The word ‘blastocyst’ refers to the human embryo, which is about 5-6 days old, post-fertilization. Until recently, when the embryos were only 3 days old, they were transferred into the woman’s uterus during the IVF procedure. However, several doctors and researchers believe that transferring a more developed embryo, i.e. once the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, makes conception more possible.
Unlike the previous embryo stages, the blastocyst structure is quite complicated. This is also because of the increase in the number of cells. These cells divide into two types, namely, trophectoderm and the inner cell mass. The trophectoderm is responsible for the implantation on the uterine lining, whereas, the inner cell mass will generate the foetus.
After the ovulation, the egg from the ovary becomes fertilized and the embryo starts dividing. It then travels through the Fallopian tube, and as it reaches the uterus, the blastocyst forms.
What does it look like?
When you look at the blastocyst under a microscope, you will notice that they look incredibly different when compared to a 3-day-embryo. In the middle of the structure is a cavity filled with a fluid known as the blastocoel. The next area is called the inner cell mass and it holds a thick collection of cells, which later becomes a foetus. The final part of the blastocyst is another collection of cells near the centre cavity, which transforms into a placenta.
Advantages of Blastocyst
A blastocyst transfer is a better option as it makes the implantation of easier. When a woman goes through the non-IVF reproduction, the embryo slides down the Fallopian tube and into the uterus on day 2. When the doctors place blastocyst inside the woman’s womb directly on day 5 or 6, the pregnancy prospects become higher than normal. Also, when the genetic testing is done on the blastocysts, it is more accurate.
Then why don’t all IVF patients opt for blastocysts?
This is because it all depends on several factors, such as age, medical history, the amount and quality of embryos produced, etc. For more information or for a consultation, you can visit your nearest Apollo Fertility Clinic. The skilled specialists will provide you with the correct diagnosis and make sure you receive the best treatment.
What are the drawbacks?
The main disadvantage is that there might not be enough embryos to freeze. And, the freezing of embryos is the most overlooked area during the IVF treatment. When the frozen embryos are transferred using blastocysts, the chances of conception are high. Especially if you have two blastocysts, it is wise to use one and freeze the other. However, the major drawback is that not all clinics offer blastocyst culturing and it can also be an expensive move.
Should people with failed IVF try blastocysts?
Yes. With the help of blastocyst culture, your specialist will be able to determine if your embryos develop beyond three days.