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Embryo's growth captured with time lapse digital imaging technology

Photo: Time lapse imaging captures embryo growth
The EmbryoScope allows scientists and clinicians to carefully monitor and review the development of embryos at any point in time.

Australia's first pregnancy has been achieved from embryos that have been monitored and filmed using next generation time lapse digital imaging technology.

Used at Melbourne IVF laboratories, the technology allows scientists and clinicians to carefully monitor and review the development of embryos at any point in time, meaning the embryo no longer has to be removed from the incubator.

The Embryoscope by Vitrolife combines an incubator with a substantially higher resolution camera and computer software to automatically and continuously capture more focused images of an embryo.
Melbourne IVF medical director Dr Lyndon Hale says the less the embryo is disturbed, the better.

"Having the camera built into the incubator means you can actually take a picture every seven minutes without disturbing the embryo," said Dr Hale.

Usually the embryo is removed from the incubator two days after fertilisation and then again after five days.

Up until now, IVF specialists have had no way of knowing how the embryo is progressing in between.

"The embryo may do unusual things but we would never know because we're not looking," said Dr Hale.

It's hoped the EmbryoScope will better enable clinicians to choose the best embryo to implant in the woman, and therefore speed up the time it takes to achieve pregnancy.

"If you can choose the best embryo, then you'll put the best embryo back first and therefore you'll get to the baby quicker," said Dr Hale.

The time-lapse technology also allows the detection of embryos that are developing abnormally, and therefore less likely to establish a pregnancy.

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