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10 Things Embryologists Wish You Knew About IVF

  1. What is a blastocyst?

    A blastocyst describes an embryo stage reached usually after about five days of development post-fertilization. It has about 50-150 cells and has started to develop specific regions with different cellular destinies. The blastocyst is working hard; pumping fluids towards its center, creating a fluid-filled center and expanding like a water filled balloon.
  2. Why are there so many unknowns about “IVF Add-Ons like EmbryoGlue, PGT-A, Assisted Hatching etc?

    A result of thirty years of political turmoil in the US. research on embryos and IVF in the US has largely been driven out of the public sphere and into the private sector, entirely supported by commercial interests and individual clinics.
  3. A lot of embryos look amazing on Day 3, but do not go on to form blastocysts. Why?

    Embryonic gene activation (EGA) is the process by which an embryo begins to transcribe its newly formed genome. Sperm play an essential role in embryonic genome activation and embryonic progression to blastocyst. Embryos often “arrest” at this stage.
  4. Why did I get so many abnormal embryos by PGT?

    Aneuploidy (abnormal or incorrect chromosome number) is common in humans and is the leading cause of all human birth defects as well as miscarriage.
  5. I am disappointed that I didn’t have more eggs.

    15 is the optimal number of eggs to retrieve without putting you at risk for #OHSS. More eggs often means lower quality and higher estrogen levels, which can impair implantation in fresh IVF Cycles.
  6. IVF has a 100% success rate.

    The success rate of IVF is about 40% in couples below the age of 35. Also, the success rate of IVF depends on factors such as age, cause of #infertility, and biological and hormonal conditions.
  7. IVF is the same thing no matter which clinic you go to.

    NOPE! Not all fertility clinics are created equal, so it’s important to do your research to help you make an informed decision. In addition to looking for a clinic with high-qualified #fertilitydoctors, it’s critical to choose a clinic with a superior IVF lab. You can check out a clinic’s success rates at Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
  8. Infertility is a female problem.

    It’s a common misconception that women are most affected by infertility. In fact, men and women are equally affected. In heterosexual couples, 40% of infertility cases are attributed to men, 40% to women, and 20% are unknown.
  9. IVF is only used for individuals/couples struggling with #infertility.

    Families with a history of genetic disorders can do IVF with pre-implantation genetic testing to screen their embryos for single gene disorders and to prevent the genetic condition from being passed onto their children. Also, IVF is used by #SingleMomsByChoice and for #LGBTQ couples to build their families.
  10. We cannot tell “female” (X- bearing) sperm from male (Y-bearing) sperm.

    There is a persistent myth that X or Y bearing sperm look different from each other or swim at different rates. These myths are not based on good, solid science!

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