What is the time-lapse technology used in IVF?

Although the IVF process had started decades ago. However, the advancement of this technology continues to overcome the loophole associated with its outcome. Time-lapse technology has invented in this decade to improve the outcome of the IVF treatment.

In time-lapse technology, the images of embryos are collected at regular intervals by using cameras. In this technology, embryos are left undisturbed between the period of fertilization and embryo transfer and also minimizes disruptive events which may provide a harmful effect to the embryos.

Previously, embryos development might be disturbed during the microscopic analysis, as they removed from their incubators regularly. Moreover, a microscopic analysis conducted in once a day, which might not provide sufficient developmental information of each of the embryo and health-wise looks similar to all of them. But the statistical analytical report showed only 25% of fertilized embryos have the potentiality to provide successful pregnancy.

In time-lapse technology, constant monitoring of embryos is continued through computerized analytical methods. This practice provides more precise information than previously applied methods. Experts using time-lapse technology to gain detail and constant information related to embryo development. This helps experts to decide which 25% embryos have the maximum potentiality to provide a successful outcome of the treatment and choose them for embryo transmission.  For example, embryology experts have determined through their research that embryos that take more than 100 hours to reach the blastocyst stage may have chromosomal abnormalities. This indicates that the embryo developmental timing is crucial for deciding the selection of embryos for uterine transmission. In time-lapse technology, computerized analysis able to provide the information of developmental details of each of the embryos and experts can monitor this data and identify the embryos which have showed delayed development with a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities. 

Different types of time-lapse systems had invented with different technology and used in the IVF treatment. Embryoscope and the Primo Vision are two most widely used time-lapse systems. Both of these systems use bright field technology; whereas another type of time-lapse system, i.e. Embryonic Viability Assessment uses dark field technology. However, the basic mechanism of all these time-lapse systems is the same. These systems have a digital inverted microscope for clicking the pictures of every embryo within 5 to 20 minutes intervals. Inserted custom image acquisition processed these images and then the pictures are displayed on a computer screen. The technology instilled in the time-lapse systems can be rewound and fast-forwarded for detail analysis. 

Researchers expect the success of time-lapse systems can reduce the risk of multiple embryo transfer in IVF treatment by aiding in the selection of single embryo for uterine transfer with the high potentiality to provide successful pregnancy and live birth.  However, the efficacy of this technology still requires further research for detail evaluation.

References:

  1. https://www.longdom.org/open-access/after-37-years-whats-in-the-store-for-ivf-a-look-ahead-on-the-trends-and-developments-that-are-shaping-the-future-of-reproductive-medicine-2375-4508-1000e116.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290130/

 

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