The success rate of IVF and ICSI treatments are improved by delaying the embryo transfer until 5-6 days after egg collection. Such an embryo that has developed 5-6 days after fertilization is called a blastocyst.
This procedure involves the transfer of the blastocyst into the uterus (womb) using a flexible catheter with its passage monitored through an ultrasound scan. The transfer procedure does not need patient sedation and any discomfort the patient feels is only as a result of the full bladder.
At The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, we often decide to transfer blastocysts depending on the quality and number of embryos available 3 days after fertilization. For instance, if our laboratory team is unable to choose the best 2 embryos from a number of good quality rapidly developing embryos on day 3, they may delay the embryo transfer procedure to day 5 or 6. The treatment cycles of blastocyst embryos are very similar to the routines of the IVF and ICSI cycles. The only difference is that the embryos are allowed to develop for 5-6 days instead of 2-3 in normal IVF / ICSI treatments before transfer.
Patients who undergo blastocyst embryo transfer procedure at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy are only allowed a maximum of two blastocyst transfers. This is because the chances of pregnancy after the procedure are high and could result in multiple pregnancies. Freezing excess embryos is usually recommended, especially if the blastocysts produced are of good quality and have not been used for the transfer.
Blastocyst embryo transfers have been carried out by The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy for many years and in this time it has proven to be a risk-free technique. It should be noted that there is an increased risk of having identical (monozygotic) twins with this procedure.
If you have any further questions, our embryologists and physicians will be happy to assist.