A cursory glance at the top 20 IVF centers in India, and you’ll find only a handful that offer blastocyst culture treatment. A fertility clinic in India traditionally IVF only but there are a number of advantages of going with blastocyst culture. The procedure is simple and adds very little to the IVF treatment cost.
What is Blastocyst Culture?
The term ‘blastocyst’ is used to describe an embryo into its fifth to the seventh day of development after fertilization. A blastocyst embryo has two distinct types of cells in addition to a central cavity that is filled with fluid. This cavity is known as the blastocoele cavity.
Usually, during the course of an IVF or ICSI treatment, the embryo is transferred to the womb on the second or third day after fertilization. But with blastocyst culture and transfer, which is also known as prolonged embryo culture, the embryo is permitted to grow in the test tube baby center’s laboratory for a slightly extended length of time. This period is used to determine the strength of the embryo(s) and if they will keep developing normally. This process is also known as blastocyst grading.
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When is Blastocyst Culture Recommended?
Blastocyst culture is offered as an option in the following cases,
- Couples who fail to conceive a child even after multiple rounds of IVF or IVF-ICSI and despite having high-quality eggs are recommended to go for blastocyst culture as the treatment offers higher IVF success rates compared to day 3 embryo transfers. The technique further allows the fertility expert to examine the embryo for growth abnormalities from day 3 to day 6.
- Even couples who have high-quality embryos on day 3 can consider going in for blastocyst culture. The embryologist can use this opportunity to let the embryos develop into blastocysts. Blastocyst implantation offers two advantages. First, embryo(s) with higher chances of successful implantation can be identified and second, transferring on day 5 ensures the fewer number of embryos are transferred which greatly reduces the likelihood of multiple pregnancies.
- Couples who desire to prevent risks resulting from multiple pregnancies tend to select Single Embryo Transfer. The conception rates of this technique rise significantly when combined with blastocyst transfer. While normally the embryo is transferred on day 3, it is done on day 5 with blastocyst culture. The extra couple of days before the transfer increase the chances of successful conception.
- Blastocyst culture can also be beneficial to couples opting for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). PGD helps couples who suffer from a genetic disorder to increase their chances of giving birth to a healthy child. The technique involves extracting a couple of cells from the developing embryos which are then subjected to genetic evaluation. This helps in identifying and transferring only healthy embryos into the uterus.
How is Blastocyst Culture Carried Out?
For patients, the treatment cycle for blastocyst culture is identical to that of IVF. The only difference is that the embryos are cultured for a slightly longer period in the laboratory. So while the day of transfer is three days after the collection of the egg with IVF, it is five days with blastocyst culture.
After hatching, blastocyst embryos are ready for implantation which is a good thing as it increases the chances of achieving pregnancy successfully. Although it sounds simple, blastocyst culture is a specialized technique that only the finest IVF or best surrogacy center in India can offer.
Dr Pranay Shah
Director and Chief Fertility Consultant
Dr. Divyesh Bhalodia
Counseller and Communicator
Dr. Dhruti Maheshwari
What Are The Advantages of Blastocyst Culture?
- Multiple pregnancies are reduced as a fewer number of embryos is transferred to the uterus during a blastocyst IVF.
- Blastocyst transfer success rates are significantly higher than traditional IVF as the technique offers better chances of achieving pregnancy.
Blastocyst transfer success stories are fairly common as the technique is quite advanced and presents minimal risks. IVF blastocyst implantation is also the most feasible option for patients who do not conceive after regular IVF treatment, IUI procedure or ICSI treatment. Wellspring IVF & Women’s Hospital as a Best IVF Center in India,2018 prefer only Blastocyst stage embryo transfer for highest IVF success rate.
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