Each month we will give a tip on how to improve your results, sourced either from the literature or our own research.
Grading Embryos for Transfer
Grading embryos to select which ones are suitable for transfer is a matter of experience at judging their quality. Usually, in a busy commercial laboratory, grading is done without the aid of a high-quality inverted microscope. The embryologist relies on what they see under a dissecting microscope.
Tips to assist grading are to (obviously) roll the embryo to change the perspective, but equally so, change the light angulation (by adjusting the mirror) to change the contrast. Changing the contrast to assist in grading is an incredibly powerful tool, and the most experienced embryologists will do so regularly. There are several resources describing MOET (in vivo) derived embryos. The most comprehensive is found in the International Embryo Technology Society’s manual (see www.iets.org for details).
However, there are fewer resources that assist training to judge IVF embryos. Refer to; https://www.aeta.org/docs/Evaluation_of_in_vitro_produced_bovine_embryos.pdf, written by Jen Barfield from Colorado State University.
As we have mentioned in May’s Tip of the Month (use of serum), IVF embryo production conditions vary and this can change the embryo’s appearance significantly.
New research is focussing on using high quality imaging systems and machine learning algorithms to remove much of the ‘expertise’ factor out of the equation. We have been watching the research in this area and, especially for the IVF embryo, we can see that products will be available in 12-24 months from now that provide a high prediction capability for subsequent pregnancy. We will keep you informed of these developments in the future.
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