In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a fertility procedure that assists and oversees most of the stages of conception to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. This multi-stage treatment includes ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer.
At the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, led by Dr. Janelle Dorsett, patients can undergo all stages of IVF treatment. While Dr. Dorsett oversees the entire IVF process for her patients, other specialists are also key players throughout the various stages of treatment.
Here, we discuss the important role of the embryologist in IVF treatment at our Lubbock, TX fertility practice.
What Is an Embryologist?
It is fair to say that most patients who begin IVF treatment have had no prior experience with an embryologist. Embryologists study sperm, eggs, and embryos. As experts, they can determine which sperm, eggs, and embryos are the healthiest, so that these can be selected for IVF treatment.
The expert selection of an embryologist helps significantly increase the likelihood of a successful IVF treatment.
Embryologists and Fertilization
Embryologists are vital to the success of egg fertilization. As soon as the eggs and semen sample have been received, the embryologist begins the work of preparing and combining the eggs and sperm for the fertilization process.
If there are any defects that need to be addressed prior to fertilization, it is the embryologist who will make this discovery. Even if there are not obvious defects, the embryologist is able to rank the quality of collected eggs and sperm so that the most healthy and mature are selected for the fertilization process.
Once selections have been made, it is the embryologist who prepares the sperm and performs the fertilization procedure.
Embryologists and Embryo Selection
When fertilization has taken place, the embryologist will monitor the resulting embryos to see how they develop. As embryos mature, the embryologist grades them so that the most viable embryos can be selected for the embryo transfer.
An important part of the embryo selection process is preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. This is an added service that can be performed to further check the quality and characteristics of the embryos.
PGD can be done to determine if the embryos show any presence of chromosomal diseases. An embryologist tests for chromosomal diseases by removing a single cell from the embryo and carefully analyzing it. This should be a safe and effective procedure as long as it is performed by an experienced embryologist.
Although all IVF patients can benefit from the knowledge provided by PGD, it is especially helpful for patients over the age of 35, those with a history of genetic disease, and those who have had multiple miscarriages or previous failed IVF attempts.
By performing PGD, an embryologist can significantly decrease the chance of IVF treatment ending in a miscarriage.
Schedule an Appointment
At the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, we have a team of fertility specialists who are ready to assist you on your pregnancy journey. If you’d like to hear about IVF treatment or the other fertility services offered at our practice, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call (806) 788-1212 to learn more.