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Blastomere Embryo Biopsy

Our Austin fertility doctors provide explanations about the embryo biopsy process

When patients need the help of assisted reproductive technology to create or expand their families, our TFC physicians often employ in-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques. With IVF, the eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory setting and then develop into embryos that are eventually transferred back into the uterus, hopefully resulting in a healthy pregnancy.

As part of the IVF process, our embryologists may perform embryo biopsies to assess the viability of the embryos before they are transferred into the woman’s uterus.

Understanding 3 day,  blastomere embryo biopsy

Although originally embryo biopsies were performed on day 3 (at the multi-cell stage), we now perform embryo biopsy on Days 5, 6, or 7 of embryonic development, at the blastocyst stage. Blastocysts have at least 128 cells, and during the biopsy process, 6-8 cells are removed. In contrast, day 3 embryos typically have 6-10 cells and during biopsy, only a single cell (blastomere) is removed and then sent to the genetics lab for evaluation.

After the genetics lab performs the testing, they will send us a report for each embryo so that we will know which embryos are normal (have a normal number of chromosomes and/or are unaffected by genetic mutations), and which are abnormal. We then can transfer a single “normal” embryo and offer patients a much higher chance for pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby. With a Day 3 biopsy, the evaluation occurs quickly enough that a normal embryo can be transferred during the same cycle as the egg retrieval. Because only one cell is removed, results from Day 3 biopsies are not as accurate as those obtained from Day 5-7 embryo biopsies. In addition, removing one cell from an embryo with only 6 to 10 cells can create more trauma to the embryo than removing 6 to 8 cells from a blastocyst that has developed to the point that it contains at least 128 cells.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our fertility specialists.