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Time-lapse incubators involve a novel technique that allows detailed analysis of embryo development and helps select the best embryo for transfer. These incubators use time-lapse image analysis for embryo grading and selection. 

What is the difference between traditional incubators and time-lapse incubators?

During traditional embryo grading, a microscope is used to observe the embryo stage and quality at set times only. The embryo is taken out of the traditional incubator at regular intervals after fertilisation, generally every 24 hours. The visual appearance of embryos is observed under the microscope, including the number of cells, symmetry of cells and degree of cell fragments. The repeated removal and replacement of embryo, in and out of the incubator leads to repeated changes in temperature, pH, air content etc which can be detrimental to the embryos.


With time-lapse incubators, a digital time-lapse camera is mounted on top of each embryo, in an incubator with a controlled environment. The camera records images of each embryo, generally every 5-15 minutes. This allows the embryologist to continuously monitor the embryo development, without having to remove the embryo from the incubator at all. Time-lapse incubators allow assessing the embryos continuously, giving a lot more information, rather than a snapshot every 24 hours. It also provides the embryos with the most stable environment to grow. 
 

The Takeaway

Selecting the best embryos is one of the critical factors contributing to a successful live birth. Time-lapse incubators allow a better way of selecting the best embryos, compared to traditional embryo grading. They may therefore provide a higher success rate in comparison. 
Please ask for more information from our doctors at ART Fertility Clinics.