Embryology

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN EMBRYOLOGIST AT A FERTILITY CENTER

 

Fertility treatment is not the result of the efforts of a single expert at a fertility center.  Rather, in its best form, fertility treatment is provided by a number of specialists who are experts in their fields.  Each of these roles are key to high success rates and helping couples achieve their goals of becoming parents.  The role of an embryologist is key to high success rates and healthy babies.

 

What is an Embryologist?

 

An embryologist is a specialist who studies eggs, sperm, and the embryos they create.  Their role in IVF treatment begins during the diagnosis process.  These medical professionals analyze sperm and eggs during the diagnosis process to determine if there are defects that must be addressed prior to fertilization.   Once an IVF cycle begins, embryologists are responsible for:

 

  • Reviewing and preparing high quality sperm
  • Reviewing and determining the quality of harvested eggs
  • Fertilizing eggs with sperm including the use of ICSI when needed
  • Monitoring embryos as they develop to determine health and quality

 

HOW DO EMBRYOLOGISTS HELP TO PREVENT DISEASE?

 

Embryologists also perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD.  During this test a single cell is removed.  This cell is then analyzed to determine if the embryo has a chromosomal disease.  The PGD process ensures that healthy embryos are transferred and decreases the likelihood of miscarriage.  The process is of particular benefit for:

 

  • Women who are over 35
  • Individuals who have a family history of genetic disease
  • Individuals who know they are carriers for particular diseases
  • Couples who have children with genetic disease
  • Couples who have had multiple miscarriages or failed IVF attempts

 

Understanding the health and quality of embryos is crucial to the IVF process.  Poor quality embryos are more likely to result in a failed IVF attempt or miscarriage.  Transferring high quality embryos significantly reduces the likelihood of pregnancy loss.