Blastocyst culture and transfer is a technique developed for in vitro fertilization (IVF). This procedure intends to maximize pregnancy rates while minimizing the risk of multiple pregnancies.
Embryos are typically cultured for 3 days (cleavage stage with 4-10 cells) before being transferred into the uterus. By extending the culture to 5 or 6 days (blastocyst culture), some embryos will develop to the blastocyst stage (up to hundreds of cells). This allows the embryologist to select more advanced embryos with better potential for implantation at the time of the transfer.
A significant benefit of blastocyst culture and transfer is the reduction of multiple births that can result from IVF, since there are fewer embryos (1 or 2) to be transferred.
Blastocyst transfer may be appropriate for those patients who have:
- a better chance of having blastocyst development (this will be determined by age and infertility conditions)
- previous failed attempts at achieving a pregnancy
- strong concerns about delivering high-order multiple pregnancies
It is important to consult with your clinician about whether blastocyst culture and transfer is for you.