Infertility is a problem that affects millions of Americans. When a couple is unable to conceive naturally, they often turn to fertility treatment. One of the most common fertility treatments is in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF monitors and assists throughout the stages of conception to improve a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
During this procedure, a mature egg is collected from the female and fertilized in our laboratory. Fertilized eggs, or embryos, are examined and graded before choosing the most viable for embryo transfer.
Experienced fertility specialist Dr. Janelle Dorsett uses an IVF embryo grading system that offers her Lubbock, TX patients the greatest chance of successful IVF treatment. Patients who would like to learn about IVF, and whether it can help them overcome their issues with infertility should contact our practice at their earliest convenience.
The Grading Process
As with any fertility treatment, there is no guarantee that IVF will be a success for our patients. However, Dr. Dorsett does whatever she can to maximize the potential success of IVF treatment. To begin with, several mature eggs will be collected and fertilized during the initial stages of IVF treatment. This provides Dr. Dorsett with several embryos that can be monitored and graded so that the most viable can be chosen for transfer or freezing.
Embryo grading is a subjective process that relies heavily on the expertise and experience of the embryologist. While it is possible for an embryo with a poor grade to result in a successful pregnancy, or for a highly rated embryo to fail to result in pregnancy, this process is a tool that can increase the chance of successful IVF treatment. The specific grading process will depend on whether the embryos are being graded (and transferred) on day 3 or day 5.
Day 3 Embryo Grading
When grading an embryo for day 3 transfer, the most important factors taken into consideration are how many cells are in the embryo and what the embryo looks like under the lens of a high-power microscope. Specifically, we will examine the following conditions:
- Number of cells: On day 3, an embryo should contain between seven and nine cells, with the ideal embryo containing 8 cells.
- Fragmentation: In some cases, parts of the cells will break apart or fragment into smaller pieces within the embryo. An embryo with no fragmentation is preferred to one with fragmentation. While some degree of fragmentation is acceptable, the quality of the embryo decreases as fragmentation increases.
- Symmetry: The cells within the embryo will also be examined for symmetry. When the cells are equal in size, the embryo is considered to be of good quality. If a few cells are a different size, the embryo will be graded as fair, and an embryo consisting entirely of asymmetrical cells will be rated as poor.
Day 5 Grading
On day 5, embryos should have reached the blastocyst stage, meaning that the embryo has two distinct cell types and a fluid-filled cavity at its center. Embryos at the blastocyst stage are graded entirely differently than day 3 embryos. For this grading process, we will consider the following:
- Whether there is a nicely formed outer layer of cells (those that will eventually form the placenta)
- If the inner cell mass contains numerous, tightly-packed stem cells (the baby will develop from these)
- If the cavity of the cell has begun to expand
As with day 3 embryos, there is no guarantee that an ideal blastocyst will result in pregnancy. However, statistics show that a highly graded blastocyst has a greater chance of producing an ongoing pregnancy than one of lower quality.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are considering fertility treatment, it is important to work with a specialist that is skilled, compassionate, and experienced. Dr. Janelle Dorsett possesses all of these qualities. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Dorsett at your earliest convenience to learn more about the comprehensive range of fertility services offered at our practice.