Three additional steps of IVF before embryo implantation

The fundamentals of IVF procedure is to the conduction of artificial fertilization in the laboratory followed with embryo creation and uterine implantation for further development. Implantation of embryo into the uterus, which is also known as embryo transfer in the final stage of IVF procedure before delivery the child. There are three consecutive steps usually followed before transferring the embryo, which includes ovarian stimulation,  egg (oocytes) retrieval, and fertilization of gametes followed with embryo culture in the IVF laboratory.  But apart from these normal IVF steps, the following are three steps can be recommended before embryo implantation in IVF for certain cases:

Assisted Hatching

This is a mechanical or chemical process involving thinning of the external coating of the fertilized egg. Assisted hatching helps to increase the ability of the embryo to break out the protected barrier and ready to implant into the uterus. The external covering of the embryo is known as the zona pellucida. This procedure may not follow before every embryo implantation, as some embryo started thinning process naturally. Therefore, measuring of zona pellucida is an important step in IVF. In case of embryo unable to start thinning process, then chemical process initiated, so that embryo can normally implant into the uterus. Assisted hatching is usually recommended for late 30s female (usually after 38 years) or patients who already have more than one IVF cycle failure.

Blastocyst Culturing

In the natural process, fertilization of the egg is the beginning of embryo development, which starts in the fallopian tube. Then in the nascent stage embryo gradually moves towards the uterine cavity for implantation. In the natural process,  six to seven days require to proceed with this process. After reaching to blastocyst stage,  the embryo is prepared to the implant.

Normally the formation of blastocytes requires some time after the egg retrieval. In the regular IVF process, experts transfer the embryos into the uterus after three days of egg retrieval. During this stage, the formed embryos contain six to eight cells. But the advancement of medical science provides the opportunity to grow the embryo in a laboratory set up till the blastocysts stage come up. The blastocytes culturing requires an additional two days, so the embryos are kept in culture media for five days before uterine implantation.  In the IVF process, blastocyst culturing is conducted to avoid the chances of multiple births. However, it may not helps to increase the possibility of pregnancy.

Embryo Co-Culturing

Embryo co-culture is also an additional step and not recommended for every case. In this process, the quality of the embryo is enhanced by supplying essential nutrients before embryo transfer procedure followed. The aim of this step inclusion is to improve the quality of the embryo. This step is usually recommended for patients who have a prior history of unsuccessful IVF cycles due to the poor quality embryo.

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