IVF; Blastocysts, Infertility
A recent study out of Japan explored the hypothesis that human embryos will grow more readily and achieve improved quality if the embryos are subjected to slight tilting movements during their incubation. Since early embryos in the body are subject to the daily movement and activities of the mother, it follows that this movement might have a beneficial effect on developing embryos. This study showed a significant increase in the number of embryos progressing to blastocyst formation when embryos were subjected to slight tilting movement throughout their time in culture. Since producing high quality embryos is critical to a successful IVF program, any improvement in the quality of the embryos produced should lead to higher live birth rates.
In this study, the embryos in the study group, embryo culture dishes were placed on automatically tilting plates which allowed the embryos to gently slide across the bottom of the culture dish. The control group embryos were cultured in standard culture dishes with no movement. By the 5th day of culturing, the percentage of embryos cultured in the tilting plates which had developed into high quality blastocysts was 45.3% compared to 32.1% in the control group.
This study suggests that subjecting human embryos to mild mechanical stimulation during incubation may lead to the production of greater number of high grade blastocysts. Continued modification of culturing techniques including the use of mechanical movement of culture dishes may prove to be an important technique toward continued improvement in IVF live birth rates.
Source: Reproductive BioMedicine Online, March 2013