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How Embies Make the Grade

If you have been through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, you are probably aware of how embryos make the grade. Embryologists in the laboratory typically use an embryo-grading process that determines which embryos are of high enough quality to be transferred into the uterus with the hopes that they will implant and turn into a successful pregnancy and birth.

You may also know that the embryo-grading process is very subjective — some embryos that do not appear ideal will have a successful outcome, while up to 60 percent of human embryos that may appear normal under a microscope are actually chromosomally abnormal and are likely to not implant or miscarry.

The good news is that there are newer, advanced technologies that can better determine the viability of embryos. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is a process of screening embryos to make sure they have the right number of chromosomes and to look for any structural abnormalities in the chromosomes. The technique may be helpful in achieving IVF success for couples experiencing recurrent miscarriage or in which the woman is of advanced maternal age.

In addition, there are ever-emerging research studies which seek more advanced and less costly (physically to the embryos and financially for the patients and labs) techniques for determining chromosomal normality in embryos.

It's an exciting time to be an embie!

For more information on embryo grading, check out this interview with Seattle fertility doctor, Michael Opsahl, M.D., on Understanding Embryo Grading and watch as New York fertility doctor, Jamie Grifo, M.D., explains how PGS can help prevent pregnancy loss:

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