Many couples who wish to become parents end up dealing with the heartbreak and frustration of infertility. While it can be devastating to repeatedly learn that attempts at conception have been unsuccessful, fertility treatments provide these couples with hope. Fertility treatments address the most common causes of infertility and offer patients a path to a successful, healthy pregnancy.
One of the most common of these treatments is IVF. IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a multi-step assisted fertility treatment that involves fertilizing a woman’s eggs in a laboratory. Healthy embryos are then transferred to the woman’s uterus where they may implant and result in pregnancy.
One important consideration of IVF treatment is deciding when to transfer the embryos. Many patients ask fertility specialist Dr. Janelle Dorsett about day 3 vs. day 5 embryo transfer at our Lubbock, TX fertility center. Here, we look at the factors that go into determining the ideal transfer timeframe.
The most important aspect of an embryo transfer is determining which embryos are “best,” which is to say which will most likely result in a healthy pregnancy. In regards to healthy embryos, Dr. Dorsett is looking for embryos that are growing and dividing properly. An embryo starts as a single cell, but it should be growing and dividing every 12 to 24 hours. By day 3, an embryo should be a multi-cell formation consisting of about four to eight cells. By day 5, a healthy embryo will consist of around 70 to 100 cells, and will be known as a blastocyst. Approximately one-third of embryos reach the blastocyst stage.
Day 3 Embryo Transfer
If Dr. Dorsett believes it is evident which embryos are the “best” by day three of fertilization, she will proceed with a day 3 embryo transfer. Most of the time in cases such as these, the patient has a small number of dividing embryos, making it easy to determine early on which are the healthiest, or the most likely to successfully implant. The benefits of a day 3 transfer are that the environment of the uterus may contribute to the growth of the embryo and help it reach the blastocyst stage.
Day 5 Embryo Transfer
In some cases, it may not be evident by day 3 which embryos are the best. When a large number of embryos are growing and dividing, it is important to observe the embryos for a longer amount of time to determine which are most likely to implant. By waiting until day 5 to perform an embryo transfer, Dr. Dorsett can see which embryos reach the blastocyst stage, which is a good indicator that the embryo will implant.
Which Is Best?
Many studies seem to suggest that day 5 embryo transfers have a higher rate of success than day 3 embryo transfers. However, this is a little misleading. Day 5 embryo transfers may seem to result in more pregnancies simply because most patients who are advised to wait until day 5 for transfer are those who have a high number of healthy embryos to choose from. When all factors are taken into consideration, there seems to be no advantage to transferring on day 5 vs. day 3. The best time to perform the transfer really comes down to when Dr. Dorsett is able to determine which of the embryos are the “best,” or the most likely to implant.
Schedule an Appointment
If are having a difficult time becoming pregnant, it may be time to consider fertility treatment. Dr. Janelle Dorsett offers a number of fertility treatments that can assist couples dealing with a wide range of infertility issues. To learn more about these services and how they can help you achieve your dream of parenthood, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.