into a blastocyst. There is a range of factors that determine the fertilization of eggs as well as the growth of embryos including genetic disorders and lab environment.
STAGE 7 – Embryo transfer or “ET”
Your IVF Consultant would discuss with the Embryologist for the ideal embryo that should be transferred depending on the quality to maximize your chances of success. This procedure does not require anaesthesia and you are awake during this procedure. The Embryologist would load the embryo into a plastic tube called a catheter and the consultant would ensure there is not damage caused to the embryo during the transfer. The catheter would pass through your cervix into the uterus where they gently push and drop the embryo which is expected to attach to the uterine wall. In fact, the uterus has three layers which combined together form the uterine wall. Starting from the innermost to the outermost these layers are known as:
• Endometrium • Myometrium • Perimetrium
The actual procedure may only take 15 minutes in total, however, you would be called in early to prepare yourself for the procedure and you are kept in the daycare for some time after the procedure.