How do we decide which embryos to use?

1st February 2013 in Advice

During an IVF or ICSI cycle how do we decide which embryos to transfer? Here at Manchester Fertility our expert embryologists analyse your embryos as they develop.

Once your eggs have been retrieved, we will tell you how many eggs are available for your treatment. These eggs are then either mixed with your partner’s sperm in our laboratory, or a single healthy sperm is selected and directly injected into the egg as an ICSI procedure. Your treatment path will already have been decided with your consultant. ICSI is typically suggested if your partner has an issue with their sperm and is not recommended otherwise.

We then allow the eggs to develop overnight and analyse them again in the morning to see if any have fertilised. Any fertilised eggs are now embryos and these are monitored over the next few days to make sure they reach the right ‘cell’ stage to be suitable for transfer.

Your embryos may be allowed to develop for a little longer, this is known as blastocyst culture and our embryologists can identify if any of your embryos have reached blastocyst stage so they can be transferred. Blastocyst culture is offered at no extra charge if we think your embryos would be better left to develop further in our lab.

On the day of your transfer, we will tell you how many embryos you have suitable. Dependent upon your age and medical history, as per our single embryo transfer policy only one embryo may be transferred if you have a good prognosis.

Some clinics do offer testing of embryos at this very early stage to see which ones develop – this could involve chromosome testing or ‘time-lapse’ embryo scopes. Some of these processes however are not yet completely validated, and so although early results may look promising, here at Manchester Fertility we don’t offer any treatment or protocol which doesn’t have tangible, long-term evidence-based success.

We do of course offer extra services which have been proven – such as the use of EmbryoGlue which helps embryos implant, endometrial scratching procedure prior to your cycle to stimulate the endometrial lining and also the use of DHEA supplement if your tests show you have poor ovarian reserve.

If you have questions about how we select embryos, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly on 0845 268 2244 or you can use our ‘Ask the Expert’ feature.

Last updated: 20th January 2020