One of the most miraculous advances in IVF is the ability to provide the developing embryo with the best psychological conditions while nestled safely inside the incubator. The EmbryoScope® is a state-of-the-art incubator that mimics the natural environment of the mother’s womb and the latest in IVF in Cyprus and across the globe. Team Miracle is pleased to welcome this amazing time-lapse imaging system – the only one on the entire island – at Cyprus IVF Clinic.
Who is a good candidate for use of the EmbryoScope ® ?
Every patient that is having gender selection or IVF in Cyprus. Whether you are using your own eggs or donor eggs, the use of the EmbryoScope ® will help increase your chances to get pregnant by allowing our experienced and perfectly trained embryologists to select the best embryos for transfer (see below). Our goal is to help you conceive and experience a healthy pregnancy and childbirth from your first cycle at our clinic and, thankfully, we have not deviated from that objective thus far!
Having said that, the EmbryoScope® system can also help single women or families that already have children and don’t want to flirt with the idea of having a twin pregnancy. Of course, if you want to have a sibling later on, you can always consider freezing the extra embryos using cryopreservation, which is also offered at Cyprus IVF Clinic.
It should be noted that besides our doctor and team of embryologists, our patient coordinators have also received full training by the EmbryoScope developers (Vitrolife tech support team) as a means to offer ultimate patient care during their IVF treatment.
What makes the EmbryoScope ® so special and unique ?
1. Safe Monitoring of the Embryo’s Development
With normal incubation, traditional IVF (In-vitro Fertilisation) clinics keep all embryos in a single compartment, in old fashioned incubators. Then, their teams remove the embryos from the incubator every day to monitor their development. This means that when a patient’s embryo is checked all the others in the same incubator are exposed to potentially risky environmental changes that could harm them (i.e. temperature, air pressure and humidity changes).
At IVF Cyprus Clinic each embryo is kept in a different compartment of the EmbryoScope®. Our modern bench-top incubators (see why bench-top incubators are better below) allow us to check each embryo safely without affecting or disturbing the others since no removal is required.
That aside, the EmbryoScope ® also features a camera that is pre-set to take photos of the embryo’s growth at specific intervals and create videos of it, which ensures the safe and continuous monitoring of the embryonic development. That aside, you also get a CD with the recorded images so you can start creating your family photo album back home!
2. Safe Monitoring of Cell Division Pattern
The way the embryos’ cells divide is critical when we want to identify the best ones to implant – the ones that will increase the potential for a healthy pregnancy by up to 15%-20%. Research has shown that to be able to predict how the embryo will possibly develop, we need to focus on particular events and specific division patterns during the cell division phase, which are best to be monitored by a time lapse camera so we are sure they are recorded fully.
In most clinics, cell division is observed under the microscope, which, of course, doesn’t show all of the significant points that need to be monitored and recorded. Given that the important time points vary from embryo to embryo, embryologists need to remove the embryo from the safe and warm environment of the incubator many times so they can catch the important development under the microscope. Needless to say, the possibilities the embryo survives after spending much time out of the incubator drop significantly.
3. Determine which Day-3 embryos are best for early transfer
Blastocyst transfer is a process that increases the possibility of a successful pregnancy, and can be done on day 3 or day 5 embryos, with the latter case being more expensive given the additional lab work required. At Cyprus IVF Clinic, we don’t see our patients as similar cases that can be treated with the same treatment. On the contrary, Dr Firdevs, leading embryologist, makes a decision always with your best personal interest in mind so we only proceed with the blastocyst stage only once the embryos are ready for it, with no extra costs or hidden fees whatsoever.
Although the transfer is usually done on day 5, there are times when embryos are not strong enough to stay in an incubator for 5 days and need to be transferred on day 3. Or there could just not be enough embryos on day 5 to transfer. This is when the EmbryoScope® comes in and gives us valuable assistance to determine which four day-3 embryos are ready to be transferred.
That aside, it also helps embryologists to view the developmental time lapse sequence, which shows if cell division is done as supposed. For instance, if it took too long for an embryo to develop or if its cells have divided from 2 to 5 rather than 4, then the embryo should not be transferred. As a result, we can safely predict which embryos are best for transfer without having to leave them in culture for long time periods.
Blastocyst transfer is also an excellent option to use when patients don’t have much time to complete their treatment and need to speed up the process.
4. Foresee chromosomal abnormalities
PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis) is the only valid tool in our hands that can help us detect genetic diseases and birth defects and a completely safe procedure. Given that it requires cells to be taken from the embryo, some patients don’t want to disturb the foetus. This is yet another case when the EmbryoScope® can be proven handy and useful. Given that it can record both the cell division pattern and time of the embryos (time lapse images), it can allow us to predict whether an embryo is more likely to be chromosomally abnormal.
Undeniably, trying to predict how an embryo is going to develop until the transfer is one of the most stressful parts of IVF treatment. As previously mentioned, embryologists would rather leave the embryos in their incubators for as long as possible without removing them often during the phases from collection to transfer, which means it’s impossible for them to have many often updates regarding the process taking place. That is the case, of course, with traditional ways of monitoring the embryo. With the EmbryoScope ® system, IVF at Cyprus IVF Clinic is turned into a far more worry-free experience.
Why have bench-top incubators ?
It’s been proven that smaller incubators improve pregnancy rates and the quality of the embryo. Time lapse systems, such as the EmbryoScope, is a small, bench top incubator. However, it requires careful handling and advanced expertise so one can use it to maximise its true potential. Everybody at Team Miracle has been using bench-top incubators for far too long to know everything there is about providing the embryo with a premium environment to develop. We also constantly try to sharpen our skills and improve our knowledge of new, sophisticated equipment and breakthrough treatments that can allow couples to experience the joy of parenthood. So, we attend seminars and keep up to date with the latest in IVF, and not only.
Note: The use of the EmbryoScope ® requires unique culture media, EmbryoSlide ® culture dish, and CDs for every patient. For that reason, this service is offered at an additional cost of 700 euros per cycle at Cyprus IVF Clinic. When it comes to culture media, we use BlastGen and EmbryoGen that have been proven to help patients who have experienced miscarriages or unsuccessful implantation in the past increase their pregnancy rates.
For more information about the EmbryoScope ® system or if you want to utilise its services to your IVF cycle at Cyprus IVF Clinic, kindly contact one of our International Patients Coordinators to discuss your options. Without a doubt, the EmbryoScope incubator is a significant advancement that brings patients closer to reaching their dream to have a family and we are thrilled to be able to have such a powerful tool in our “armoury” !