We want to give you the best possible chance of becoming parents. We can offer you some of the most advanced technology and procedures to help make this possible.
Laser assisted hatching
Once your embryo(s) are transferred into your uterus the embryo needs to hatch out of its surrounding protective membrane (the zona pellucida) in order to be able to implant. This happens when it reaches the blastocyst stage at 5 – 6 days old.
There is evidence to suggest that this hatching process may be a problem for some patients’ embryos, where a thickened or hardened zona may not allow it to occur.
Laser assisted hatching is a laboratory technique where a small slit is made in the soft membrane of the embryo shortly before embryo transfer. When the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, this gap then allows the embryo to emerge (hatch) which may help it implant and establish a pregnancy.
Most patients don’t need assisted hatching. Studies indicate there may be improved implantation and pregnancy rates if the following applies to you:
- You have failed to conceive following three or more IVF/ICSI cycles
- If the zona pellucida of your embryo(s) appears thicker than normal
Time lapse monitoring
Using special cameras inside an incubator, photos are taken every 10 minutes allowing the timings and development patterns of embryo growth to be watched over the duration of embryo culture, rather than the traditional single observation per day.
Various studies have shown that time lapse imaging may increase the chances of pregnancy. It allows the embryologists to monitor embryo development without disturbing the culture environment, and it can help them to choose the embryo(s) with the highest chance of successful implantation as they can exclude any embryos that show suboptimal development. This is very helpful when choosing which embryos to use for both transfer and freezing.
Time lapse imaging is available, on request, to all patients although the cost isn’t covered by NHS funding. Due to the limited availability of cameras, we ask that patients book a slot in advance of their proposed week of treatment.
This video shows 9 embryos from one of our first patients to use our time-lapse system. It is easy to see the different rates at which embryos can grow. This patient had embryo 9 transferred (bottom right of the screen) which resulted in her lovely son.
Sperm DNA testing
The Sperm DNA Integrity test provides a measure of the fragility of DNA in a man’s sperm. Where DNA integrity is poor, natural fertility is decreased and the risk of spontaneous miscarriage is increased.
It’s possible for a man with an apparently normal semen analysis to have an abnormally high level of DNA fragility. In these cases the chance of a successful pregnancy is considerably higher following ICSI treatment than with IUI or IVF. In more serious cases it may be appropriate to surgically recover sperm from the testis or epididymis on the day of egg collection and inject it as quickly as possible into the egg.
Sperm DNA Integrity testing can provide information leading to a more efficient treatment pathway being prescribed, reducing the time taken to achieve a successful pregnancy.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. Simply fill out the form below or call us on 01761 434464.