The role of an IVF clinic is not confined to assisting the patients in overcoming their struggle against infertility but also extends to providing them with ample documentation of the treatment protocol. The documentation includes the photos of the embryos produced during the procedure. Together, these photos and documents serve the purpose of proving the quality of treatment provided by the IVF Centre, and also help the specialists establish the cause of failure of the procedure, if it happens.

Starting with the Basics

The lab synthesis of embryo is the starting point of the IVF treatment as it marks the beginning of life. Basically, the embryo is formed by the fertilization of the egg with the sperm, as the sperm delivers its genetic information (chromosomes) to the egg and conception takes place. At the first stage of its conception, the embryo is known as the zygote.

The couples who are not able to conceive naturally can rely upon IVF for the successful synthesis of embryos in the laboratory. This is done in a lab dish, as the sperms are combined with the eggs and cultured in a fluid called the culture medium. The embryo is allowed to grow to day 3 or day 5 stage, after which it is transferred into the uterus for implantation.

It is to be remembered that all embryos that are transferred in the uterus do not have the potential to implant there or grow into a fruitful pregnancy. As such, the quality of the embryos makes a real difference in the success rate of the procedure. Therefore, it is essential for the specialist to choose the best quality embryos for implantation to maximize the chances.

Embryo photographs- A guide to embryo quality

When a woman is treated with IVF, she is subjected to ovarian stimulation and as a result, multiple eggs are produced. The clinic fertilizes the ones with the best quality with the sperms of the male partner to get multiple embryos. Here, it is up to the embryologist to choose the best amongst them for implantation.

The embryos are rated according to their external appearance, which is checked out through microscopic examination. Technically, a high quality embryo is going to have two pronuclei on the first day after fertilization, followed by 4 cells on day 2 and 8 on the day 3. It becomes compact on day 4, with the individual cell becoming indiscernible and the day 5 embryo becomes a blastocyst, comprising of as many as a hundred cells.

Also, good quality embryos have uniform sized cells and have no or very few fragments. The best way to judge the embryo quality is to study its microscopic images and this is how the embryologists pick the best one for implantation. For this reason, the IVF specialists take photos of the embryos at various stages and keep them as documentation records.

Can a patient demand for the embryo photos?

A patient is fully entitled to have a look at the embryos to appraise its quality along the various developmental stages. Similarly, they have the right to demand for the embryo images from the clinic, because, after all, they are paying a considerable amount of money for the treatment and it is the duty of the clinic to show them how well the job is being done.

In case of IVF failure, the patient may switch over to another clinic for the subsequent attempts. The new specialist can actually use the photos to make out the exact cause of IVF failure, whether it has happened due to poor quality of the embryo or any other reason, and treatment can be provided accordingly. Also, there is an emotional aspect of preserving these pictures as this is the embryo which is actually going to become their baby in the future.

While some people may have a misconception that taking pictures of the embryo may cause harm to them, there is not even a little truth to this notion. The embryo is perfectly safe on being photographed and these photos may actually be of great help in the appraisal of the situation and further treatment. Also, the provision of photos strengthens the trust of the patient in the quality of care made available to them by the clinic.

What is to be done if the clinic refuses to provide the photos of the embryo?

By and far, the clinic cannot refuse to provide the photos of the embryo to the patient and the latter can demand the same, because as customers of the clinic, they are entitled to comprehensive services. While the implantation of the embryo and IVF success is not in the hands of the clinic, a good one can actually influence the quality of the embryo.

The purpose of embryo photos is to confirm the quality of embryos. Patients can have a look at the photos of embryo developmental on the internet and compare them with those of their own. Awareness of their rights can help them get the best treatment and value for their hard-earned money.

Gaudium IVF is a trusted name in the field of IVF treatment as it looks for the best interest of the patients all through the treatment. For seeking the expert second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, visit the IVF clinic today.