What is blastocyst culture?
This term describes the process when the embryos grow for longer in the laboratory, and undergo critical developmental changes before being returned to the womb.
This period of extended culture helps our experts select the most competent embryo(s) for transfer to your womb, and can help to indicate which embryos have the best growth potential. Therefore, blastocyst culture maximises the chance of you achieving a viable pregnancy.
By the time an embryo has reached the blastocyst stage, it’s already undergone several cell divisions and achieved its first cell differentiation into two distinct cell types (see diagram):
Although this period of extended culture doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of the embryos, or guarantee that they reach the blastocyst stage, we have impressive success rates for this treatment.
Who needs blastocyst culture?
You’re likely to benefit from this treatment if you have a large number of embryos. That’s because not all embryos have the ability to form a blastocyst, and the number of embryos progressing each day may decrease.
Blastocyst culture allows the most advanced/competent embryo(s) to be selected for transfer on the fifth day following egg collection. Our results indicate that with five or more embryos on day one after egg collection, there’s an improved pregnancy rate using extended culture compared to using day two or three transfers.
What happens at the Clinic?
Your treatment cycle is exactly the same as for IVF, except that your embryos will be cultured for longer in the embryology laboratory. This means that the day of your embryo transfer will be five days after egg collection.
This process enhances our embryologists’ ability to select the embryo(s) most likely to result in pregnancy.