Quality embryos are one of the factors that must be met so that the IVF program can run smoothly. The reason is, if you look at the Atlas of Human Embryology journal, the lower the quality of IVF embryos, the smaller the percentage of prospective mothers to be able to achieve pregnancy.
The test-tube baby program or In Vitro Fertilization has become a standard procedure for couples with fertility disorders who want to have children. Given the large role of the embryo in supporting the success of IVF, there is nothing wrong if you and your partner know the characteristics of quality IVF embryos which will be reviewed in the following article.
IVF Embryo Grade
Embryo grading or embryo assessment is one of the processes used by doctors to optimize the results of the IVF program. At this stage, the quality of the embryos that are eligible to be transferred is usually determined, the day of execution of the embryo transfer, and the number of embryos to be transferred.
According to the journal Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, several factors are used in the embryo assessment process, including the age of the mother-to-be, fertility history, and other related information. The following are three grades of IVF embryos based on their quality.
Grade A IVF Embryo
This category indicates that the embryo has 6-8 cells of the same size, while the fragmentation is not or less than 10%
Grade B IVF Embryo
Embryos that includes in the Grade B category show irregular or uneven cell shape with a fragmentation value of 25-50%
Grade C IVF Embryo
This category indicates that the embryo has 50% or more fragmentation.
As already stated, the embryo evaluation process cannot be separated from the IVF procedure. This stage can provide information to increase further the chances of experiencing pregnancy.
Even so, embryo grading does not necessarily become the primary benchmark for doctors determining which embryos are eligible to be transferred. This must also be adjusted to the medical history and condition of the prospective mother undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedures.
Factors Affecting Embryo Growth
Several factors can also influence embryo growth in IVF. Here are some of them:
- The number of eggs obtained
- Egg quality
- Number of mature eggs
- Endometrial receptivity/condition of acceptance of the uterus to the embryo
- Sperm quality
Characteristics of Quality IVF Embryo
High-quality embryos are needed so that the IVF process can run smoothly. So, what are the characteristics of quality IVF embryos? Quoting from various sources, embryos that have good quality are usually seen from the time needed in the division process.
For information, the fertilization process generally occurs within 16 hours. When it has entered 24 hours, the quality IVF embryo will divide into two cells. The number of cells will continue to divide twice as much as before, namely into four cells within 48 hours, then eight cells within 72 hours, and so on.
This comparison rate between time and number of cells can then be used as indicators or characteristics of quality IVF embryos. The reason is that abnormal embryos will usually experience dividing too quickly or even too slowly.
Determinants of the Quality of IVF Embryo
So that you and your partner can produce quality IVF embryos, it takes some effort. The following are the factors that can determine the quality of the embryo while following the IVF program.
1. Mother’s Age Factor
The test-tube baby or In Vitro Fertilization can be an option for couples with fertility problems. However, unfortunately, the chances of success of this procedure are also influenced by the age factor.
The optimal age limit for prospective mothers to successfully produce offspring through IVF is 35 years. If the age increases, the risk and quality of the egg that forms the embryo will decrease.
2. Male Sperm Quality
Furthermore, the quality of IVF embryos can also be influenced by sperm quality. As we know, the embryo itself is the result of the fertilization process between the egg and the sperm, so the quality of both significantly affects the condition of the embryo.
The quality of a man’s sperm, in general, can be seen from the number, mortality rate, or movement ability to the anatomical shape. Meanwhile, increasing it can be by consuming vitamins, exercising regularly, and fulfilling nutritional intakes such as folic acid, protein, zinc, and carbohydrates.
3. Infertility Rate
Infertility problems are usually the main reason married couples choose to have IVF procedures. There are various kinds of infertility levels, ranging from low, moderate, to severe.
Patients with fertility disorders who are already at a severe level tend to have a slight chance of getting pregnant. On the other hand, if you and your partner’s level of infertility is still in the low or moderate category, the hope of getting pregnant is wide open.
4. Egg Cell Reserve
Ovarian reserve assessment for pregnant women is one of the essential procedures before conducting an IVF program. The reason, low ovarian reserves can potentially reduce the chances of getting pregnant. On the other hand, if the ovarian reserve is too high, it can signify impaired egg maturation.
IVF Embryo Transfer Process
The embryo transfer process is the final stage in the IVF program. This procedure is carried out with a time interval of 3 – 5 days calculated from the egg retrieval process. Meanwhile, before the IVF embryo is transferred into the womb of the mother-to-be, the doctor will usually perform a chromosomal examination to determine specific abnormalities or diseases.
The steps that need to be taken in the IVF embryo transfer process can be seen as follows:
- The doctor on duty will give anesthesia to the mother-to-be to relieve pain
- A flexible tube is inserted through the vagina to enter the uterus as an embryo transfer channel
- IVF embryos that have gone through the selection will be injected through a flexible tube
The IVF embryo transfer procedure can be considered a success when the embryo can attach to the uterine wall within 6-10 days after the transfer process. Meanwhile, if the results are declared failed, the process can be repeated using the remaining embryos or carrying out the procedure from the beginning by taking sperm and eggs for IVF.
Thus the explanation regarding quality IVF embryos and their characteristics. In general, the quality of the embryo does have an important role when you and your partner want to have children, not only through the IVF program but also to support conventional pregnancies. Hopefully, the above information is helpful for you and your partner.