Launched for the first time in Asia at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai, Embryoscopy, the non-invasive digital microscope incubation technique has proved to boost in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rate by 17 per cent. The new fertility technique experts say has set a new paradigm in the way embryos are grown and selected in a lab
With its unique attribute of developing new parameters for future embryo scoring and improving embryo assessment in IVF, the technique has till date benefited 200 patients since its introduction two years ago.
The most challenging part of IVF is selecting the best embryo in order to ensure pregnancy. Currently, embryologists need to remove the embryo from a standard incubator to check on the development of the embryo under the microscope, at fixed time-points over three to five days. However, the Embryoscopy technique overcomes the shortcomings of the current IVF protocols and eliminates the need to disturb the embryo culture to study it.
Informs Dr Hrishikesh Pai, gynaecologist, Lilavati hospital, "Embryos are normally implanted after two, three or five days in culture. Often women are implanted with two or three embryos at one go, which leads to twins or triplets. This technology enables doctors to analyse the embryo quality and selection of the good embryos. This in turn leads to increased transfer and implantation of those good embryos resulting in success of the IVF treatment.
In comparison to the regular IVF treatment, Embryoscopy helps to achieve better results and success rates of about 30 to 40 per cent per attempt in combination with laser assisted hatching, intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI), vitrification and sequential embryo transfer in women less than 35 years of age who have had previous IVF failures.
Talking about the success rate of the technology, leading gynaecologist Dr Nandita Palshetkar explains, “IIVF success rates currently stand at about 30 to 40 per cent per attempt in women who are less than 35 years of age. This technology enables us to implant one or two embryo back, without compromising pregnancy rates. This also minimizes the problems of multiple births such as premature babies."
The Embryoscope features time-lapse image capturing microscope which works without disturbances to the embryo culture. It automatically detects and monitors embryos. It is an IVF incubator with a built-in camera for automated time-lapse imaging of fertilized oocytes in a safe incubation environment from conception until the time of transfer. It is a system that integrates a multi-gas incubator, a microscope with an integrated camera shooting continuous image and an advanced software for the acquisition and subsequent analysis of all data relating to the development of embryos.
"It's the only instrument in the world documenting with this flexibility all stages of the process, automatically, without opening the incubator," Dr Pai concludes.