Assisted Reproductive Technology Laboratory
At Penn Fertility Care, those pursuing fertility treatment benefit from The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) laboratory. The ART laboratory features state-of-the-art equipment and cutting edge technology that positions us at the forefront of individualized patient care.
There are many studies being conducted in the lab to support the IVF program and provide successful outcomes.
Non-Invasive Embryo Study (NIES)
The Non-Invasive Embryo Surveillance (NIES) study will help doctors and laboratory staff better understand the dynamic processes involved in early embryo development and embryo selection.
In addition to traditional embryo assessment techniques, embryos will be recorded by time-lapse imaging (see videos below) in an undisturbed environment. The information obtained by continuous surveillance of the embryos will provide a better understanding of embryo viability and pregnancy success.
Currently, this technology is for research use only. Patients who consent to participate in the study will receive a video of the transferred embryo(s) development for the first three or five days in culture, dependent only on availability of the time-lapse imaging devices in the laboratory.
The Non-Invasive Embryo Surveillance (NIES) study will help doctors and laboratory staff better understand which embryos are least likely to lead to pregnancy. The following are time-elapsed imaging of embryos. The first one shows the embryo in an an undisturbed environment -- and a high likelihood of conception.
This second time-elapsed imaging displays a lower likelihood of pregnancy.
Early Embryo Viability and Assessment (EEVA)
The NIES study uses the Early Embryo Viability Assessment Test or Eeva™, which analyzes early embryo development and may have the potential to help embryologists and physicians select the best embryo for transfer. Although this technology is still experimental, previous and current scientific publications have described the benefits of using such a test. This test identifies non-invasive markers that would aid a laboratory technician or clinician the ability to identify viable embryos early. However, in order to understand the science behind the test, one must understand how the embryo develops following normal fertilization.
Upon successful fertilization, normal embryos follow precise timings of cell divisions, such as:
- The time from when the first cell division begins to when it ends
- The time it takes for a two-cell embryo to turn into a three-cell embryo
- The time it takes for a three-cell embryo to turn into a four-cell embryo
Based on the optimal timings of these precise cell division events, the Eeva™ test has the potential to predict by Day 2 of embryo development which embryo(s) are more likely to become viable blastocysts. By using non-invasive cell tracking and prediction software, the development of each embryo is automatically analyzed against the validated cell division time periods.
If the timing and duration of cellular divisions falls within the defined optimal time points, these embryos are given a high prediction of becoming blastocysts.
If division timing falls outside of the optimal time range, these embryos are defined as low predictors of blastocyst development.
Although the current NIES study does not use the automated predictive outcome provided by the Eeva™ test to select which embryos to transfer into the patient, this study provides useful information to compare embryo development and implantation potential. Such technology hopes to be able to help infertile couples achieve pregnancy efficiently and safely and may one day be part of the routine care that patients receive.