What is Embryo Grading?

Those who are involved in learning more about the most modern medical practices for fertility might be interested in embryo grading and other parts of the process for developing the best chances at success with IVF or in vitro fertilization. All over the world, many more women are considering this kind of path to pregnancy, where age or other conditions may affect their ability to naturally fertilize an egg.

What Is Embryo Grading?

Because of the cost and effort involved in IVF procedures, scientists have developed new methods for making sure that embryos involved in this process have the best chance of developing normally during the term of a pregnancy. Embryo grading is a critical part of figuring out how well an egg will develop.

Items that scientists look at in embryo grading include how many cells are in a specific embryo, how many nuclei are in specific cells, as well as how well the embryo is “shielded” by its natural protective outer shell. A specific kind of degeneration of the embryo called “fragmentation” is also something that techs look at to come up with a grade for an embryo.

Using Embryo Grading

There are a number of different ways that the medical community uses this system of embryo grading. One issue is in the embryos that patients and doctors choose to freeze for later use. Another use of embryo grading is in deciding which embryos will go into a current IVF process. In addition to selecting the best embryos through grading, patients often talk extensively with their doctors about how many embryos to plant in a single session. Multiple embryo placement in IVF has become common, but opinions vary about how many embryos should be included. Embryo grading helps to contribute to the overall strategy for getting more out of an IVF procedure.

Stages of Embryo Grading

Medical sources show that technicians can look at embryos multiple times in their stages of development to assess them for embryo grading. Medical workers will look at embryos 16-18 hours after the placement of eggs and sperm to see if the embryos have been fertilized. Two days after fertilization, the techs can look at embryos and grade them according to the above criteria. From days 2 to 4, embryos are routinely graded for cell growth, fragmentation, and other aspects that may influence their ability to develop.

From a risk and financial outlay standpoint, embryo grading helps patients and families to only use embryos with the best chances of success, limiting some of the time-consuming, expensive and sometimes painful or difficult procedures that women must go through in order to get a successful IVF result. Embryo grading is an example of how an external diagnostic method helps to take some of the guesswork out of what is sometimes a frustratingly uncertain process. It’s often helpful to families going through IV to ask their medical providers about how this kind of observational science helps a specific IVF case, and to talk with a doctor as much as possible about what modern embryo selection can do for a pregnancy.

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