Only 1 in 4 IVF cycles succeed
Despite huge investments in technology, improvements in the outcome of IVF have still been limited. The main reason is that current IVF technologies are unable to identify the most viable embryos for transfer effectively. As a result, multiple embryos are transferred to increase the chances of pregnancy, a costly and risky procedure. However, growing scientific evidence points to single-embryo transfer being the most effective method of conception. That makes it more important than ever to choose the most viable single embryo, and several methods exist to do so.
Morphology is still the gold standard for determining embryo viability and is used universally. A trained clinician examines the embryo using a microscope for symmetry, fragmentation, and cleavage rate under a microscope. Unfortunately, morphology tests are inaccurate and subject to human error. Different clinicians could score the embryos differently.
Over the last few years, new time lapse technologies have been used in a growing number of IVF clinics. Zoomed pictures of the embryos taken from within the incubator at fixed intervals are used to calculate the cell-rate split time digitally from the zygote stage. The studies that have been done show outcomes improved by only about 10%.