In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common infertility treatments available today. It involves the retrieval of a woman’s eggs from her ovaries, their fertilization in a laboratory with the man’s sperm, and the transfer of the formed embryos back to the woman’s uterus.
The embryologist has a very important role to play in the success of IVF treatments. Here are some of the important activities that must be done by the embryologist:
- Retrieval of eggs: The process of egg retrieval requires careful removal of fluid from the ovaries and examination of the fluid under a microscope to identify and collect the eggs.
- Checking for fertilization: A day after the eggs and sperm are combined, the embryologist must check for fertilization by examining each embryo under a microscope.
- Incubation and monitoring: The fertilized eggs are placed in an incubator where the temperature and pH must be carefully controlled to match the conditions in the uterus. Only under optimal conditions does the fertilized egg turn into an embryo.
- Genetic testing: The embryologist may have to perform a biopsy for genetic testing to screen for any abnormalities. The biopsy is usually done on 3rd or day 5th day of embryo development.
- Assisted hatching: Occasionally, the outer layer of the embryo is thinned with the help of a special laser to facilitate easy implantation.
- Embryo transfer: The embryos of the highest quality are selected and placed in a transfer catheter from which they can be safely deposited into the uterus by the reproductive specialist.
- Cryopreservation: The embryologist is also able to freeze and preserve extra embryos for later use.
Considering the critical nature of all these functions, the embryologist can be considered the child’s first babysitter! It is only fitting that July 25th, the birthday of the first baby to be conceived through IVF, has been designated as World Embryologist Day.
ReproMed fertility clinics are located throughout Dallas, Grapevine, McKinney, Rockwall and in Tyler, Texas, giving patients convenient access to experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate reproductive health specialists. Contact us for an appointment today.