Blastocyst culture is an important technique in IVF process which maximises the IVF success rate and minimises the multiple pregnancy rates. In a normal IVF cycle, an embryo gets transferred to the womb on the second or third day after fertilisation but Blastocyst culture allows us to develop embryos till 5-6 days in the laboratory itself in a cultured medium till they reach the stage of Blastocyst. This enables the embryologist to select with certainty the best embryo in terms of its survival, growth, and implantation in the womb and ultimately successful pregnancy and live birth.
In 5-6 days of growth, the cells inside embryos start dividing and differentiating by function while the conventional two-three day transfer doesn’t have many cell, hence this culture of embryo till the Blastocyst stage ensures that the embryos who sustained to this stage of development have greater chances of survival, growth, and implantation, you can take it as Survival of the fittest.
For example, if a woman produces 10 eggs through follicle simulation injections, now every cell would either be injected by a sperm (ICSI) or simply mixed with sperms to let fertilisation occur. On day 2 out of 10, 7 eggs are fertilised, if we go by conventional IVF, day 2 or 3 would be the day of embryo transfer hence 3-4 embryos to the womb, freezing the rest. But at this initial stage, it’s not possible to claim which one out of these 7 fertilised eggs are going to survive and implant and grow into a baby. But when Blastocyst culture is used all 7 embryos will further keep in a controlled environment to check their growth and development for 5-6 days till they reach the Blastocyst stage. At this advance stage, only the ones who are strong enough will survive and it makes easier for embryologist to pick the best one for transferring to the womb.
So it helps in reducing multiple births, maximises the chances of pregnancy but it’s not for everyone The technique is successful with women who are younger, produced a large number of eggs and at east 5-6 embryos are available on day three so that there is better chance of more embryos growing and developing till 5th-6th day.
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