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The Time-Lapse Imaging Trial (TILT) at Bath Fertility

Bath Fertility are participating in a national study looking at the effectiveness of time-lapse imaging to monitor embryo development during IVF.

What exactly is time-lapse imaging?

Time-lapse imaging uses special cameras within an incubator to take photos of embryos every 10 minutes. This allows the timings and development patterns of embryo growth to be watched over the duration of embryo culture, rather than the traditional single observations. It also allows embryologists to view embryos without removing the culture dishes from the incubator. Time-lapse videos may help selection of embryo(s) with the highest chance of successful implantation as those that show suboptimal patterns of development can be excluded.

I have heard a lot about ‘add-ons’ in the news and time-lapse was mentioned as one. What studies are out there on the use of time-lapse imaging?

Various small-scale studies have shown that time-lapse imaging may increase the chances of pregnancy in IVF treatment cycles. The problem with most of the published studies is that they involved small numbers of patients and were not conducted under controlled conditions.

At Bath Fertility we strongly believe in evidence-based practice. Because of this we are currently recruiting patients into a large multi-centre trial looking at the effectiveness of time-lapse imaging compared to standard conditions (known as the TILT study). In this randomised controlled trial, participants are randomly allocated have their embryos cultured in either our time-lapse incubator or one of our standard incubators. The study has been designed to distinguish (a) whether the use of time-lapse technology can improve pregnancy rates and (b) if it does, is any improvement due to the extra information gained about embryo development patterns or is it simply because the culture environment is undisturbed.

Why should I consider taking part in the TILT study?

You will be helping to collect valuable data that will help clinicians and policy makers decide whether current practices should be reviewed to help future couples going through IVF treatment.

Are there any drawbacks to participation?

If you participate your embryos will be cared for in the same way as they would during a normal treatment cycle – there is no added risk in using time-lapse incubation for the culture of embryos.

One large part of any clinical trial is a procedure known as ‘blinding’. This is where participants are purposefully not told which arm of the study they have been randomised into. This is to ensure that our patients are not influenced by this knowledge which may subconsciously alter their everyday behaviour prior to treatment. We will be able to tell you your allocation in the future once the outcome of your treatment is known.

Who is running the study and how to do I take part?

TILT is being run by the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Bath Fertility is one of several clinics across the UK that are participating in this study. The study coordinator here at Bath Fertility is Emma Votteler and she would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have on the trial. For more information please contact us.