Time-lapse embryo imaging

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Time-lapse embryo imaging is an emerging non-invasive embryo selection technique used in reproductive biology. It is used to help select embryos with lower risk of defects and/or greater potential of implantation. The procedure involves taking thousands of pictures of the growing embryo in vitro during incubation to study morphology and morphokinetic parameters. [1]

In terms of pregnancy rates, live births, or the risk of stillbirth or miscarriage there is a lack of evidence of sufficient quality to know if there is any difference between time-lapse embryo imaging and conventional embryo assessment in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). [2] Further trials are needed in order to determine whether time-lapse embryo imaging can impact on outcomes such as live-birth for couples undergoing IVF or ICSI. [3]

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In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm in vitro. The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova from her ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a culture medium in a laboratory. After the fertilised egg (zygote) undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days, it is transferred by catheter into the uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Multiple birth</span> Delivery of two or more offspring during childbirth

A multiple birth is the culmination of one multiple pregnancy, wherein the mother gives birth to two or more babies. A term most applicable to vertebrate species, multiple births occur in most kinds of mammals, with varying frequencies. Such births are often named according to the number of offspring, as in twins and triplets. In non-humans, the whole group may also be referred to as a litter, and multiple births may be more common than single births. Multiple births in humans are the exception and can be exceptionally rare in the largest mammals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intracytoplasmic sperm injection</span> In vitro fertilization procedure

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in which a single sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of an egg. This technique is used in order to prepare the gametes for the obtention of embryos that may be transferred to a maternal uterus. With this method, the acrosome reaction is skipped.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Preimplantation genetic diagnosis</span> Genetic profiling of embryos prior to implantation

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Assisted reproductive technology</span> Methods to achieve pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) includes medical procedures used primarily to address infertility. This subject involves procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), cryopreservation of gametes or embryos, and/or the use of fertility medication. When used to address infertility, ART may also be referred to as fertility treatment. ART mainly belongs to the field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Some forms of ART may be used with regard to fertile couples for genetic purpose. ART may also be used in surrogacy arrangements, although not all surrogacy arrangements involve ART. The existence of sterility will not always require ART to be the first option to consider, as there are occasions when its cause is a mild disorder that can be solved with more conventional treatments or with behaviors based on promoting health and reproductive habits.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Embryo transfer</span> Method of assisted reproduction

Embryo transfer refers to a step in the process of assisted reproduction in which embryos are placed into the uterus of a female with the intent to establish a pregnancy. This technique (which is often used in connection with in vitro fertilization, may be used in humans or in animals, in which situations the goals may vary.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oocyte cryopreservation</span> Procedure to preserve a womans eggs (oocytes)

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In vitro maturation (IVM) is the technique of letting the contents of ovarian follicles and the oocytes inside mature in vitro. It can be offered to women with infertility problems, combined with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), offering women pregnancy without ovarian stimulation.

Transvaginal oocyte retrieval (TVOR), also referred to as oocyte retrieval (OCR), is a technique used in in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to remove oocytes from the ovary of a woman, enabling fertilization outside the body. Transvaginal oocyte retrieval is more properly referred to as transvaginal ovum retrieval when the oocytes have matured into ova, as is normally the case in IVF. It can be also performed for egg donation, oocyte cryopreservation and other assisted reproduction technology such as ICSI.

Fertility tourism is the practice of traveling to another country or jurisdiction for fertility treatment, and may be regarded as a form of medical tourism. A person who can become pregnant is considered to have fertility issues if they are unable to have a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. Infertility, or the inability to get pregnant, affects about 8-12% of couples looking to conceive or 186 million people globally. In some places, rates of infertility surpass the global average and can go up to 30% depending on the country. Areas with lack of resources, such as assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), tend to correlate with the highest rates of infertility.

Embryo culture is a component of in vitro fertilisation where in resultant embryos are allowed to grow for some time in an artificial medium.

Unexplained infertility is infertility that is idiopathic in the sense that its cause remains unknown even after an infertility work-up, usually including semen analysis in the man and assessment of ovulation and fallopian tubes in the woman. It is usually an exercise in excluding all possible causes before making a diagnosis, however the age of the female partner as well as the duration of infertility are often the most scrutinized characteristics of any infertility case.

Cryopreservation of embryos is the process of preserving an embryo at sub-zero temperatures, generally at an embryogenesis stage corresponding to pre-implantation, that is, from fertilisation to the blastocyst stage.

Natural Cycle In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technique designed to closely mimic a woman's natural menstrual cycle. In traditional IVF, a woman's ovaries are stimulated with fertility medications to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved and fertilized outside the body. A natural cycle IVF, on the other hand, works with the woman's natural hormonal fluctuations and ovulation cycle.

Partner-assisted reproduction, reception of oocytes from partner (ROPA), reciprocal IVF,shared motherhood, partner IVF or co-IVF is a method of family building that is used by couples who both possess female reproductive organs. The method uses in vitro fertilization (IVF), a method that means eggs are removed from the ovaries, fertilized in a laboratory, and then one or more of the resulting embryos are placed in the uterus to hopefully create a pregnancy. Reciprocal IVF differs from standard IVF in that two partners are involved: the eggs are taken from one partner, and the other partner carries the pregnancy. In this way, the process is mechanically identical to IVF with egg donation. Reciprocal IVF offers the highest chance for pregnancy and a lower risk of a multiple birth. Using this process ensures that each partner is a biological parent of the child. This fertility process is one way that allows lesbian and trans male couples to reproduce and both be involved in the physical process of becoming pregnant.

Luteal support is the administration of medication, generally progesterone, progestins, hCG or GnRH agonists, to increase the success rate of implantation and early embryogenesis, thereby complementing and/or supporting the function of the corpus luteum. It can be combined with for example in vitro fertilization and ovulation induction.

Embryo quality is the ability of an embryo to perform successfully in terms of conferring a high pregnancy rate and/or resulting in a healthy person. Embryo profiling is the estimation of embryo quality by qualification and/or quantification of various parameters. Estimations of embryo quality guides the choice in embryo selection in in vitro fertilization.

Morphokinetics (‘morpho’’ form/shape and ‘kinetics’ movement) refers to time specific morphological changes during embryo development providing dynamic information on a fertilized egg. The detailed information eases morphological selection of embryos with high implantation potential to be used in In-Vitro Fertilisation treatment.


  1. Montag M, Toth B, Strowitzki T (November 2013). "New approaches to embryo selection". Reproductive Biomedicine Online. 27 (5): 539–46. doi:10.1016/j.rbmo.2013.05.013. PMID   23933036.
  2. Armstrong, S; Bhide, P; Jordan, V; Pacey, A; Marjoribanks, J; Farquhar, C (29 May 2019). "Time-lapse systems for embryo incubation and assessment in assisted reproduction". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 5: CD011320. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011320.pub4. PMC   6539473 . PMID   31140578.
  3. Armstrong S, Vail A, Mastenbroek S, Jordan V, Farquhar C (January 2015). "Time-lapse in the IVF-lab: how should we assess potential benefit?". Human Reproduction. 30 (1): 3–8. doi:10.1093/humrep/deu250. PMID   25316446.