Embryoscope: The movie of the beginning of life

Embryoscope is a new incubator for our small embryos that includes an incorporated video camera to film their development.

 In the medical field, it offers us two main advantages:

  • First, we no longer need to remove the embryos from the incubator to watch them under a microscope. Thus, we can prevent any changes in their temperature, light exposure, etc. In the previous post, I described the importance of maintaining the embryo’s environment constant.
  • Second, we’re allowed to watch how the embryo has been fertilized and divided. Thanks to this, we can choose the one we consider has followed all the steps and will have a better implantation. With normal incubators, we can only see them once a day, so we have a lot less information about the embryos.

Additionally, Embryoscope gives us the opportunity to learn and discover a whole lot of new things about embryo development!!!

In our Centre, each embryo is evaluated daily. Just like in school, 10 is the top grade we can give them. We base our criteria on: the embryo’s number of cells and whether it’s adequate to the day of development it’s in; whether the cells are similar between them; if they don’t show many fragments (impurities from previous cell divisions); and whether every cell has an only nucleus.

For example, a four-cell embryo, 40 hours after the In Vitro Fertilization, will be given a top grade in the field of cell division. Imagine, though, that in the Embryoscope video we observe that one of the cells fuses with another one and gets absorbed, thus having only three cells remaining. If we hadn’t seen this, it could happen that by exam time on the following day, that embryo already were in eight cells, were given an A by us again and were chosen for the transfer as it would seem one of the top embryos.

This is only one of the many examples I could give you, but we know that the embryos that don’t follow the adequate behavior have fewer possibilities of developing, since an anomalous behavior is associated to having chromosomal alterations or other negative aspects that we don’t know of yet and are trying to discover.

You must already know the fascinating fact that no two people in the whole world are physically equal, except for identical twins, that is, as they come from a divided embryo.

But… Did you know there aren’t two equal embryos either? Were you aware that from the very moment in which fertilization occurs, we begin to differentiate and adopt the characteristics that will make us unique?

Each embryo, each fetus, each child, each person is an unrepeatable miracle from nature. The number of possible genetic combinations is infinite, and the probability that it will be repeated is virtually impossible. The human genome has 3,200 million nucleotides, or subunits that form DNA, that combine differently in every single person.

In this video of Embryoscope you will observe the development of a human embryo from the very moment in which the egg gets fertilized and up to five days later.
A couple of hours after oocyte retrieval, we carry out an ICSI, or the injection of a sperm into each egg, on them.
Embryoscope starts filming immediately after In Vitro Fertilization is carried out.
In the lower right corner of the images we find the time count for each moment.

In this other video of Embryoscope, the images show a mouse’s embryo, which we bought frozen for our Lab’s quality controls and for investigation.

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